Addiction And Mental Health

1454 Words6 Pages
There is a profound co-occurrence of addiction and mental illness. Both addiction and mental illness have life altering effects on those affected. Excessive drug usage undoubtedly damages one’s body. Dependency and the side effects of drugs (such as hallucinations and paranoia) create a strain on one’s psychological health while social conditions often deteriorate as the need for drug consumption needs exceed the need to maintain relationships. Similarly, individuals suffering from a mental health crisis not only experience psychological symptoms but many find their physical health affected (i.e. loss of appetite, sleep disturbances), along with their position in society due to anxiety, or stigma attached to the illness. Subsequently this student poised the question does mental illness lead to addictive behaviours, or is it extensive usage of addictive drugs that lead to mental health problems? This essay will first define addiction, then explore both sides of the argument and will finally suggest how these issues may be tackled in Ireland. The addictive substances examined will be alcohol and cannabis, while the main psychological conditions will be depression, schizophrenia and bipolarity. To complement this student’s degree there will be a focus on adolescents throughout this essay.

Addiction is a substantial problem across the globe; Compton et al. (2007) found that 7-10% of people will experience either abuse or dependence regarding illicit drugs within their lifetime. Addiction has been defined by the American Psychological Association (2014) as a condition in which the body must have a drug to avoid both physical and psychological withdrawal symptoms. Westreich (2009) argues the point that is not simply a pathological d...

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... health promotion in Ireland; particularly as studies shown Irish teens experience more mental disorders than their peers in other countries.

This essay explored whether mental illness was a trigger for engaging in addictive substances or whether excessive usage of said substances led to ill mental health. A detailed argument was presented by focussing on cannabis and alcohol dependence. It concludes that there is a link between addiction and mental illness, furthermore both may be considered a risk factor for the other. The attention throughout the essay was placed on adolescence, adolescent years were found to be the most vulnerable for both mental illness and substance abuse. This student feels resources need to be invested into promotion of positive mental health among Irish adolescents to reduce the risk of future addictive behaviours in the next generation.
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