Home Uncategorised Drug use and mental health

Drug use and mental health




The Government has announced a massive $1.9 billion package over five years across a range of portfolios including health, education, corrections, justice and housing. All aimed at trying to fix our appalling stats in this area.

Mental illness is common among people who struggle with substance abuse and addiction. 48.1% received treatment for either their mental health disorder or their addiction. This means that roughly half of the adults with co-occurring disorders did not receive either type of treatment. Only an estimated 6.9% of adults with mental illness and substance abuse disorder received the mental health and substance abuse care they needed that year.

Studies have found that among individuals with non-alcohol substance use disorders, 28% had co-occurring anxiety disorders, 26% had mood disorders, 18% had antisocial personality disorder, and 7% suffered from schizophrenia. Unfortunately, while the prevalence of co-occurring disorders among those seeking substance abuse treatment is high, the number of programs equipped to treat co-occurring conditions may not match the need for this kind of treatment. While many substance abuse treatment programs are able to additionally address some relatively mild forms of mood, anxiety, and personality disorders, there is evidence to suggest that these same programs may be reluctant or ill-equipped to manage individuals with severe mental illness. Correspondingly, the mental health system, while adept at treating cases of severe and chronic mental illness, may not be equipped to address the treatment of concurrent substance use disorders. This is extremely unfortunate, as an individual with co-occurring disorders is generally seen as “continuously at risk for relapse.” Comprehensive treatment and adequate after care may help to reduce some of this risk. One study found that, among patients with moderate-to-high severity dual diagnosis disorders, treatment outcomes were improved when their drug abuse treatment was supplemented with targeted mental health care.

Is Drug Addiction a Mental Illness?

The answer to whether drug addiction qualifies as a mental illness is yes. Here’s why: addiction results in distinct brain changes and can disrupt a person’s “hierarchy of needs and desires,” leading them to prioritize drug use above all else. A person’s ability to control their compulsion to use substances becomes significantly diminished as these brain changes occur, which can promote continued drug or alcohol use despite knowledge of the harm it is causing. The compulsive behaviors associated with substance use disorders (addictions) bear similarities to other mental illnesses.

Substance abuse often occurs with other mental illnesses. Many people who regularly abuse drugs or alcohol are diagnosed with other mental health issues at some point. Studies show that people who are diagnosed with mood or anxiety disorders are nearly twice as likely to have a substance use disorder compared to the general public.

The same goes for antisocial personality or conduct disorder. People diagnosed with these types of disorders are more likely to abuse substances. In addition, gender plays a factor in the prevalence of co-occurring disorders. For example, males are more likely to be diagnosed with antisocial personality disorder, while women are more likely to suffer from mood or anxiety disorders.

In some cases, it is difficult to know what came first—the substance abuse or the mental health disorder. It can also be difficult or impossible to determine causality; even if the symptoms of one condition appeared first, it may not have caused the other. What is known is that it is relatively common for people to self-medicate mental health symptoms with substances. Also, substance abuse may worsen or bring about symptoms of mental illness. For example, marijuana has been shown to increase the risk of psychosis for some users.

Research also suggests that adolescents who use drugs are more vulnerable to developing an addiction or mental health disorder. When a person is young, important parts of their brain, such as their prefrontal cortex, are still maturing. Exposing a still-developing brain to certain drugs can have harmful and long-lasting effects.3

The wellbeing budget has allocated huge amounts of taxpayer monies to try and fix this problem. Nothing is going to change until we remove the drug dealing scum from our midst.


    • I’m calling bullshit to Nicotine being hard to give up. I have no great reserve of will power yet I went cold turkey after thirty-three years smoking at least twenty-five cigs a day. It was not hard at all.



      • …..”It was not hard at all.”…..

