There’s a raging debate about why some people get addicted – to drugs, alcohol, or something else – and other people don’t. But one thing for sure is that substance abuse disorder can sometimes lead to or is paired with mental health disorders. Thankfully, symptoms of both can be treated with ketamine.
What is Addiction?
“Substance use disorder (SUD) is a complex condition in which there is uncontrolled use of a substance despite harmful consequences. People with SUD have an intense focus on using a certain substance(s) such as alcohol, tobacco, or illicit drugs, to the point where the person’s ability to function in day-to-day life becomes impaired. People keep using the substance even when they know it is causing or will cause problems.” Severe disorders are known as addiction.
Facts About Addiction
- More than 20 million Americans suffer at least one addiction, but only 10 percent receive treatment.
- Substance abuse can change the composition of your brain, making drug use compulsive.
- Early intervention is the key.
- About 20 percent of Americans with depression, or an anxiety disorder, experience substance use disorder.
- Most people with addiction were involved with substance misuse before they turned 18.
- Americans aged 18 to 25 are most predisposed to use addictive drugs.
Why Do People Become Addicted?
Dr. George Koob of the U.S. National Institutes of Health says, “A common misperception is that addiction is a choice or moral problem, and all you have to do is stop. But nothing could be further from the truth. The brain changes with addiction, and it takes a good deal of work to get it back to its normal state. The more drugs or alcohol you’ve taken, the more disruptive it is to the brain.”
What are the Symptoms?
- Impaired control or craving to use the substance; desire or unsuccessful attempts to reduce using the controlled substance.
- Social problems.
- Risky use in dangerous settings; repeated use even when knowing the risks.
- Drug effects, like needing larger amounts to achieve the same feeling; withdrawal symptoms that are unique to each substance.
Can Addiction Lead to Mental Health Disorders?
Mental health disorders and substance use disorders sometimes go together hand in hand. This could be attributed to:
- Mental health disorders have been known to lead to drug or alcohol use because some people with mental health issues may use these substances beyond their original intent – as a kind of self-medication. Both may be built upon a common foundation, like changes in brain configuration, genetic weaknesses, and early contact with stress or trauma.
- People with an addiction who use certain illegal drugs could experience one or multiple symptoms of a mental illness.
According to the U.S. government, more than one in four adults with severe mental health issues also suffer from a substance use disorder. Research indicates that substance use problems happen more often with certain mental illnesses, like depression, anxiety disorders, schizophrenia, and personality disorders.
- Depression, which includes low moods, is seen in about one-third of adults with addiction or substance abuse problems.
- There’s also a correlation between addiction and anxiety disorders. One study indicated that people with an anxiety disorder have a higher lifetime rate of alcohol abuse than people without such a disorder.
- Schizophrenia is also seen in people with addictions. “Substance use disorders occur commonly in patients with schizophrenia and dramatically worsen their overall clinical course. While the exact mechanisms contributing to substance use in schizophrenia are not known, a number of theories have been put forward to explain the basis of the co-occurrence of these disorders.”
- Personality disorders are another comorbidity seen in people with addiction.
Diagnosis & Treatment
The first step in recovering from addiction is recognizing a problem and seeing a medical professional for diagnosis. You can expect to undergo a complete physical examination to see if a medical problem is causing your symptoms and understand how severe they are. You may also be referred to a mental health professional for psychiatric evaluation for the same reasons.
For most people, a mixed treatment approach is ordinarily effective. Medicine may control drug cravings, reduce withdrawal signs, and prevent unexpected relapses. Psychotherapy can help, too, but some people also benefit from ketamine treatment.
If you know you have a substance abuse disorder or another addiction, you may have an advantage over millions of others. Many people who meet the criteria for addiction could see improvements in their health if they seek treatment – but don’t receive help. Ask your medical professional about the benefits of ketamine therapy.