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Alcohol Addiction And Mental Health


Medically Reviewed by Dr. Mohammed Saeed, MD.

It is common for substance use disorders and mental health disorders to go hand-in-hand, and alcohol addiction is no exception. Mental health conditions may simultaneously occur alongside alcohol abuse or develop as a result of an addiction. 

In fact, “anxiety, depression, and other psychiatric disorders” are more common among those with alcohol addiction, including disorders such as:

  • Depressive
  • Anxiety
  • Trauma-related
  • Stress-related
  • Additional substance use
  • Sleep
  • Psychotic

It is important to address alcohol addiction and co-occurring mental health disorders simultaneously, as they will likely feed into one another, bringing their own challenges to the overall recovery process.

What is Alcohol Addiction?

Alcohol addiction, also known as alcohol use disorder (AUD), is “a medical condition characterized by an impaired ability to stop or control alcohol use despite adverse social, occupational, or health consequences.”

According to reported deaths between 2020-2021 provided by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), around 178,000 Americans die from excessive alcohol use every year, shortening lives by an average of 23 years, commonly occurring in adult males 35 years or older.

Is Alcoholism A Form Of Mental Illness?

Alcohol use disorder (AUD) is considered by the DSM-5 to be a mental disorder that presents both physically and mentally. Because alcohol significantly affects the brain, it is common for those with AUD to also develop other mental health disorders or exacerbate disorders already present.

How Does Alcohol Affect Mental Health?

According to the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, there are a few explanations for the relationship between alcohol addiction and co-occurring mental health disorders:

  • “Pre-existing psychiatric disorders may increase the risk of developing AUD, in part because alcohol is often used to cope with symptoms of psychiatric disorders…”
  • “Alcohol use… may predispose individuals to develop psychiatric disorders.”
  • “AUD and other psychiatric disorders often share genetic risks and environmental vulnerabilities such as trauma and adverse childhood experiences.”

What Percent of Alcoholics Have a Mental Health Disorder?

The National Survey on Drug Use and Health reports that in 2020, 17 million American adults had both a “mental illness and a substance use disorder.”

According to the National Alliance on Mental Illness in 2010, about “50% of individuals with severe mental disorders are affected by some form of substance abuse or dependence.”

As it pertains to alcohol, “[37%] of people who are dependent upon or abuse alcohol… also have at least one serious mental illness.”

What Mental Illness Do Most Alcoholics Have?

There are a wide range of mental illnesses that more commonly accompany AUD, including:

  • Generalized Anxiety Disorder
  • Social Anxiety Disorder
  • Panic Disorder
  • Major Depressive Disorder
  • Bipolar Disorder
  • Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)
  • Schizophrenia

Treatment for Alcohol Addiction and Mental Health Disorders

Given how often alcohol addiction and mental illness coincide, we offer dual-diagnosis treatment that considers both the addiction and the mental health condition of the patient, leaving no stone left unturned for the greatest chance at overall successful and lasting treatment.

What is Dual Diagnosis Treatment?

Our counseling team, led by our onsite medical director, brings decades of mental health treatment experience to all of our rehabilitation programs, ensuring that both body and mind are being treated in the recovery process.

Our treatment programs include:

  • On-Site Medical Detox
  • Residential Treatment
  • Intensive Outpatient (IOP)
  • Extended Care

Into Action Recovery Centers Offers Treatment for Substance Abuse and Mental Health Disorders

We strive to help everyone, even if that means giving you a referral to a treatment provider better equipped to meet your needs. If you or a loved one are suffering from a dual diagnosis, give us a call at 844-694-3576 for a free assessment.

Dr. Mohammed Saeed, MD.

Dr. Saeed is a psychiatry specialist with over 40 years of experience in the medical field. He received training in General Psychiatry at the University of Texas Medical Branch, where he was selected as the Medical Director of the Division of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry. He currently serves as the medical director at Into Action Recovery Centers. Full Bio 

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