Mental Health and Addiction

What is meant by ‘mental health’?

Mental health is a vital part of our overall well-being, covering our emotional, psychological and social health. It shapes our thoughts, feelings and actions in everyday life, influencing everything we do.

Good mental health isn’t solely about avoiding mental illness. It’s about sustaining a balanced state where you can handle life’s usual stresses without negatively impacting your daily activities.

Similar to physical health, mental health needs regular care and attention. This involves seeking support when necessary, especially if you notice any negative changes in your thoughts, feelings or behaviours. Taking steps to care for your mental health can enhance your quality of life and overall happiness.

What are the signs of poor mental health to look out for?

Recognising signs of mental health decline can help in seeking appropriate support and intervention. However, it’s important to note that this is a blanket term for poor mental health, and symptoms can vary widely depending on the specific mental health issue someone is experiencing. Here are some key signs to look out for:


  • Changes in mood: Persistent sadness, irritability or mood swings that are more intense than usual.


  • Social withdrawal: Avoiding friends, family and social activities that were previously enjoyable.


  • Changes in sleep patterns: Insomnia, oversleeping or frequent nightmares.


  • Changes in eating habits: Noticeable weight loss or gain, loss of appetite or overeating.


  • Difficulty concentrating: Trouble focusing on tasks, making decisions or remembering things.


  • Decreased energy: Feeling fatigued or having low energy levels, even after resting.


  • Physical symptoms: Unexplained aches, pains or other physical issues without a clear cause.


  • Feelings of hopelessness or helplessness: Persistent feelings of despair or a sense that nothing will improve.


  • Increased substance use: Relying more on alcohol, drugs or other substances to cope.


  • Changes in personal hygiene: Neglecting personal grooming or cleanliness.
  • Unexplained anger or agitation: Increased irritability, anger outbursts or difficulty managing emotions.


  • Thoughts of self-harm or suicide: Any expression of self-harm or suicidal thoughts should be taken very seriously and addressed immediately.


These signs can be indicators of various mental health issues, including depression, anxiety, bipolar disorder and more. The specific symptoms and their intensity can differ greatly from person to person. 


If you or someone you know is experiencing these signs, reaching out to a mental health professional for support and guidance is important. Early intervention can make a significant difference in managing mental health effectively.

The link between mental health and addiction

The connection between mental health and addiction is both well-documented and complex, and in this section, we aim to explore the link between the two:

Co-occurring disorders

Often, when someone has a mental health disorder, they might also struggle with substance use, a situation known as a dual diagnosis or a co-occurring disorder. It’s quite common for people dealing with mental health issues to turn to substances to cope with their symptoms, and in some cases, those with addictions could develop mental health issues. 


Factors like genetics, brain chemistry and environmental influences such as trauma and stress can play a significant role in both mental health disorders and addiction.


If you’d like to learn more about different types of mental health disorders and how addictions could affect them, feel free to explore the following dual diagnoses:

ADHD and Addiction
Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) is characterised by inattention, hyperactivity and impulsivity. These symptoms can make daily functioning challenging, leading some indiv…

Read More

Anger Management and Addiction
Anger Management issues involve difficulty controlling anger and frustration, often leading to aggressive behaviour. Individuals struggling with anger may turn to substances as a…

Read More

Anxiety and Addiction
Anxiety disorders involve excessive fear, worry or nervousness that can interfere with daily activities. To manage their anxiety, some people may use drugs or alcohol, which can provide temporary r…

Read More

Autism and Addiction
Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) is a developmental disorder that affects communication, behaviour and social interaction. While not common, individuals with autism may use substances to…

Read More

Bipolar and Addiction
Bipolar Disorder is a mental health condition characterised by extreme mood swings, including manic and depressive episodes. People with bipolar disorder might use substances to self-med…

Read More

Borderline Personality Disorder and Addiction
Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD) involves intense emotions, unstable relationships and impulsive behaviours. Individuals with BPD may use…

Read More

Codependency and Addiction
Codependency is characterised by an excessive emotional or psychological reliance on a partner, often to the detriment of one’s own well-being. People struggling with…

Read More

Depression and Addiction
Depression is a mental health condition marked by persistent feelings of sadness, hopelessness and a lack of interest in activities. Some individuals with depression may use substances to alleviate…

