Alcoholism and Mental Illness: Is There a Connection?

Posted April 25, 2024 by in Health + Fitness

Alcohol use disorder and mental illness often line up when analyzing the symptoms. Although there are differences between the two, it is hard not to notice how their debilitating effects are intertwined. In order to understand the connection between alcoholism and mental illness, you have to explore a few key areas.

What Do the Studies Say?

Studies into alcoholism and mental illness provide plenty of reasons to enter a detox center in Laguna Beach, CA. Research shows that a co-occurrence can lead to a higher risk of complicated symptoms. That is why when a dual diagnosis occurs, it is possible for mental illness to turn alcoholism into a form of self-medication. Early detection is a crucial part of preventing alcoholism and mental illness from spiraling out of control. 

Individual Impact

Alcoholism by itself has a severe impact on an individual’s life. For mental illness, there is more awareness, but the resources can sometimes be hard to piece together. The main thing to look out for are the physical health problems like impaired cognitive functions and cardiovascular issues. There is even a chance that liver disease could be in its early stages long before you leave the denial portion of the condition.

Once the physical problems become noticeable by others, it becomes impossible to fulfill normal daily responsibilities. When the physical toll gets to this point, feelings of shame and reluctance take over. This domino effect caused by alcoholism and mental illness is where the two have their strongest connection. The alcoholism leads to mental illness, and the mental illness makes you feel hopeless. This process can also work in the reverse order, with mental illness leading to a dependence on alcohol.

What Are the Signs?

To see the connection between alcoholism and mental illness, you have to notice the symptoms with both. Increased alcohol consumption may be a cover to deal with crippling mental illness. And self-medication to deal with mental illness can take the form of alcohol abuse. Using alcohol to deal with mental illness is a horrible cycle that will only enhance the worst parts of the condition. But for an addict, the temporary release provided by alcohol feels right in the moment. Unless the addict or a third party recognizes this flaw, it can turn into a daily routine that does irreparable mental and physical health damage.

Is There a Stigma?

For an addict, it can feel like the support system for alcohol is wider than that for mental health. In some ways this is true, as there is still a social stigma attached to mental health. This creates a problem when professionals determine that there is a dual diagnosis. Addicts can make a huge mistake by focusing on alcoholism while ignoring the mental health part of their treatment. Acceptance in a supportive environment is the answer, and it is easy to destigmatize conversations by promoting education.

A Hard Road Ahead

When mental illness and alcoholism co-occur, you have to face it head on. There are many unique challenges associated with the condition, and individual strength is one of the best ways to overcome the struggles. Instead of fearing the connection between mental illness and alcoholism, create a plan to beat it once and for all. 

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