When it comes to addiction, mental health awareness is extremely important. Both mental health and addiction feed off of each other. In many cases, drug abuse leads to mental health disorders or addiction leads to the development of these disorders. Below is more information on how mental health and addiction impact each other.

The Link Between Addiction and Mental Health

woman talks to her daughter about mental health awarenessDrugs alter the chemical balance in the brain. These changes usually involve increasing the production of dopamine. Two of the top jobs of dopamine include triggering the reward center in the brain and blocking pain. Unfortunately, anytime people alter the chemical balance of their brains, they risk developing mental health disorders.

The brain consists of parts that work together as a team. Each of these parts has its own responsibilities for handling specific functions and performance. Drugs make it difficult for these areas of the brain to communicate with each other properly. Sometimes drugs lead to mental health problems or the inability for the brain to perform life-sustaining functions.

The parts of the brain that work together include the brain stem, cerebral cortex, and limbic system. The brainstem controls functions such as breathing, sleeping and regulating heart rate. The cerebral cortex controls information regarding the processing of senses such as taste and touch. However, the cerebral cortex also gives the brain its power to think and make decisions.

The limbic system contains the reward circuit of the brain. It controls the ability to feel and regulates pleasure. Since this area of the brain also controls emotions, many drugs specifically target it.

Why Mental Health Awareness Is So Important

Simply knowing the link between mental health and drugs is only half of the battle. It’s also important to know that mental health awareness is an essential part of the fight against drug addiction. The importance of spreading awareness is why so many rehab centers offer dual diagnosis treatment for co-occurring disorders. This treatment allows rehabs to address both mental health disorders and drug abuse.

Mental health awareness is also important because it lets people know if they’re more at risk of developing addiction than others. The World Health Organization says that around 20% of children in the world have a mental health disorder. Scientists believe that these children are more at risk of developing drug addiction than individuals who don’t have mental health disorders.

Physical Impact of Drug Addiction

Understanding the link between mental health and addiction is important. However, it’s also essential to understand the physical impact that addiction has on the body. In fact, the physical problems that drugs cause are typically the result of the mental damage that drug abuse causes. Some common physical problems include:

  • Changes in body temperature
  • Irregular heartbeat
  • Changes in sleep patterns
  • Brain damage
  • Seizures

Most of these problems occur because of the effects that drugs have on the brain. Drugs limit its ability to function properly. The result is long-term brain damage when people don’t get the help that they need.

Visit a Rehab Center That Offers Dual Diagnosis Treatment

At 1st Step Behavioral Health, we know the importance of mental health awareness, so we offer dual diagnosis programs. Our goal is to provide a caring environment so that you can focus on your recovery.

We also put a big emphasis on therapy. Using therapy, we can get to the root cause of your addiction and mental health issues. Some of the different types of therapy that we offer include:

  • Art therapy
  • Family therapy
  • Individual therapy
  • Music therapy
  • Group therapy

Don’t let your addiction and mental health problems feed off of each other. Let us help you get the medical attention that you deserve. Contact us today at 866-319-6123 for more information about our dual diagnosis program.

About the Author: Brittany Polansky

Brittany PolanskyBrittany has been working in behavioral health since 2012 and is a Primary Clinician at our facility. She is an LCSW and holds a master’s degree in social work. She has great experience with chemical dependency and co-occurring mental health diagnoses as well as various therapeutic techniques. Brittany is passionate about treating all clients with dignity and respect, and providing a safe environment where clients can begin their healing journey in recovery.