Read More

Grief and Addiction
Grief is the intense sorrow and emotional suffering experienced after a significant loss. During the grieving process, some people might turn to drugs or alcohol to numb their pain, potentially lea…

Read More

Insomnia and Addiction
Insomnia is a sleep disorder characterised by difficulty falling or staying asleep. To combat sleeplessness, some individuals may use substances such as alcohol or medications, which can…

Read More

OCD and Addiction
Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD) is a mental health condition characterised by intrusive, unwanted thoughts (obsessions) and repetitive behaviours (compulsions). Experiencing OCD…

Read More

PTSD and Addiction
Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) is a mental health condition triggered by experiencing or witnessing a traumatic event. Individuals with PTSD may use substances to manage their symptoms, such…

Read More

Personality Disorder and Addiction
Personality Disorders involve enduring patterns of behaviour, cognition and inner experience that deviate from cultural expectations. Individuals with personality disorders may use substances to co…

Read More

Schizophrenia and Addiction
Schizophrenia is a severe mental health disorder characterised by delusions, hallucinations and disorganised thinking. People with schizophrenia might use substances to self-medicate their symptoms…

Read More

Self-Harm and Addiction
Self-harm involves intentionally inflicting pain or injury on oneself. Individuals who self-harm may turn to substances to manage emotional distress or numb their pain, increasing the risk of devel…

Read More

Stress and Addiction
Stress is a response to challenging or demanding situations and can affect mental and physical health. Some individuals may use substances to manage their stress, seeking temporary relief, but this…

Read More

Suicide and Addiction
Suicidal thoughts and behaviours are often linked to overwhelming emotional pain and mental health struggles. People experiencing suicidal ideation may use substances as a form of escape or to numb…

Read More

Self-medication for mental health issues

For many, substances like drugs or alcohol become a way to alleviate the symptoms of conditions like depression, anxiety or PTSD. Unfortunately, this can lead to dependence and addiction over time. Without healthier coping mechanisms, using substances can become a way to manage overwhelming emotions or stressful situations.

Mental health issues caused by addiction

Addiction to drugs or alcohol could lead to the development of mental health issues, creating a vicious cycle that’s hard to break. It’s important to recognise that some individuals might have had a pre-existing psychological vulnerability, even if they weren’t aware of it. The use of drugs or alcohol can significantly worsen their mental health, intensifying feelings of anxiety, depression or paranoia. This worsening state can lead to increased substance use as a misguided attempt to self-medicate, further deepening their addiction and mental health struggles.

It’s also possible that being addicted to substances could bring on mental health issues in a person who has no prior issues with mental health. For example, a drug-induced psychosis could be brought on with excessive drug usage.

Treatment options available for mental health issues

When it comes to treating mental health issues, the approach depends on a thorough analysis by a medical professional. They will assess the severity of your condition to determine the most suitable treatment option. Here are some common treatments:

  • Therapy and counselling: This includes various forms of psychotherapy, such as Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT), Dialectical Behaviour Therapy (DBT) and other forms of talk therapy. These methods help individuals understand and manage their thoughts, feelings and behaviours.
  • Medication: Psychiatric medications, such as antidepressants, antipsychotics, mood stabilisers and anti-anxiety drugs, can help manage symptoms. A healthcare provider will determine the right medication and dosage for your specific needs.
  • Lifestyle changes: Incorporating regular exercise, a balanced diet, and adequate sleep can significantly impact mental health. Mindfulness practices, such as meditation and yoga, are also beneficial.
  • Support groups: Joining support groups allows individuals to share experiences and coping strategies with others facing similar challenges. This peer support can be incredibly valuable.

If your mental health issue co-occurs with addiction, a healthcare professional might suggest a comprehensive rehab programme. This integrated approach treats both the addiction and mental health issues simultaneously, ensuring a more holistic recovery process.

What are the next steps?

If you or a loved one are struggling with mental health issues that include addiction, know that there’s support available for you. Contact UK-Rehab for a tailored search for the best treatment option for you or your loved one. Your better and brighter future starts today.

Find alcohol and drug rehab clinics in your area

No matter where you live, there is a drug rehab center that can help you overcome your addiction. We will help you find it.

Select a County

Get Confidential Help Now

Call our admissions line 24 hours a day to get help.