Understanding the Relationship Between Mental Health & Substance Abuse


In today’s society, there’s an unfortunate stigma surrounding both mental health and substance abuse. These negative connotations can make it feel impossible for those struggling to seek help. People with these co-occurring disorders fear judgment and backlash from others if they try to find treatment. Thankfully, more light is shining on the issue of comorbidity. Facilities and treatment centers are beginning to offer the proper treatment to address both mental health and substance abuse to give clients their best chance at long-lasting recovery. If you believe you’re struggling with co-occurring disorders, seek out Los Angeles rehab programs for proper treatment.

Is There a Relationship Between Mental Health and Substance Abuse?

Several studies show a strong relationship between mental health and substance abuse. Both the National Institute on Drug Abuse and the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration agree that a connection is present between the two issues. Quite often, when one problem is present, the other follows. While one of the disorders doesn’t necessarily have to come before the other, the most often cause of co-occurring disorders is self-medicating. Many individuals that struggle with their mental health find themselves abusing drugs to manage the symptoms of their mental health disorder.

Co-occurring disorders that lack proper diagnosis and treatment also leave individuals stuck in a never-ending cycle. Drugs and alcohol can worsen the symptoms of a mental health disorder, making a recovery feel hopeless and unachievable. If a person is unaware of their mental illness, using drugs and alcohol can bring those symptoms to the forefront.

While any combination of the two disorders can be present, some common combinations include the following:

  • Depression and alcohol- This combination tends to be present for one of two reasons. For some, the symptoms of their depression cause them to reach for alcohol to feel better. For others, the consistent consumption of alcohol spurs the symptoms of depression. This happens due to the depressive effects that the substance has on the brain.
  • Anxiety and benzodiazepines- Benzodiazepines are prescriptions for the treatment of anxiety. However, when individuals misuse their prescriptions, addiction forms. Those who fail to receive a proper diagnosis and prescription from a doctor will turn to other means to buy the drugs to self-medicate.
  • PTSD and opioids- Individuals who have post-traumatic stress disorder tend to turn to opioids to manage or numb specific symptoms of the disorder. Self-medication to stop their anxiety, insomnia, or flashbacks are quite common. The disorder can also increase a person’s want to participate in harmful or destructive behavior, which can include misusing drugs.

Help is Available Through CLARE|MATRIX

At CLARE|MATRIX, we understand the relationship between mental health and substance abuse. We’re proud to bring the Hub and Spoke system to the Los Angeles area to give those in need a safe and welcoming space to recover and heal. In doing so, numerous outpatient rehab treatment centers in Los Angeles are available for those struggling with their mental health and substance abuse. CLARE|MATRIX also provides a full continuum of care for clients with the additional available programs:

If you’re struggling with your mental health and substance abuse and are ready to turn your life around, it’s time to turn to CLARE|MATRIX. Talk with your healthcare provider and call us today at 866.452.5273.

If you’re interested in becoming a local area Spoke, contact the CLARE|MATRIX Hub today at 323.938.8187.