Understanding the links between mental health issues and substance use disorders

Understanding the links between mental health issues and substance use disorders

Stigma surrounding substance use disorders and mental health issues has been around for a long time dominated how the two issues are discussed and how those experiencing these issues are perceived. Because substance use disorders and mental illness frequently coexist, meaning individuals suffer from both at the same time, increased stigma and stereotypical associations of one condition with the other have colored the opinions of people on both.

Substance use disorders are a type of mental health condition, a disorder affecting the brain that affects an individual’s ability to moderate their substance use. Some of the substances commonly associated with this include alcohol, tobacco and nicotine products, opioids like heroin and oxycodone, stimulants like methamphetamine and cocaine, and tranquilizers including Xanax and Valium.

Although they manifest in different ways, mental illnesses are disorders that disrupt the brain, mood and behavior, and impact daily life. In 2020, 6.7% (or 17 million) of American adults had both a substance use disorder and at least one other diagnosed mental illness. People with severe mental illness or mental illness that significantly impact daily activities had particularly high rates of concurrent substance use disorders with certain substances. Abuse of opioids and tranquilizers, for example, was about 6 percentage points higher among people with severe mental disorders…

Comments are closed.