Overcoming the impact of Substance Abuse on your Mental Health: by Anita Ginsburg

Substance abuse is on the rise in the U.S. and around the world for many reasons. People who are addicted to alcohol, prescription medications, or illicit drugs often suffer many kinds of side effects. Sometimes the addiction can severely damage their lives or even prove fatal. It can especially impact a person’s mental health. However, the effects of substance abuse on mental health can be overcome by healthy practices like these.

Mental Health Testing

Although mental illness and substance abuse are not always coexistent, they can develop simultaneously as people struggle to control mental distress by practicing self-medication. This can take many forms, including the improper use of legal or illicit substances, many of which can negatively impact mental health and worsen any underlying conditions. Mental health screening can identify conditions that are sometimes associated with substance abuse so they can be treated medically and appropriately.

Substance Abuse

Someone who is struggling with conditions like depression or anxiety may be tempted to use medication or street drugs for relief. Certain substances easily lead to substance abuse, which over time can become a firm addiction. Using substances for physical or emotional pain relief often is more harmful than helpful. 

Doctors and therapists can help to diagnose mental health conditions and treat them effectively to help people in distress find relief from uncomfortable symptoms. Substance abuse can become part of an unhealthy lifestyle of avoiding professional medical care, becoming dependent on illicit or inappropriate substances, and leading to problems with finances, responsibilities, and relationships.

Professional Help

Professional assistance from substance abuse doctors, counsellors, and clinics is widely available. The cost may be tailored to a person’s income, or in some cases, be provided at no cost to the patient. Inpatient treatment typically lasts a few days or a few weeks, although longer stays may be needed for full treatment of the addiction. Outpatient treatment may be offered part-time while the person works or manages other responsibilities.

Personal Follow-up

Someone who is trying to escape substance abuse must be committed personally to following specific recommendations and lifestyle changes. Support groups that meet weekly or more often have helped many people to stay strong in their fight against relapse. Personal therapy to address mental health concerns and lifestyle issues is important.

To protect mental health, someone with a substance abuse problem can find medical help for diagnosing and treating the relevant issues. Recovery programs with dual-treatment options for mental health issues as well as substance abuse problems can help many people. A personal commitment to follow professional advice and protect your own mental health is the most important tool of all.

This guest article was written by Anita Ginsburg.

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