BY EMMA BONNEY
A growing number of students seem to battle mental struggles than ever before. While many students reach for professional help in their struggles, most of them seem to take the issue into their own hands. This leads to major health and safety concerns, as many rely on illicit substances or alcohol to overcome their anxiety and depression, sometimes even more severe mental struggles. Substance abuse and mental struggles seem to be interconnected in all cases and college students aren’t an exception. Below is more information on the topic as well as some tips for diagnosing the issue in time.
The link between substance abuse and mental health issues
It has been observed that most students that use illicit substances or show alcohol-related issues tend to have mental concerns associated. When people choose not to treat their mental health problems, their substance abuse symptoms tend to aggravate. The same goes for drug and alcohol abuse, when the abuse problem takes over the student’s life the mental problems tend to accentuate. Co-occurring of mental health problems and substance abuse are more common in college students than many people want to believe. Studies show that around 40% of college students are dealing with mental disorders combined with substance abuse.
Do mental health problems cause substance abuse or the other way around?
Mental health issues and substance abuse are closely linked, but it does not mean that one directly causes the other. However, most of the times substance abuse is a way of dealing with the symptoms of a mental health disorder. The persons who are experiencing symptoms of an undiagnosed mental health problem use alcohol and drugs to cope with them and to change their mood, even if it is for a short period. The bad news is that if young people abuse substances, they can experience side effects that lead to a boost of the symptoms they have initially experienced.
In addition, substance abuse can increase the possibility of experiencing mental health problems. Most of the times the environment, and the interplay of genetics are the causes of mental disorders. If you are at risk of developing a mental health problem, consuming drugs and alcohol can push you over the edge.
How can you recognise the symptoms of mental disorders and co-occurring substance abuse?
Students find difficult to determine themselves if they are experiencing a substance abuse problem and a co-occurring mental disorder. It takes time and research to understand what a substance abuse problem is and what is a mental health issue. Once diagnosed the solution is simple, you need to enter rehab. Students should check their insurance for rehab to see what services it covers. Your priority should be to get the most of your insurance benefits so to access professional treatment for your mental health and addiction.
Coming back to the signs that tell you that you have a co-occurring disorder:
- You are using alcohol or drugs to cope with unpleasant feelings of memories
- You feel anxious or depressed when you are sober
- You have a history of abuse or unresolved trauma
- You have noticed a connection between your substance use and your mental state, for example, you get anxious when you use drugs.
A bit about myself:
Emma Bonney is a successful blogger whose articles aim to help readers with self-development, Women’s Empowerment, Education, entrepreneurship and content management.