Drug addiction isn’t always as simple as a person being unable to stop consuming dangerous substances. Often times, there are other factors at play. The genetics of an individual, their circumstances and their upbringing all play a role in the development of, and recovery from, drug addiction.

Another contributing factor to drug abuse is mental illness. Recent years have shown an increased awareness and acceptance of mental illness.

No longer are topics like depression, anxiety and other mental illnesses considered to be taboo. However, there’s still a long way to go. Many people still don’t realize how mental illness can impact an individual’s likelihood of using drugs or becoming addicted to drugs.

Looking for an Answer

help-beach-wavesOne of the major reasons why mental illness leads to drug abuse is that the majority of people who suffer from these diseases don’t even know of their afflictions. According to St. Vincent Health, four out of five people who suffer from bipolar disorder go un-diagnosed. Additionally, millions of Americans who suffer from mental illness do not receive the treatment they need.

With so many people feeling unhappy and looking for some way to relieve their pain, many people turn to substances like drugs and alcohol. They do this despite knowing the dangers inherent in drug and alcohol abuse” such is the stigma of mental illness. Fortunately, this is a changing trend, one that encourages healthier ways to achieve inner peace.


The term comorbidity is used to describe two ailments that occur at the same time. For many who struggle with drug dependency, the fact that they can’t kick the habit is intrinsically linked with a mental illness, such as depression. An underlying sense of mental illness is what causes some people to turn to drugs, and the inability to deal with these issues is why they choose to continue their drug use.

It is unknown whether drug abuse actually causes the depression, or if drug use simply brings out what’s already there. Regardless of the cause, the two ailments are very closely linked, to the extent that many consider drug addiction to be a mental illness as opposed to a physical one. Many treatment centers offer dual diagnosis treatment in order to focus on both illnesses.

Dual Diagnosis Drug Treatment

thoughts outWhen people try to stop using drugs on their own, they often have a difficult time. The reason for this is that they’re simply trying to stop use drugs without understanding why their addictions are so strong. Without treating the mental illness that exists in conjunction with the drug abuse, it is very difficult to move beyond the use of drugs.

Dual diagnosis treatment recognizes that there is more to an individual’s addiction than meets the eye. Through periods of intense psychotherapy and group therapy, individuals learn the tools they need to look inward at themselves, sometimes for the very first time.

It is only through doing this that they can learn what they’re all about and, by extension, how to put themselves in situations where success is likely.

In the end, recovery from both drug addiction and mental illness is likely. By understanding both, individuals with drug problems can achieve true peace and develop a greater sense of self-respect and self-love than they ever thought possible.