Relationship between Mental Illness and Drug Use

1418 words (6 pages) Essay in Psychology

18/05/20 Psychology Reference this

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Mental Illness and Substance Use

 This paragraph is a description in my own words about why I chose my research essay on mental illness and substance use. Myself as a young girl experienced a very traumatic experience that no girl my age or any age for that matter should ever have to experience. My trauma is sexually based and that event caused me many, many issues for years to come. Though I am so very thankful that my trauma never lead me to drug addiction, it did however start me on the path of alcoholism. It paved the way for me becoming so intoxicated that I couldn’t remember a thing waking up the next day. It put me in dangerous positions with men and if I am being truthful with myself, has led to multiple cases of rape. I find myself very lucky to have found help and guidance when I did. Through many sessions and hours of cognitive behavioral therapy where I had to face the truth, admit that what happened wasn’t my fault, and self-forgiveness I am standing here today. My trauma is the reason I want to become a nurse, specifically, a psychiatric nurse. So that maybe I will be able to make a difference in someone’s life. No matter how tiny, if I can show someone that they’re not alone, they can reach out for help, and their cries of help will not fall on deaf ears then I can honestly say that is my purpose in this life.

Mental Disorder

 The DSM-IV is a diagnostic and statistical manual for mental disorders.

A mental disorder is defined as per the DSM- IV as, “ the concept of mental disorder, like many other concepts in medicine and science, lacks a consistent operational definition that covers all situations. “ (pg. xxx introduction). When someone an inpatient facility they have what is called a principal diagnosis and that is defined per the DSM-IV as, “ the condition established after study to be chiefly responsible for occasioning the admission of the individual. “ (pg. 3).  Mental disorders are diagnosed by meeting or not certain criteria and multiple diagnosis can be reported in a multiaxial fashion or in a nonaxial fashion. The DSM-IV has a section called. “ Frequently Used Criteria “ and it is used to exclude other diagnoses and to suggest differential diagnoses. This section states, “ most of the criteria sets presented in this manual include exclusion criteria that are most necessary to establish boundaries between disorders and to clarify differential diagnoses. “ (pg. 5). The different criteria separate the difference in diagnoses for mental disorders, substance-induced disorders, and for a mental disorder due to a general medical condition. What I am trying to do here, is, briefly summarize what a mental disorder can be defined as and what medical professionals use as a guideline to diagnose a mental disorder.

Substance-Induced Disorders

 A substance-induced disorder criterion is defined by the DSM-IV as, “ is often difficult to determine whether presenting symptomatology is substance induced, that is, the direct physiological consequence of substance intoxication, or withdrawal, medication use, or toxin exposure.” (pg. 7). A substance-induced disorder is caused from substance dependence, which is defined by the DSM-IV as, “ a cluster of cognitive, behavioral, and physiological symptoms indicating that the individual continues use of the substance despite significant substance-related problems. “ (pg. 192). There is an array of substance-induced disorders such as substance-induced psychotic disorder, substance-induced anxiety disorder, and substance-induced delirium to name a few from the DSM-IV (pg. 209). In the section Criteria for Substance Dependence in the DSM-IV it states the following, “ A maladaptive pattern of substance use, leading to clinically significant impairment or distress, as manifested by three (or more) of the following, occurring at any time in the same 12-month period:

  1. Tolerance, as defined by either of the following: a need for markedly increased amounts of the substance to achieve intoxication or desired effect.
  2. Withdrawal, as manifested by either of the following: the same (or a closely related) substance is taken to relieve or avoid withdrawal symptoms.
  3. The substance is often taken in larger amounts or over a longer period than was intended. “ (pg. 197).

 The link between mental disorders and substance use. In the previous paragraphs I gave a little insight about what a mental disorder is, how a mental disorder is diagnosed, what a substance-induced disorder is, how a substance-induced disorder is diagnosed, and now I will show you why not only myself but the DSM-IV, different doctors who have done extensive research, and articles I have found that validate my belief that substance abuse and mental illness are very closely linked. I found a few articles about different mental disorders linked with substance use disorders. To start here is an article about schizophrenia and substance use disorder. “ SUD is closely associated with schizophrenia. “ (8)  Frankenburg,              F.              R.              (2018,              March              16). “ Patients with schizophrenia may be attempting to manage the negative symptoms or motor adverse effects of antipsychotic medications by abusing substances. “ (6) Bridgman, A., Ouellete-Plamondon, C., Morozova, M., & George, T. P. (2013). Here is another article I found about Bipolar Disorder and substance use disorder. “ Substance abuse (SA; also called substance use disorder [SUD]), including abuse of alcohol, illicit drugs, prescription medications, and other substances (e.g., gasoline, glue), is closely associated with bipolar disorder. “ (2) American Psychiatric Association.              (2013). Substance-related and addictive disorders. “ Few researchers have evaluated functioning among persons with comorbid BD and SA disorder. One of the group investigators found that patients with both conditions experienced more severe impairment in overall functioning and interpersonal functioning than patients with BD alone. “ (3) Cardosa Tde, A., Mondin, T. C., Souza, L. D., da Silva, R. A., Magalhaes, P. V., Kapczinski, F., & Jansen, K. (2015). Functioning in bipolar disorder with substance abuse/dependence in a community sample of young adults.


 The purpose for my essay was to give a little insight about the comorbidity of mental disorders and substance use disorders and how they go hand in hand for most disorders. I wish I could have gone into all of the different mental disorders and their association with drug use. In my honest opinion, I believe that people with mental disorders often use illicit drugs or alcohol to cope with their illness or cope with the negative side effects of the prescription medication has. It all simply comes down to one honest to goodness fact, everyone wants to feel some type of normalcy. I hope this research essay was both informative and interesting to my readers.


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