One of the first things we’re taught about drugs is that they can ruin our minds and lives if we aren’t careful. This unfortunate truth is what leads so many people to needing addiction treatment that also helps them address underlying mental health conditions. Sadly, a large number of those suffering from drug abuse and addiction never get the help they need.
Understanding the harm drug use can do can make the decision to say no easier, even under pressure from others or to escape stress and anxiety. Illicit drugs have become more accessible than ever before, prompting more use of the substances as coping mechanisms with no concern of negative consequences.
The Impact on the Brain and Mentality
The type of drug used will change how it affects your mind, with the main four categories of illicit drug being:
- Depressants including marijuana and heroin
- Narcotics including morphine and opium
- Hallucinogens including LSD and ecstasy
- Stimulants including cocaine and methamphetamines
Prescription drugs such as Adderall and Oxycontin can also be abused with their own impact on the brain. The key factor in any substance’s ability to alter how your mind works is frequent consumption. Drugs will interact with the neurotransmitters in your brain, which are responsible for delivering signals that activate various other regions.
One example is the increase in dopamine production brought on by drug use. Because production is being stimulated by an external substance, the base level production of your brain drops to near zero. When drugs are no longer in your system, you’re unable to reach meaningful levels of dopamine which removes the reward you feel when doing something you enjoy.
Drug Abuse Can Cause Mental Health Issues
The presence of addiction and mental illness co-occurring has increased over the years. What many of those curious about drug use don’t realize is that mental illness can actually spawn from drug abuse. Various depressive, anxiety, psychotic, and mood disorders can develop or be made more severe during frequent substance use.
There is a silver lining in that a majority of mental health changes can be undone with proper treatment and the right amount of time. Heavy drug abuse can cause irreparable brain damage though, along with any consumption of inhalants that contain toxic chemicals. Ending drug use as soon as possible is the best way to avoid a suffering mental health state.
How Mental Health and Addiction Are Connected
With over 9.2 million Americans struggling with both addiction and a co-occurring mental health disorder, there’s no denying how heavily the brain and drug use are intertwined. Even if it’s uncertain whether drug abuse or mental health changes came first, the presence of both of them is a cause for concern.
Drug use can make the symptoms of conditions such as depression and anxiety more severe which pushes the individual to stronger drug use to self-medicate against the negative feelings. The cycle continues until drug use is constant and the individual has become fully dependent on the substance. Even if this has happened, medical detox can still give those in need a safe way to detox.
Find Help for Addiction and Mental Health
Whether addiction or a mental illness led to the other, you deserve treatment that can help address both sources of turmoil together. America’s Rehab Campus is equipped with clinicians and psychologists ready to find the root cause of addictive behaviors. Drug use is replaced with healthy coping mechanisms and relapse prevention is part of every aftercare plan.
Take the first steps today and reach out to the ARC staff today. Our intake specialists are here to answer any questions you have on treatment, transportation, insurance, or helping a loved one.