Chronic use of some drugs can lead to both short and long-term changes in the brain, which can lead to mental health issues including paranoia, depression, anxiety, aggression, hallucinations, and other problems.
Many people who are addicted to drugs are also diagnosed with other mental disorders and vice versa. Compared with the general population, people addicted to drugs are roughly twice as likely to suffer from mood and anxiety disorders, with the reverse also true.
In 2015, an estimated 43.4 million (17.9 percent) adults ages 18 and older experienced some form of mental illness (other than a developmental or substance use disorder). Of these, 8.1 million had both a substance use disorder and another mental illness.1 Although substance use disorders commonly occur with other mental illnesses, it’s often unclear whether one helped cause the other or if common underlying risk factors contribute to both disorders.
Mental health plays a large role in the world of drug and alcohol addiction. While many may start using as a means to simply get high, others seek the high to smother the difficulties they face in life. They use in an effort to shut off what they cannot determine as a form of mental illness, even if it is as “simple” as an anxiety disorder.
Drinking or using as a means of forgetting a traumatic event is a curse that many fall under. Many also fall to drug abuse out of anger and self-punishment. Emotional tendencies in times of grief make it difficult to find sight toward a future where happiness exists. Life will be hard.
This is an inherent fact that we can all very cleanly knit together with existential thought. We live, we survive, we struggle. Some things are easy, some things are not. It is the ways in which we handle what is NOT easy that can negatively contribute to our futures in this ongoing world—YES, a world which will go on whether we choose to accept that fact or not.
The heavy effect that drugs and alcohol have on an individuals brain may not be realized until they are detoxified from the substance and begin to think clearly again. Seeing and experiencing the world—to those who come to realize how foggy their minds were—is an amazing part of adhering to sobriety.
Many who have been afflicted by the disease of drug addiction find that the world is a different place through sober eyes. Creativity that once was thought to be enhanced by drug use is often found to be much stronger and better focused with the clarity of a drug-free mind and heart. Many musicians have stated that—having found sobriety—songs that came together during their drug days are less meaningful to them and are often a source of embarrassment.