Alcohol and drug abuse have serious, both short- and long-term, consequences on mental health. Furthermore, they may lead to life-threatening complications.
Combining certain substances can increase your vulnerability to mental health conditions like anxiety, depression and schizophrenia; plus they make treating these conditions more challenging.
Increased Risk of Mental Disorders
Alcohol and drug abuse can lead to a variety of mental health issues, such as anxiety, depression, bipolar disorder, schizophrenia, eating disorders, ADHD and personality disorders. The symptoms associated with these mental illnesses can be difficult to manage and may lead to relapse or other negative outcomes.
People living with mental illnesses are often prescribed drugs to try and manage their symptoms; this practice, known as self-medication, carries the risk of developing a dual diagnosis – meaning they have both mental illness and substance use issues.
Research has demonstrated that children of parents with a substance abuse problem are at higher risk for developing mental health conditions like depression, anxiety, ADHD and schizophrenia. Furthermore, studies have linked substance abuse with an increased likelihood of child abuse and neglect.
People who abuse drugs and alcohol often experience low self-esteem due to their substance abuse. This is a widespread issue that can lead to depression, anxiety, and other mental health issues.
Self-esteem is the belief in yourself as a worthy individual, which can be an essential factor when faced with life’s obstacles and stresses.
Low self-esteem can have far reaching consequences on both physical health and quality of life.
Self-esteem can be affected by your social relationships, how you see yourself, what type of clothes you wear and what activities you enjoy doing. Spending time with supportive, understanding people will improve how good you feel about yourself.
Decreased Social Interactions
Alcohol and drug abuse can lead to a variety of mental health issues. These may include depression, anxiety and attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD).
Alcohol and drug abuse can also lead to feelings of isolation and social withdrawal, making it harder for individuals to form meaningful connections with others and communicate effectively with family members.
Many young people with substance use problems also struggle with coexisting mental health issues, known as comorbidity or dual diagnosis. These disorders usually manifest simultaneously and often overlap with the substance use disorder itself.
Increased Risk of Injuries
People who are under the influence of alcohol or other drugs often end up getting hurt because their judgment, vision, and coordination are impaired. This puts them at a greater risk for injury that could last for the rest of their lives.
Alcohol-induced injuries have a higher mortality risk than nonalcoholic injuries. For instance, those who sustain serious head trauma while drinking heavily are five times more likely to succumb within one year than people without substance use issues.
Under the influence of drugs such as GHB or flunitrazepam (known as “date rape”), those affected are more vulnerable to violence and sexual assault, falls, drowning and other injuries. This puts them at greater risk for physical and mental health complications like addiction, blackouts, seizures and death.
Increased Risk of Death
Alcohol is a highly addictive substance and poses risks when mixed with other substances. It has the potential to permanently harm organs such as the liver and heart, while also damaging brain and nervous system tissue.
Consuming excessive amounts of alcoholic beverages over an extended period is a leading cause of premature death in the United States, and has also been linked to various health conditions like cancer, stroke, heart disease and unintentional injuries.
Alcohol use carries a higher risk of death than older individuals, with the hazard rate being 2.6 times greater during the initial two weeks after discharge than subsequent intervals (Table 2). This difference was only seen among clients under twenty-one years old, and most fatalities were due to external causes.