Experiencing symptoms of both poor mental health and substance abuse are common, controlling and co-occurring. Found to trigger one another, also defined as a dual diagnosis, it can be very difficult to live through the uncontrollable disorder of addiction, paired with low, negative outlooks and feelings.

Mental Health And Substance Abuse

As there’s such a significant link between the likes of depression, and drug and alcohol abuse, it is very important that greater awareness is found within the sphere of dual diagnosis recovery.

While faced with both conditions, it’s easy to see why many individuals fall into a severe spiral of further negativity and toxic habits, to encounter an attempt to cope.

Yet by running away, co-occurring disorders, their symptoms and their consequences will intensify.

Understanding the link between mental health and substance abuse is therefore important, in tandem with dual recovery efforts, available here at Asana Lodge.

It’s found that at least 75% of drug and alcohol users are encountering a degree of mental health issues. This is clearly a prevalent and widespread commonality, which deserves greater focus.

If you’re one of those individuals who are consuming drugs and alcohol to alleviate mental health symptoms, or if you’re experiencing symptoms of depression or anxiety through substance abuse, it’s time to reach out.


Alone, addiction is recognised as one of the hardest, life-limiting conditions to experience. Now paired with the engulfing presence of mental health issues, it’s evident how life-altering a dual diagnosis can be to encounter.

Unfortunately, there is a common link between poor mental health and substance abuse, down to the co-occurring impacts that both present independently.

Considering the mental changes and pressures that drug and alcohol consumption place on the brain, it’s clear to see how emotional vulnerabilities can amount.

In tandem with this, it’s also justifiable as to why drugs and alcohol are seen as sources of escapism from the stigma and impacts of mental health issues.

However, encountering both conditions can be extremely challenging to digest and manage, as the impacts of a singular condition are found to aggravate such co-occurring parallels, churning a strong vicious cycle.

Some will argue that for this link to form, that indefinite pre-existing mental health weaknesses must be present. While susceptibility to such conditions is higher in some individuals, the uncontrollable attributes of each behaviour can in fact trigger one another.

Here’s further insight into the triggers that poor mental health and substance abuse have on one another, along with proactive forms of dual diagnosis treatment, available here at Asana Lodge.


Dual-diagnosis triggers

Addiction triggers are found to influence the development of mental health conditions. At the other end of the dual diagnosis scale, emotional triggers are also found to influence substance abuse risks.

Looking further into each trigger, starting with the risk of secondary mental health symptoms, excessive and consistent substance abuse can naturally increase such risks.

This is down to the toxic attributes of drugs and alcohol, including the pressure that both place on the brain. Impacting the production of natural happy chemicals, and inducing imbalance, long-term exposure to drugs and alcohol can increase the vulnerabilities of paranoia, panic, and the lows of depression.

While mental health issues are a consequence of common knowledge, those who are addicted to drugs and alcohol will not see such risks as prevalent, down to the necessity of consumption.

Living with pre-existing mental health issues can also result in substance abuse risks. Emotional triggers are very hard to live with, where trauma, stress or symptoms of depression can result in uncontrollable, unmanageable realities.

Through such realities, the consumption of drugs and alcohol are viewed to ease such consequences. They are in fact branded as an escape from poor mental health.

However, as drugs and alcohol will fill an emotional gap, providing increased levels of happy chemicals for someone with pre-existing mental health problems, it’s easy to see how addictive, such a coping strategy can be.

The link between poor mental health and substance abuse is involuntary, is unknown for most and is avoidable. However, through the equal impacts of identifiable triggers, the development of a dual diagnosis is usually invisible, soon engulfing the life of many individuals.


Substance abuse symptoms

Gauging whether reliance on drugs and alcohol is present is one way to avoid ongoing enablement and the development of mental health problems.

Symptoms of substance abuse include:

  • The inability to reduce drug and alcohol exposure
  • Withdrawal symptoms in between each exposure
  • The ongoing desire to consume drugs and alcohol
  • The priority of drug and alcohol exposure
  • A decline in quality of life
  • Physical symptoms and a decline in health
  • Feelings of remorse and guilt
  • The attempt to isolate oneself from others

While degrees of such symptoms can vary, all depending on personal tolerances and experiences, through symptoms of substance abuse, the risk of mental health issues will be higher.


Symptoms of mental health issues

Again, if you’re experiencing the below symptoms, it’s encouraged that you aim to stay away from addictive substances, and instead look for professional support.

Such actions can significantly reduce the risk of co-occurring conditions, and the link between deterred mental health and substance abuse.

Poor mental health symptoms include:

  • Feelings of panic, anxiety, paranoia, and depression
  • Low energy levels
  • Difficulties sleeping
  • Low self-esteem and recognition
  • Spiralling emotional responses
  • Irrational outlooks
  • The desire to escape such feelings
  • The lack of desire to partake in hobbies, relationships, and responsibilities
  • Physical signs including nausea, digestive problems, and migraines

Mental health conditions are wide-spanning, meaning that symptoms of each condition will be different. Yet if you’re feeling a sense of instability or imbalance, mentally, this is an indication that support will be advantageous.


Treating mental health and substance abuse here at Asana Lodge

As significant problems can develop through a dual diagnosis, sourcing and completing treatment will be necessary. At Asana Lodge, we offer dual diagnosis treatment services, which independently work to treat each condition, yet with simultaneous effects.

Some treatments for co-occurring conditions will be very similar. For example, therapy, cognitive behavioural therapy, and stress management are used for both poor mental health and substance abuse. Yet others will be used as direct treatment, for example, detoxing will be suitable to treat substance abuse.

Combined, a range of treatments will work to suppress and manage symptoms and consequences of a dual diagnosis, with a significant focus on psychological restoration.

Unfortunately, dual diagnosis rates are high, as awareness of such likelihood is low. Increase your awareness and look to secure support at the sign of such symptoms, to avoid the uncontrollable link between substance abuse and mental health problems. We’re here to assist with your recovery efforts.





Raffa Bari - Author - Last Updated: 25 June 2021

Raffa Bari (Bsc, CertEd, CELTA, NLP Prac, BAAT) has an extensive background in addiction recovery, specialising in areas such as Integrative Art Psychotherapy (BAAT Registered) for addiction treatment.

Using her incredible dedication and passion towards personal transformation and recovery, Raffa has helped truly transform the lives of so many individuals.

It is this extensive knowledge and hands-on experience in everything to do with addiction recovery that makes her the perfect author for our site.

Raffa will be posting regularly with new updates and information on the latest industry topics to do with addiction and mental health.

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