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Beyond the Surface: The Impact of Drug Addiction on Mental Health

Mental health and addiction are very closely related. Many people turn to substance misuse because they have an undiagnosed or untreated mental health disorder. Yet, rather than treating symptoms, substance use can further exacerbate the problem, causing the person to become more anxious or depressed. The impact of drug addiction on mental health can have both long and short-term consequences. 

It is important to recognize that different stimulants can affect a person’s mental health in different ways. For example, the way that a stimulant drug, such as cocaine, affects the brain differs greatly from the effects of a depressant drug, such as alcohol. Even after an individual stops using a particular substance and gets treatment, their mental health may still be affected. This is why counseling and continued treatment are often necessary and can make a major difference. 

At Sage Recovery, we specialize in not only addiction treatment but mental health treatment as well. We believe in not only treating the addiction itself but rather treating the whole person for a fully sustainable and successful recovery. This includes helping them to work through mental health challenges as they begin to heal. 

Impact of Drug Addiction: Stimulants and Mental Health

Stimulant drugs affect the brain by speeding up the central nervous system, more specifically the speed at which messages travel between the brain and the body. This causes the person to feel more awake and alert. It can also cause them to feel more energetic and experience a rush of self-confidence or talkativeness. 

Cocaine is a highly dangerous and illegal stimulant drug that can be very addictive. There are also legal prescription stimulant drugs that can also be addictive and are also often misused. For example, there are amphetamines like Adderall and Dexedrine which are used to treat conditions like narcolepsy or attention deficit disorder (ADHD). However, many people obtain these drugs illegally and misuse them. 

Prescription stimulants are often misused by college-aged students who are trying to stay up and study. They think that the boost of energy and alertness they get will help them to perform better on exams. This also highlights why some prescription stimulants earned street names like “smart pills” or “study drugs”. 

Stimulants can cause a person to become mentally over-stimulated. When this occurs, they may exhibit some side effects like paranoia, risky behavior, and even violence. Some of the most concerning long-term effects of stimulants on mental health include an increased risk of anxiety, panic attacks, and depression. Some people also experience stimulant psychosis, which is associated with hallucinations, delusions, and aggressive behavior. 

Impact of Drug Addiction: Depressants and Mental Health

Depressants have the opposite effect of stimulants on the body and mind; they slow down the central nervous system. As a result, they cause a person to feel more calm and relaxed, less aware of their surroundings, and less inhibited. Depressants can even induce sleep, affect coordination, and hinder decision-making. 

Alcohol and benzodiazepines are some commonly misused and highly addictive depressant drugs. Some people may use them to self-medicate as they try to find relief from certain mental health conditions. For example, some people may turn to alcohol to help them cope with stress, feel more comfortable in a social situation, or cope with anxiety. Others may turn to alcohol to deal with depression. 

For a while, some people may believe that this form of self-medication is working for them. This is because they may experience temporary relief from anxiety, stress, and sadness that they are looking for. Additionally, this “quick fix” highlights why self-medicating practices can so quickly develop into addiction. They may get to a point where they don’t believe they can find relief from these symptoms on their own. 

Meanwhile, the relief that a person experiences from anxiety and depression while they are misusing a depressant is only temporary. As soon as the effects wear off, those underlying symptoms are still going to be there. In fact, they will likely become even more severe. Addiction can also worsen anxiety and depression, and even increase suicidal thoughts in those already struggling with self-harm tendencies. 

The good news is that when a person seeks treatment for either stimulant or depressant drugs, their mental health is likely to improve. With professional guidance and support, they will be able to establish lasting sobriety from substance abuse while also overcoming the underlying causes of their distress for a truly transformed and sustainable recovery. 

Marijuana and Mental Health

Despite the common perception that marijuana is an entirely safe drug, marijuana can be addictive. It can also have a severe impact on mental health, triggering short- and long-term consequences. Even on just a short-term basis, marijuana can make some people feel anxious and paranoid. On the other hand, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is also linking long-term marijuana use to temporary psychosis, which can be associated with hallucinations and delusions. 

At Sage Recovery, we treat a wide variety of different types of addictions. Our team is highly experienced in treating both mental health and addiction simultaneously. Allow us to guide and support you as you address the impact of drug addiction on your life. 

When mental health disorders such as anxiety and depression are left untreated, they can be debilitating. The symptoms of these disorders can impact the quality of a person’s every day life. These disorders can affect not just the mind, but physical health. Some people become desperate to do whatever they can to find relief. They may turn to substance use to cope with the pain. However, there are more healthier and much more effective ways to find relief. Mental health treatment can truly transform a person’s life for the better. If you are struggling with your mental health, our team at Sage Recovery is here to help. Call (512) 306-1394 today.