substance abuse and mental illness

Substance addiction and mental illness go hand in hand. Comorbidity, the simultaneous occurrence of two disorders or illnesses in a person, is common among people with substance abuse problems and can affect the course and prognosis of the disorders.

Nearly six out of 10 addicts also suffer from a mental disorder such as attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder, post-traumatic stress disorder or schizophrenia. People who are addicted to drugs are twice as likely to suffer from a mood or anxiety disorder, and roughly three-quarters of addicts in rehab treatment also suffer from some sort of mental disorder. Furthermore, many drugs of abuse have qualities that can mimic the symptoms of mental illness and withdrawal side effects that are often diagnosed as mental illness.

Nearly 6 out of 10 addicts also suffer from a mental disorder such as ADHD, PTSD or schizophrenia.

Trauma is also a leading cause of substance use disorders. Trauma can take many forms and can have a significant impact upon the individual and on their respective mental health status. (click here for full resource)


We all know about the stigma regarding mental illness. I’d say substance abuse has a worse rep. It is seen as some sort of moral failing or that there has been a choice made. And it was the wrong one.

However, it’s far more complex. The above resource on co-occurring disorders is very helpful and I am encouraged by an approach to treatment that considers both the substance abuse and the mental illness as two disorders that need treating.

I can’t vouch for the services offered from this specific rehab centre but would encourage anyone to seek help. Whether it’s for yourself or you have concerns about a friend or family member. Perhaps start by taking a look at the above resources.

rock bottom

Thank you to Drug Rehab for sending me this resource to feature.

Do you have a mental illness or substance abuse story to share? If so, please email me on

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.