Drug Use Disorders Often Co-Occur With Other Mental Illnesses, Let’s Understand the ‘Why’!


Drug use disorders and mental illnesses go hand-in-hand as people hooked in to drugs have two-times higher risk of developing mood and anxiety disorders as compared to general people, and vice-versa. consistent with the 2019 National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH), 24.5 percent (or 61.2 million adults) aged 18 or older experienced either any mental disease (AMI) or a substance use disorder (SUD) within the past year. Moreover, 16.8 percent (or 42 million people) suffered an AMI but not an SUD. The survey also reported a 3.9 percent (or 9.7 million people) incidence of an SUD but not AMI while 3.8 percent (or 9.5 million people) were found battling both an AMI and an SUD.

Such a high co-prevalence of AMI and SUD forces one to think is both this stuff are inter-related and if so, then why?

Co-occurrence: A coincidence or more

The high incidence of co-occurring substance use disorders and mental illnesses is independent of a causal association between the 2 . Moreover, it doesn’t indicate any particular sequence within the onset of the matter , just because multiple factors may contribute to SUDs and AMI, with most of them being independent of every other.

For example, it’s important to ascertain if symptoms have progressed to a selected level (per DSM) to verify the diagnosis for any mental disturbance . However, subclinical symptoms can also cause drug use. Although it’s always difficult to inform which comes first between AMI and SUDs. However. three possibilities seem to exist.

Drug use may cause mental disease : Drug or drugs of use could also be liable for causing one or more symptoms of a mental illness within the user. The evidence supporting the likelihood comes from the known association between increased risk of psychosis and marijuana in some users.
Mental illness resulting in drug use: Researchers are talking about the possible role of mental illnesses in causing drug use. Individuals reporting overt, mild, or maybe subclinical mental disorders are susceptible to drug use as self-medication. Slowly, because the person feels more empowered with the utilization of the drug, they become hooked in to it, resulting in an addiction.
Overlapping factors: There are certain factors including genetic vulnerabilities, brain deficits, and/or early exposure to worry or trauma, which can cause both AMI and SUDs.
All these three scenarios may express themselves (in different degrees for various individuals) in making a case for a co-occurring AMI and SUD.
Exploring common factors

Genetics features a role to play in both, an AMI and a SUD. Genetic factors are often a big common link between these two conditions, which is understood to contribute to the event of both addiction and other mental illnesses. consistent with researchers, genetics make a 40-60 percent contribution to one’s vulnerability to addiction. At an equivalent time, genes also can act indirectly contributing to the event of SUD by altering a person’s response to worry or one’s tendency to develop risk-taking and novelty-seeking behaviors.

Similar brain regions are involved. it’s going to be quite a coincidence that within the case of both SUD and AMI, an equivalent brain regions are affected. for instance , addictive substances and mental illnesses like depression and other psychiatric disorders affect dopamine, a chemical that carries messages from one neuron to a different .

This overlap of brain areas suffering from AMI and SUDs may indicate an opportunity of some brain changes which will be caused from anybody of those and affecting the opposite .

A report published within the National Institute of substance abuse (NIDA) suggests that the event of a mental disturbance and subsequent changes in brain activity tend to extend one’s susceptibility to using substances by reducing awareness of their negative effects, amplifying their positive effects, or relieving the unpleasant effects caused thanks to the mental disturbance .

Getting mentally healthy is all about timely treatment

Different behavioral therapies are found effective in treating comorbid conditions. However, it’s important to think about other associated factors like patients’ age and specific drug used among other things while going ahead with the planned treatment.