The Connection Between Mental Health and Addiction

The Connection Between Mental Health and Addiction

Some people come to drugs and/or alcohol out of curiosity or a desire to have fun. Many people, however, use drugs and alcohol as a response to underlying mental health issues. This is where the term “self-medicating” comes from. Likewise, drugs and alcohol use can trigger psychological problems. It’s a “chicken or the egg” situation. Either way, mental health conditions, and addiction often go hand in hand it’s important to recognize both so that proper treatment can be found and the healing process can commence.

Co-Occurring Conditions

We’re beginning to learn that co-occurring conditions are quite common. Co-occurring conditions refer to a mental health disorder and a substance abuse problem being co-present in an individual. It’s necessary to treat both conditions and recognize the signs and symptoms of both. Even though mental health disorders can lead to drug and alcohol abuse, treatment for the underlying mental health condition is also necessary for holistic healing. The brain is complicated and even top scientists still struggle to understand its intricacies. Oftentimes when an individual is self-medicating using drugs and/or alcohol, the brain begins to rely upon those substances. Mental health issues can flare up in unexpected and potentially dangerous ways when the individual begins the recovery process. 

Is Drug Abuse a Mental Illness?

The National Institute of Mental Health classifies drug addiction as a mental illness, as addictions alter behavior and psychological well-being. However, individuals often suffer from other underlying mental health issues, such as depression or anxiety, in addition to addictive behaviors. The bottom line is that we all need to get educated about the nuanced and interrelated issues of drug abuse and mental illness so that we can help ourselves and others find the treatment and help they need.


Tree House Recovery of Orange County, California is a premiere men’s addiction treatment facility that uses eight different modalities to help our men become the best versions of themselves they can be. We teach our men that every day of their journey is something to celebrate and that recovery isn’t a sprint– it’s a marathon. To get started with Tree House Recovery, call us today at  (855) 202-2138

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