The Link Between Mental Disorders and Substance Misuse

We all know the dangers of substance misuse. But what about the link between mental health issues and drug use? It’s true that those with underlying mental health issues may be more likely to misuse drugs and alcohol, but why is this? Let’s take a closer look at the connection between mental disorders and drug misuse.

There are various reasons why someone with a mental disorder might turn to drugs or alcohol as a form of self-medication. For some people, using substances can help them cope with their feelings of depression, anxiety, or low self-esteem. Others may use drugs in an effort to feel better or to cope with difficult situations in their lives. Drugs can provide temporary relief from these issues, but they do not address the underlying cause which is usually rooted in a deeper psychological problem.

It’s important to recognize that misusing drugs can lead to further psychological problems over time. Not only does it increase the risk of developing an addiction, but it can also worsen existing mental disorders such as depression or anxiety. This is because drug use alters brain chemistry, leading to changes in mood and behavior that can exacerbate existing conditions. Additionally, some substances such as alcohol are depressants which can make symptoms worse in those who already suffer from depression or anxiety.

Finally, there is also evidence that substance misuse at an early age increases the risk of developing certain types of mental disorders later on in life. For example, research has found that young adults who misuse marijuana are more likely to experience psychotic symptoms than those who do not use marijuana at all—even after controlling for other factors such as family history and pre-existing mental health problems.


In conclusion, there is strong evidence linking substance misuse and mental disorders—especially when it comes to younger individuals who are just beginning to explore drugs or alcohol. It’s important for both parents and educators alike to be aware of this link so they can help prevent substance misuse before it becomes a problem. Additionally, those suffering from any kind of mental disorder should seek professional help if they find themselves turning to drugs or alcohol as a form of relief – doing so will ultimately help them get better more quickly rather than exacerbating their condition further down the line.