There are many different reasons that people take drugs and drink alcohol. Whatever your reason may be, drug addiction and alcohol addiction can have an extremely negative long-term effect on your health.
The more an addictive substance you consume, the more you will need to take in the future to achieve the desired effect, which could lead to a future overdose. Overdoses are often fatal. You also are at risk of developing high blood pressure and having strokes, as well as heightened possibilities of having long-term problems with your pancreas and liver. You are also at a higher risk of developing specific cancers, such as mouth, liver and bowel cancer.
However, these are just the physical effects. The impact on mental health is also profound. Addicts will experience sudden mood swings and develop an overwhelmingly negative view of life. They will experience a loss of motivation, problems with relationships and may develop episodes of drug-induced psychosis. Depression or anxiety can develop, and they may become extremely secretive to hide their habit.
Long-term abuse of drugs or alcohol can cause the onset of severe issues for your mental health. There is also evidence to suggest that drugs can cause the initial onset of a mental illness and that certain drugs such as cannabis can cause a user to develop a psychotic disorder or psychosis.
Dual Diagnosis Treatments available
An important part of addiction treatment is to establish whether or not dual diagnosis treatment is required. Dual diagnosis is when an underlying mental health condition is diagnosed at the same time as an addiction.
Mental health problems are often the reason that addiction develops in the first place and identifying any conditions is essential. This is often a problem with a one size fits all approach, as adopted by the NHS. All too often, addiction is treated but no consideration is given to the reasons why this might have occurred in the first place.
If you are seeking treatment for an addiction, you may have an idea why your addiction has developed – it could be that you drink or take drugs to self-regulate a mental health condition that you otherwise cannot cope with. Many people are not aware they have a mental health condition in the first place.
As part of our admissions process, we will conduct a comprehensive assessment of your physical and mental health. If we identify an underlying mental health condition that has exacerbated your addiction, we will perform dual diagnosis treatment.
Mental health and addiction
Alcohol and drugs, when consumed to excess, will cause disruption to the brain. For example, alcohol is a depressant and causes a disruption to the brain’s balance, which impacts feelings, thoughts and actions. Drugs and alcohol encourage the brain to release chemicals that create a stimulative effect. This weakens the part of the brain that is associated with inhibition, which leads to increases in confidence, but also causes anger, aggression, depression and anxiety.
Drugs particularly affect mental health, as they can cause psychiatric illnesses, like phobias, a variety of anxieties and post-traumatic stress disorders.
Drugs and alcohol can significantly impact the mental health of an individual who is living through an addiction. Psychosis is commonly caused by drugs or alcohol. When psychosis has developed, someone’s thoughts and emotions are so badly impaired that reality does not seem to exist. These health issues are often spotted because of psychotic episodes, such as confusion, delusions, hallucinations and disturbing thoughts. An individual might also lose all self-awareness and develop a profound lack of insight.
Drugs commonly trigger psychotic episodes, but a combination of both drugs and alcohol is twice the effect. The drugs that are most commonly linked to the development of mental health conditions are cocaine, methamphetamine and amphetamine.
Psychosis is something that is sadly linked to self-harm and suicide. Over 50% of the people who commit suicide have a history of self-harming and links to drug and alcohol issues.
Treatment for mental health and addiction
Rehab Clinics Group offers a range of rehabilitation and mental health treatments. We offer drug and alcohol rehab on both an inpatient and outpatient basis. Inpatient treatment is the best option for people whose state of addiction is severe and who need constant monitoring, and around the clock support. Outpatient treatment allows a client to return to their home in an evening and over a weekend. This is the optimal way to treat someone whose addiction is mild and who has a loving and supportive home life to aid their recovery.
Most treatments require detoxification. Detox allows the opportunity to flush toxins from your body which build up over time as a result of sustained drug and alcohol abuse. This is an unpleasant process, largely due to the painful withdrawal symptoms that can occur as your body and brain crave the substances to which you’ve become addicted to. However, in our care, your detox will be medically assisted, and we will gradually taper away from your access in order to minimise the discomfort of withdrawal.
You will also be provided with access to therapies, which you will take part in on an individual and group basis. Individual therapies are based on talking therapies, such as Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) and identify which behaviours need to change to prevent future relapses. Group therapy sessions allow you to share your experiences and learn from that of your peers.
You will also be provided with access to aftercare programmes, which are designed to ensure relapse prevention and to provide support after your rehab has finished.