How Untreated Mental Health Issues Can Lead to Addiction

a woman wonders how untreated mental health issues can lead to addiction

There is no denying the strong relationship between mental health challenges and addiction. No matter which problem appears first, they often co-exist in the same individual. This presents a unique situation when it comes to rehabilitation efforts. How can untreated mental health issues can lead to addiction? Furthermore, what can you do about this complicated situation?

Linking Mental Health Issues and Addiction

In learning how untreated mental health issues can lead to addiction, we must understand the unique relationship between these two issues. Mental health conditions can create many difficult symptoms that are hard to bear. As a result of dealing with daily pain, a person may begin to use addictive substances as a coping mechanism. Unfortunately, this only leads to more severe problems.

How Untreated Mental Health Issues Can Lead to Addiction

Learning how untreated mental health issues can lead to addiction is an essential part of recovering from these challenges. The following list talks about some of the ways this progression can occur:

Worsening of Existing Mental Illnesses

Existing mental health conditions often become worse when a person starts using addictive substances. Although it may seem as if they are getting relief, they end up worsening the symptoms of their mental illness. This can lead to a dangerous cycle of increased substance abuse.

Onset of New Mental Health Challenges

The combined effects of an existing mental illness and addictive substances can cause significant changes to the brain. In these cases, the person may develop signs of new mental illness in addition to the problems they already had.

Breakdown of Supportive Relationships

Mental health challenges and addiction both wreak havoc on personal relationships. Those facing these complicated struggles may end up feeling even more isolated when they need support the most. This can further strengthen the unhealthy cycle of substance abuse.

Decreased Overall Quality of Life

A person struggling with addiction and mental health challenges will generally have an overall reduction in their quality of life. They may struggle to maintain their finances, physical health, and family relationships.

Rehabilitation Options for Addiction and Mental Illness

Thankfully, addiction therapy and treatment for mental illness can provide lasting relief from these issues. Psychological testing can help professional treatment centers develop the precise rehab plan that will offer long-term results. Clinicians may use the following tools in a well-rounded treatment plan:


Different types of counseling can be beneficial for both addiction and mental health problems. Psychotherapy can take place on an individual or group basis.

Prescription Medication

Many rehab centers use prescription medication to relieve bothersome symptoms associated with mental illness. This can be especially helpful during substance abuse treatment.

Find Relief at Providence Treatment

Now you know how untreated mental health issues can lead to addiction, as well as what to do about it. If you’re battling a combination of mental illness and addiction, there’s help available for you. The team at Providence Treatment takes a dual diagnosis approach to addiction treatment. This allows us to help all kinds of professionals take back control over their lives. For more information, give us a call today at 866-247-3307.

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