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Monday, May 7, 2018

Mental Illness and Addiction: Which Came First?

Mental Illness and Addiction: Which one is that Came First, it has been discussed here.

Mental Illness and Addiction

Trying to understand whether mental illness or addiction comes first is much like the ancient puzzle that asks if the chicken or egg came first. There are many experts who believe that an addiction has the ability to hide the symptoms a person may be experiencing due to an untreated underlying condition. The substance abuse develops as an attempt to self-medicate one's self to numb the pain of stress and trauma.

On the other hand, there are others who believe that the addiction serves as the onset for mental illnesses. They believe the underlying cause of the mental illness stems from substance abuse that temporarily alters the functioning of that person's mind and body. Upon returning to a normal state of mind, the individual finds difficulty in finding comfort in the sober state of mind, which initiates the beginning of the confusion and thoughts that contribute to the development of mental illnesses.

While either, both or neither of the explanations may sufficiently answer the question of which came first, it is obvious that both feed into each other. Even more, the circumstances surrounding each person's struggles are as unique as a fingerprint- no two people experience the same battle.

So for some, the mental illness they suffered from came first, with the drug of choice selected as a form of medication. The addiction begins as the person depends on the substance in order to control their specific mental struggle. For instance, a person suffering from depression might find that alcohol loosens them up enough to break free from the mental hold that makes them withdrawn. With a drink or two, the person may feel empowered to interact with others, engage in activities and even lead a seemingly normal life.

As they become more dependent on the substance to function, they become increasingly addicted to the alcohol. The individual is particularly selective and purposeful about their substance of choice because its' purpose is to counteract the symptoms of the mental illness. While an addiction treatment center in Fort Lauderdale can effectively address the substance abuse, the root cause that needs immediate attention is the mental struggle.

For others, the abuse of certain drugs can alter brain cells that lead to the development of a mental illness, intensify an existing mental illness or trigger the awakening of a hereditary illness that is dormant in the body. Marijuana is known for amending brain cells, causing mental health disorder such as depression, mania, anxiety disorders as well as movement disorders. For people who have a family history of schizophrenia, Marijuana can awaken and bring to life this mental illness- even in a person who would not have developed the disease otherwise.

Additionally, the chemical changes that stimulates change in the brain may cause mental health disorders to develop. While there is a lot of research that still needs to be done in order to connect persistent mental health struggles with drug use, use of certain types of substance can significantly change the structure of the brain, causing depression that lasts far beyond the point of conversion to sobriety. Simply put, the changes that occur have long-lasting effects that even sobriety cannot immediately cure.

Nonetheless, an addiction treatment center in Fort Lauderdale - coupled with treatment for the mental illness- can help people restore their life regardless of whichever developed first. The most common types of mental illness that people battling substance abuse include: Schizophrenia, Seasonal Affective Disorder, Depression Disorders, Dementia, Schizoaffective Disorder, Anxiety Disorders, Obsessive Compulsive Disorders, phobias, Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), Eating Disorders, Dissociative Disorders and Bipolar Disorder. Regardless of the type of mental illness or substance abuse a person is suffering with- or whether the addiction or illness came first- it is important to remember that the situation is not permanent. It does not have to be. There is help available.


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