Addiction and mental health are inextricably linked. Many addicts also have an underlying mental health condition such as anxiety or depression. For some, addiction becomes a way to cope with the pain of living with mental illness. For others, mental illness is a risk factor for addiction, since some mental health medications are addictive.
Even if you don’t have a mental illness, addiction still affects your mental health. By changing your brain function, addiction can prime your brain for mental illness. Most addicts experience depression and anxiety during drug and alcohol cravings, and many find that withdrawal catapults them into intense feelings of self-loathing and depression.
Addiction also upends a person’s relationships. This can have profound effects on their mental health. Humans are, after all, social creatures. When our relationships fall apart, so too can our mental health.
This means that to treat addiction, it’s vital to treat the addict’s mental health. This includes addressing broken relationships, offering coping skills to deal with the pain of withdrawal, offering a healthy way to cope with stress, and helping an addict manage any underlying mental health issues.