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Drug abuse and mental health

Chronic drug abuse is a state of taking legal or illegal drugs to such an extent that you seriously jeopardize your health or mental capabilities. Basically, once a person loses his/her control regarding drug abuse cessation, he/she becomes an addict. However, in a vast majority of cases, drug addicts also suffer from some kind of personality or mental disorders too. The name for these occurrences is double diagnosis or co-occurring disorder.

Drug Abuse and Mental Disorders

Even though drug abuse may appear hand-in-hand with any possible mental disorder, it frequently takes place along with schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, manic depression, ADHD, OCD, generalized anxiety disorder, post-traumatic stress disorder, panic disorder and antisocial personality disorder. Moreover, some of these disorders may increase one's chances of abusing drugs.

Facts about Mental Disorders with Drug Addicts

In 2002, a research showed that more than 4 million adults suffered from both a mental disorder and a drug addiction for more than a year. This gives us quite a frightening insight into the possibility of having a mental illness intertwined with your addiction, making matters much worse.

Interestingly, people with schizophrenia often use drugs such as marijuana in order to counter some of the side-effects of their mental condition such as lethargy, depression, sadness and isolation. Also, different drugs can help them get rid of hallucinations, paranoid delusions and many other problems, giving rise to addictions instead.

However, the whole situation may take place the other way around, since certain drugs may trigger mental disorders. Ecstasy, for example, being a popular club drug, is known to trigger depression and anxiety in the long run, due to the fact that it affects the production of serotonin, which is our feel-good hormone.

Also, taking into consideration that teenagers and adolescents are in their development phases as far as their mental and physical characteristics are concerned, drug abuse at this age may seriously affect their cognitive functions as well as physical growth, possibly leading to mental disorders.

Ultimately, there are countless cases where drug abuse and mental disorders have nothing to do with each other.

Statistics and Susceptibility

Individuals suffering from antisocial personality disorder have about 17% chances of becoming drug addicts. Manic people may abuse drugs in 14.5% of cases while schizophrenics may do the same in 10.01% of cases. Furthermore, people suffering from panic disorder may seek refuge in drugs in 4.03% scenarios, while 4.1% of major depressive persons may abuse drugs too. Finally, 3.4% of people with OCD may abuse substances while with phobic people this number is reduced to 2.1%.

Treating either the mental disorder and the drug abuse separately or dealing with the problem as a whole is much better than neglecting any of these issues.

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