The American Society of Medicine defines addiction as “a treatable, chronic medical disease involving complex interactions among brain circuits, genetics, the environment, and an individual’s life experiences”. Simply put, an addict will repeatedly use substances or engage in behaviors that are detrimental to their physical and psychological health.

People can develop an addiction to alcohol, Marijuana, PCP, Opioid pain killers, such as codeine and oxycodone, heroin, sedatives, hypnotics, Cocaine, and other stimulants.  Addiction isn’t only restricted to substance abuse; it can also be behavioral, for example, gambling, food, the internet, gaming, cell phone, sex, and pornography.

Addiction and mental illness have been proven to be mutually inclusive situations. That is, many people who are addicted to drugs are most likely to be diagnosed with other mental disorders and vice versa.

Chronic use of some drugs can lead to both short and long-term changes in the brain. They affect areas that relate to judgment, decision making, learning, memory, and behavioral control.

These defects lead to mental health issues like paranoia, depression, anxiety, aggression, hallucinations, mood swings, and other problems. 

When you have both a substance abuse problem and a mental health issue such as depression, bipolar disorder, or anxiety, it is called a co-occurring disorder or dual diagnosis.

A desire for drug consumption for feelings of pleasure is usually an early sign of one of the kinds of mental illnesses.

For example, someone who is depressed might turn towards alcohol to feel better. Likewise, a sex addict might experience feelings of shame, social isolation, inadequacy, and emotional distress.

To make the situation more complicated, the co-occurring disorders also affect each other. When a mental health problem goes untreated, the substance abuse problem usually gets worse. More so, stopping the substance or behavior often leads to withdrawal symptoms indicative of poor mental health.

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