A hot topic that a lot of people debate is addiction a mental illness. It is complicated. With more research into the matter, health experts have pinpointed an answer. Because of that, they’ve come to understand more about addiction and how to treat it.
Is Addiction a Mental Illness?
According to decades of research, addiction is a complex brain disease that involves uncontrolled drug use despite the consequences. People develop it after they build up a tolerance and need larger amounts of drugs or alcohol to obtain the same effects. With continued use, dependence and addiction set in. Each of these phases is part of substance use disorder (SUD).
People with SUD have distorted bodily functions, behaviors and thought patterns. One reason is that the drugs change how their brains work. Even brain imaging shows changes that relate to making decisions, learning, controlling behavior, storing memories and judging situations. In turn, people develop intense cravings that make it nearly impossible to stop abusing drugs without medical assistance and addiction therapy services.
Further research has discovered that people with addiction intensely focus on their specific drug, which takes over their lives. They continue to use even when they recognize that it causes problems. Some people develop health issues and conflicts with family members, friends and coworkers. However, they can’t stop using even when they want to.
What’s worse is that many people have other mental illnesses too. These are co-occurring disorders. While having a mental disorder first can lead to addiction, developing addiction can lead to other mental disorders. In any case, effective addiction and mental illness treatments are available so that people can live normal lives.
Why People Abuse Drugs
Concerning co-occurring disorders, some people who have mental disorders may use drugs to relieve the symptoms. They might drink alcohol or take anti-anxiety medications to relax, reduce stress or mellow out. However, others abuse drugs simply to get high, because of peer pressure or out of curiosity. Yet people may use drugs to improve their performance in school, work or outdoor activities.
Types of Drug Addictions and Symptoms
People can develop an addiction to numerous drugs, including alcohol, weed, prescription painkillers, stimulants, sedatives, hallucinogens and inhalants. All of these cause harmful changes in brain function that last after the initial intoxication. Because of that, it’s important for people who abuse drugs to get treatment.
There are several symptoms of SUD, and the two main ones are tolerance and withdrawal symptoms. However, it also causes impaired control through cravings and the desire but failure to reduce or quit using. Many people also experience social problems and participate in risky activities such as driving while intoxicated.
Get Help for Addiction Today
Do you want to learn more about is addiction a mental illness? Gateway Foundation Chicago River North Outpatient Dual Diagnosis Treatment center can help you understand it and the risks. We provide a range of treatment services for those with SUD as well, including:
- Medication-Assisted Treatment
- Outpatient drug rehab
- Intensive Outpatient Program
- Partial Hospitalization Program
- Evidence-Based Therapies
- Mindfulness-Based Sobriety
Put SUD behind you today. Ask us to teach you more about is addiction a mental illness and to help you overcome it. Call Gateway Foundation Chicago River North Outpatient at 312.464.9451 for more information.