Many people assume that getting clean from drugs is easy because the addicts simply need to make a decision to stop using drugs. That isn’t always the case, though. Addiction to drugs is both mental and physical. It can be difficult to overcome the physical side of addiction due to the withdrawal symptoms that occur, but it is possible for people to do on their own. The thing that makes sobriety so difficult is the mental addiction that people have to the drugs.

Many people use drugs to self-medicate for a mental health condition that they may or may not know that they have. Many people in the United States are battling a mental health issue without even realizing it. Being diagnosed with a mental health condition and having it treated properly is essential when it comes to long term addiction recovery. The following guide walks you through a few ways that mental health conditions can affect someone who is trying to get clean from drugs.


Depression is a mental health condition that is often taken lightly. People don’t realize that it isn’t something that occurs for a short period of time and then goes away forever. Someone battling depression may show few signs to those around them, but often feel the extreme worthlessness and hopelessness that comes with depression even if no one can see it. Depression causes people to feel a lack of energy and a decrease in motivation to do things. Depressed individuals often have difficulty concentrating on tasks because their brain is occupied by other things.

It can cause someone to have changes in their appetite where they eat very little or they eat all of the time to try to fill the void they feel inside of themselves. Depression can be treated in many different ways, but finding the right treatment option requires someone to seek professional mental health treatment. Being able to feel euphoric for even just a short period of time is something that people suffering from depression crave. Many people use drugs in order to mask their mental health conditions and being able to not feel sad or overwhelmed makes drug use very appealing to many depressed individuals.


Anxiety is a mental health condition that can be debilitating. When someone feels manic, like their life is spiraling out of control or like they can’t get a grasp on things, they often suffer from anxiety. Many people think that in order for someone to be suffering from anxiety there has to be factors that cause them to have an anxiety attack. That isn’t the case, though. There are many people who suffer from anxiety who live in a constant state of worry and restlessness. The worry causes them to have a very difficult time sleeping, which impacts their ability to function well in their daily life.

Anxiety also causes muscle tension because their body cannot relax from the restlessness. Worrying so much can cause someone to be very irritable because they are already worrying about things and adding anything to their plate can seem overwhelming and unbearable. Being able to stop worrying about everything is imperative to someone battling anxiety. Drug use often comes into play when someone feels so overwhelmed that they are willing to try anything to calm their racing mind. They may try taking a drug once or twice and become addicted to the peace and calm that it gives them.

Bipolar Disorder

Bipolarism is more common than you may think. It causes someone to have extreme fluctuations in their mood. One minute they can seem happy go lucky. They seem like nothing can get them down and the next they are crying in the corner because they feel as though the world is ending. Many people who are bipolar are battling manic tendencies.

Someone with bipolarism is often very impulsive because they have to get things done right away instead of thinking about what they are doing before they do it and the possible repercussions for the decisions that they make. They often set unattainable goals because the goals seem totally realistic in their mind. Some of the drugs that people become addicted to soften the mania and make daily life seem more approachable. The drugs often calm them so that they can sleep, make them not feel as overwhelmed by everything going on in their daily life and can make them feel as though they are happier than they really are.


PTSD, or post-traumatic stress disorder, occurs after a traumatic event in someone’s life. It can cause them to act irrationally to certain events in their life simply due to the traumatic things that they experienced. Sleeplessness, manic tendencies, and irritability are all common with PTSD sufferers. Drugs are commonly used to try to mask the anxiety that the PTSD causes. It’s common for soldiers coming back from war to become addicted to drugs because they are scarred from the things that they did or saw while they were in battle. Using drugs allows them to sleep through the night terrors they may experience or helps them to feel joy and happiness that may be difficult for them to experience without the drug use.

When someone goes into professional treatment for addiction recovery, they are able to treat both the mental and physical addiction to the drugs. They meet with a counselor who can diagnose conditions they may not even know they have. The addict can then learn different ways that their condition can be treated that doesn’t involve dangerous drugs.

It will take time for the person to see a difference in the way that they feel, but once they have their mental condition under control, it will be much easier for them to stick to their sobriety and live a cleaner life. Inpatient and outpatient treatment are available to help addicts handle their mental health conditions in proactive ways. They need to take control of their mental health if they are going to have the best future that they possibly can.

Talk to Someone Who’s Been There. Talk to Someone Who Can Help. Scottsdale Recovery Center® holds the highest accreditation (Joint Commission) and is Arizona’s premier rehab facility since 2009. Call 602-346-9142.