3 Reasons Why Heroin Addiction and Mental Illness are Related - Farah Atelier

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Thursday, March 14, 2019

3 Reasons Why Heroin Addiction and Mental Illness are Related


More often than not, when you’re addicted to a substance such as drugs or alcohol, you may be suffering from a mental illness as well and not know about it. I was a heroin addict for a long time, and I didn’t know it then but I also had anxiety and depression. It wasn’t until I entered a heroin rehab treatment program that I realized I had those mental disorders and finally started treatment for them. It was then that I could start undoing the damage I had caused to my mind and my body and begin to heal.



There is a relationship between drug use and mental illnesses. In fact, people who suffer from a mental disorder are twice as likely to also suffer from a mental disorder when compared to the overall population. But, why does that happen? There are several reasons why a dual diagnosis is so common when it comes to heroin addiction, today I would like to share with you some of them.

 Heroin Makes Your Problems “Go Away”

While drugs will never actually make your problems disappear, they give you the feeling that they do, even if it is for a short period of time, until the high wears off. Mental illnesses manifest differently in each person and everyone copes with them in different ways. Some people realize what’s happening to them and decide to seek medical treatment. Others live with them for years before asking for help. Others, like me, turn to alcohol and drugs to help them deal with this problem.

Self-Medication Leads To Addiction

When you don’t understand what’s happening in your mind, you may get so desperate that you start self-medicating. It can be with prescription drugs (which, as you know, is a dangerous thing to do if they weren’t actually prescribed to you), alcohol, or other substances like heroin. Sometimes you feel so horrible that you take anything that might take the pain away. This habit leads to addiction. While it may not seem like there’s anything wrong with drinking a glass of whiskey or smoking pot after a long day of work to relieve some stress, when this becomes a habit it can be dangerous. It only takes a short period of time to become addicted. 

If you or a loved one start feeling symptoms of anxiety, depression or any other mental illness, it is best to abstain from taking anything before consulting a professional. Dealing with a mental disorder can be difficult enough; you don’t want to have to deal with addiction on top of that.

It Is a Vicious Cycle

Here’s how it usually works: you start feeling low without really knowing why, so you take something that helps make those feeling disappear. You feel amazing for a while, but then you start feeling low again. What do you do know? You take whatever you consumed again, only this time in a bigger dose, because your body gets used to the effects of the drug and you need a stronger dose each time to get the same effects. As time goes by, this cycle becomes part of your daily life.

The only way to really break this cycle is by getting professional treatment for your addiction. In order for you to get back on track, you have to get treated for your addiction to the full extent. Only then you can focus on your mental health and start dealing with your illness in a healthy, sober way.

How To Maintain Sobriety?

Sobriety is challenging. Especially right after finishing your treatment, going back to the real world, where there’s temptation everywhere, is difficult. But if I could do it, I’m certain anyone can too. It is recommended to be monitored closely by a professional during the first few months after your program. It is necessary to eliminate old, bad habits that can lead you to consume again from your life. In this order of ideas, you also have to cut ties with people who don’t respect your process and who can get in the way of reaching your goals.

Remember that this is a process, and, as such, it should be taken slowly. You don’t have to get your life together right after getting out of rehab. Slowly changing your habits and establishing a new, healthy routine, is the key to being successful at sobriety.

Are there other facts you have learned about heroin addiction and mental health? If you’d like to share anything, please leave a comment below.

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