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Which comes first, mental health problems or substance misuse?

Although one does not always cause the other, there is a strong correlation between substance misuse and mental health problems. So, how could they be linked?

Substance and alcohol misuse might elevate pre-existing vulnerability to mental disorders. Substance misuse may be a contributing factor to mental health issues, although it is not clear whether this is always the case due to the complicated interaction of heredity, environment, and other variables. However, if you are at risk for a mental health disorders, misusing substances might drive you over the brink.

Misuse of substances may exacerbate the effects and symptoms of mental problems. Substance misuse may greatly exasperate the effects of mental disorders and possibly cause new symptoms to appear. Substance misuse may also have negative interactions with other medications, such as antidepressants, anxiety medications, and mood stabilisers, reducing the efficacy of these treatments and prolonging the recovery process.

Self-medicating with substances and alcohol is a common coping mechanism for those who struggle with mental health problems. In many cases, substance misuse is used as a coping mechanism for dealing with difficult emotions, to temporarily alter one's mood, or as a means of reducing the symptoms of an underlying mental disorders that has yet to be diagnosed. Unfortunately, self-medication with substances has negative side effects and, in the long term, often exacerbates the symptoms they first helped to relieve.


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