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Mental Disorders From Drug Use

person sitting on ground dealing with mental disorders from drug use

Is it possible to develop any mental disorders from drug use? The experts say yes. Much of this depends upon the type and duration of drugs being used. However, there are definite links to mental health conditions such as schizophrenia that point to a substance use disorder. As a result, if you struggle with drugs or alcohol, it’s important to seek treatment sooner than later. Long-term substance use disorder is more likely to leave you with serious mental health issues.

Mental Disorders From Drug Use: Should You Worry?

Someone who battles addiction should realize that it is possible to suffer mental disorders from drug use. This is because long-term exposure to certain chemicals causes cognitive disorders. Some impact on your cognitive abilities may clear up once recovery happens, but many remain as permanent reminders. For instance, long-term use of cocaine can cause the following cognitive impairments:

  • Parkinson’s disease
  • Memory loss
  • Shortened attention span
  • Impaired judgment
  • Impaired motor skills

Alcohol is another drug that can leave heavy drinkers with literal brain damage. Some mental disorders from drug use are reversible upon recovery. Some are not. Those who use large amounts of alcohol regularly may suffer from diminished brain size and the inability to retain new information. They may also have difficulties in gaining or retrieving information.

The Difference Between a Cognitive Impairment and a Mental Disorder

While cognitive impairment and a mental disorder are not the same, they share similar symptoms. Also, both affect areas of the brain. Cognitive impairment is often associated with dementia or Alzheimer’s Disease in older people. It’s any condition that causes a decline in memory or in how the brain functions day-to-day.

A mental disorder, however, affects thoughts, feelings, mood, and emotions. The two conditions are similar but affect different areas of the brain. For instance, mental disorders include:

  • Depression
  • Anxiety
  • Panic
  • Post-traumatic stress disorder
  • Bipolar disorder
  • Schizophrenia

Though symptoms are different, they’re very similar. Additionally, someone with Parkinson’s disease may experience depression or anxiety, for instance. Likewise, a person who suffers from depression may have trouble with short- or long-term memory.

The important takeaway is that long-term exposure to drugs or alcohol can impact the ability of your brain to function normally. And this could cause a condition that affects you for the rest of your life.

The Link Between Mental Disorders From Drug Use and Schizophrenia

Methamphetamine has been tied to the onset of schizophrenia and psychosis, though more studies need conducting. Scientists believe this is because meth sensitizes the brain to dopamine. Consequently, dopamine is the feel-good chemical that’s produced naturally within your brain as a reward. If you fall in love, you receive a healthy dose of dopamine from your brain to let you know this is a good thing.

Chemically released dopamine, however, can mess up your brain’s way of congratulating you for a job well done. This is especially true for those who’ve used meth for years. And one way it does this is by contributing to schizophrenia.

Schizophrenia is one of the mental disorders from drug use that’s marked by loss of touch with reality. It’s often severe and chronic and makes life difficult or impossible to navigate without treatment. Symptoms of schizophrenia include hallucinations, delusions, and disordered thoughts.

Treatment for Dual Diagnosis at Integrative Life Center

If you’re struggling with both substance use disorder and an accompanying mental health condition, seek treatment at Integrative Life Center in Nashville, TN. Located on a serene campus in the foothills of the scenic Smokey Mountains, Integrative Life provides excellence in behavioral healthcare in the region. Call today at 615.455.3903 for more information.

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