        Which, since unlike nicotine, marijuana didn’t even make the list, would tend to suggest that marijuana addiction is either non-existent or inconsequential. In any case addiction experts say:

        ” Marijuana withdrawal symptoms peak within the first week of quitting and can last up to two weeks.
 Symptoms of marijuana withdrawal can include: irritability, 
difficulty sleeping,
 decreased appetite
, restlessness
, cravings for marijuana
, nausea
, abdominal pain”.

        I’ve had doses of the flu with worse symptons……..”totally fuck things up by liberalising drug laws” my arse!



  1. And throw easily obtainable legal substances into the mix. Why the COL believe making drugs more readily available is going to help to prevent drug abuse and more importantly, mental health issues is beyond me. Beware the human factors of over-indulgence narcissism and disinterest in taking responsibility for ones self.

    Many of those suffering from anxiety and depression is from a feeling of lack of control of one’s life. Feeling desperate that you are not happy and wanting someone to ‘rescue’ you from drudgery and lack of financial freedom. Guess what, nobody is going to rescue you from your life, only you can do that, but too many drugs and alcohol will make your life less productive and more chaotic, causing more anxiety and more depression. Not a good mix.



  2. I really wonder if throwing money at this problem is the answer.
    Surely we need to ask why the hell there are so many problems out there and what is causing them.
    A few years ago I was suffering from something that ended up being anxiety related to an anaphylactic episode where I essentially died.
    By chance I met a doctor who recognised it because she dealt in cognitive behaviour.
    It opened up a new world to me and I have been lucky.
    But our brains are very hard to understand and life has become so complicated.I think what politicians have done to our society through legislation could be at the root of many problems.For a start the welfare system .
    I can identify legislation that I believe is leading to suicide by some who are affected by it.

    Many, many questions need to be asked before money is thrown willy nilly .



    • Yes, they had nine years to think it through, instead of essentially eleven. if Labour had been making such enquiries when they were in opposition, I assume that is what they are meant to be doing? National seem to be.



  3. Drug addiction is NOT a mental health issue and I’m fucked if I should be paying for some junkie to clean up his or her act.
    Nobody (save for the few poor bastards who are born addicts thanks to their scum parents) is forced to take drugs. You’d have to be a complete moron not to know that drugs are bad for you yet somehow I am supposed to pay for these oxygen thieves to get clean.
    I’d happily step over a junkie lying in the gutter, if you choose to take that shit don’t expect me to pay for your rehab.



  4. We need to follow the bouncing ball while remembering the earlier advice to read between the lines. The first move was to can the public into believing that junkies are a health problem and not a legal problem. They are kidding right? Almost without exception the preferred substances have to be sourced from illegal suppliers. Funny seeing a phony list of the most addictive while ignoring pot also missed the most addictive of all. Opioids which take only a minuscule amount to get hooked but it can soon end very easily in death from an overdose as highs become more demanding of greater amounts.
    Now it has conveniently become not just a health issue but a mental health issue that help fuel the rapidly increasing numbers of people suffering mental health issues. There is no silver bullet no much how much money the COL throw at it then on the other promote policies to promote further drug use.
    Sure $1.9 billion is a massive figure but note it is a five year plan that we have already take time to ramp up like all the COL grand plans. But can anybody with hand on heart imagine they will achieve anything more then create a lot of new troughs to be a bigger draw-card for more hogs?



    • ……” Funny seeing a phony list of the most addictive while ignoring pot also missed the most addictive of all. Opioids”…..

      You must have left your ability to comprehend English on the bedside table this morning!

      …….”1) Heroin”…..



    • To the detriment of the populace. It may spike and then calm down, but why worry about it, what is legalizing it going to achieve? No-one goes to prison for possession of a bit of dope. Should it go on a police record and stop you getting a job? Were you going to get one anyway?



  5. I Know someone who was addicted to P….fucked him up..until he found his inner mental strength and kicked its arse. (With a fair bit of familial support)

    Oh.. and I never said it was easy, but is doable.

    Yeah it screwed with his mind…and it has made him pretty bloody intense…but he is smart, clever, ingenious and fully independent…the last thing he would want is taxpayer handouts.



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