Mental Health

What to Expect: The Effects of Addiction on Mental Health

Mental illness is not something that is easily explained. It is both complex and dynamic, and it manifests in a variety of ways in different people. Mental illness can be caused by several factors, including genetics, stress, personal history, and exposure to specific triggers. We now know that addiction dramatically increases the risk of developing mental illness.

In fact, it has been found that almost a quarter of all people with a mental illness have also been diagnosed with an addiction. Whether you are suffering from addiction or know someone who is, the effects on your mental health will probably be significant.

Whether you are suffering from addiction or know someone who is, the effects on your mental health will probably be significant.

Increased risk of severe depression

Depression is one of the most common mental illnesses, with one in five people experiencing it in their lifetime. While it is a treatable condition, it can also be extremely debilitating and lead to significant problems in all areas of a person’s life. Studies have found that people with a substance use disorder are nine times more likely to experience depression than those without.

In some cases, depression in someone with a substance use disorder can be so severe that it is debilitating. The severity of depression in a person with an addiction will depend on several factors, including the specific type of addiction they have, the substance they are using, their dosage, and the length of time they have been using.

At the risk of increased isolation

As addiction progresses, the person experiencing it will likely become more and more isolated from their support network. This is because they will have to spend time away from loved ones to use their substance. It can also be because the person’s mental state is so chaotic that they cannot function normally in society.

People experiencing addiction are at a much higher risk of developing social anxiety. They may feel too anxious or depressed to engage in conversation or struggle to focus on what is happening at the moment due to cognitive distortions. Social anxiety is a condition that causes a person to be highly uncomfortable in social situations. This often leads to isolation as the person with the disease will actively avoid social interaction as much as possible.


People experiencing addiction are at a significantly increased risk of developing anxiety disorders. Anxiety disorders are prevalent mental illnesses, with one in five people experiencing an anxiety disorder in their lifetime. Unfortunately, anxiety disorders are often misunderstood.

Many people think anxiety is simply feeling a bit nervous, but it is much more. Anxiety disorders are severe and debilitating conditions that prevent a person from properly functioning in their day-to-day lives. There are many different types of anxiety disorders, but the two most commonly found in people experiencing addiction are generalized anxiety disorder and social anxiety disorder.



It is evident that addiction causes great harm to both the person suffering from it and those around them. However, the adverse effects on mental health can be overlooked, which is why it is essential to discuss them.

If you or someone you love is experiencing the impact of addiction on mental health, it is necessary to seek help and recovery therapy as soon as possible. With the right treatment plan in place, these effects can be managed, and the person can start to move forward with their life.


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TWL Working Mom

Jennifer is the owner of TWL Working Moms. She is a full time teacher, a mom & step mom, and NBCT Facilitator. Jennifer lives in Washington State and is a born + raised New Yorker. In her spare time, she loves traveling, yoga, the beach, writing, listening to books and drinking coffee.

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