Drugs Are Bad, M’kay! Here’s the Link Between Drug Use and Mental Health

Drugs Are Bad, M’kay! Here’s the Link Between Drug Use and Mental Health

New research has linked marketing by drug companies to overdose deaths. This research alleges drug companies are to blame for the opioid crisis.

While Big Pharma may have played a role in the drug crisis, did you know mental health also plays a role?

People with depression and other mental health disorders are particularly vulnerable to developing an addiction to drugs. We all know drugs are bad, but for people with mental health issues, drug use can be hard to avoid.

How do you know if you are one of these potential victims?

Read on to learn more about the link between drug use and mental health.

Is Drug Addiction a Mental Illness?

You might be wondering if drug addiction itself is a mental illness. Research indicates that yes, it is.

Addiction results in brain chemistry changes that disrupt a person’s prioritization of their own needs and desires, which leads them to put drug use above all other needs. These people cannot control these compulsions due to the brain changes and continue to use drugs even though they realize the risk.

Drug use is associated with many of the same compulsive behaviors as other mental illnesses.

It’s also important to note that drug use includes alcohol abuse.

It’s All About Your Genes

Genetics has been shown to be a determining factor in your risk for developing an addiction. An estimated 40 to 60% of your risk is determined by genes.

READ  5 Steps to Improve Mental Health, depression and anxiety

Similarly, people who are diagnosed with other mental health disorders are almost twice as likely to have an addiction.

Women are more likely to have mood or anxiety disorders, and men are more likely to have personality disorders.

Chicken or Egg?

So, which comes first… addiction or another mental health disorder?

It can be really hard to tell. Even if one presents symptoms first, it may not have caused the other.

Unfortunately, it is common for people with mental health disorders to self-medicate with drugs. This creates a vicious cycle because drug use can worsen or cause symptoms of mental illnesses, such as anxiety.

Drugs Are Bad, So Why Do We Use Them?

Drug use and mental health disorders often have the same risk factors that could lead a person to develop the disease.

Some of these include:

  • Genetics, as discussed earlier and epigenetics
  • Trauma, especially in childhood
  • Stress
  • Changes in brain function from other causes

If you feel you may be at a higher than average risk for developing a mental health issue or drug abuse disorder, you need to take additional steps to take care of yourself and your mental health. You should learn more about recovery options if you or someone you know is suffering from a mental health issue or is abusing drugs.

Protect Your Mental Health

We know drugs are bad, but sometimes we still use them.

Now that you know more about the connection between drug use and mental health, you can take the necessary steps to keep your mental health in check.

READ  5 Steps to Improve Mental Health, depression and anxiety

For more articles about mental and physical health, check out the health section of our blog.

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