Dealing With Alcoholism And A Mental Health Disorder

Dealing With Alcoholism And A Mental Health Disorder

People who have a problem when it comes to alcoholism also often have a mental health disorder along with it. This is very common because people with mental health disorders are more likely to turn to substance abuse as a form of self-medication and develop alcohol dependence.


When people have a co-occurring mental disorder and substance abuse problem is usually called a dual diagnosis. This two problems can fuel each other in a very unhealthy cycle. Other names for this type of problem include:

–    Dually diagnosed

–    Co-occurring disorder

–    Co-morbid disorder

–    Comorbidity

–    Concurrent disorders

–    Multiple disorders

About 7.9 million adults in America are diagnosed with both a mental illness and substance abuse disease. Alcohol is the most common substance to abuse for people who also have a mental illness. That’s because it is legal, easy access, and cheap.

Having to deal with a mental illness can be complicated. It can make life feel like a struggle and so they use alcohol to help cope with the symptoms of their mental illness.

Having a mental disorder can, of course, making quitting drinking especially harder. For the average person, it might actually be easier to quit than those with a dual diagnosis.

Common Dual Diagnosis Conditions With Alcohol

Drinking alcohol can make depression worse, but it can also cause other mental health conditions to pop up for the first time. Yes, drinking can make you far more likely to develop a mental health condition.

Some of the mental health disorders more likely to appear from abusing alcohol include:

–    attention disorders,

–    mood disorders

–    personality disorders

–    PTSD


About 1 in 6 people experience depression at least once in their lifetime. That means you probably know someone who has suffered from depression at some point. If someone seems always to be sad, they may try to drink to lift their spirits, but that can have dire consequences.

Alcohol is a depressant which means it slows your central nervous system down. It can also block important hormones that can bring you pleasure or happiness and just worsen your depression.


This is a pretty upsetting condition because it can cause you to constantly feel worried about simple things that shouldn’t make you so upset. It can keep you from living a normal and happy life. You don’t feel at ease in a lot of situations which makes life hard.

Alcohol is known for relaxing people and bringing about self-confidence which can seem magical to those with anxiety. Of course, over time it most likely will just make your anxiety worse.

Studies have shown that continually drinking alcohol can make people more likely to develop an anxiety disorder.

Bipolar Disorder

This illness is also known as a manic depressive disorder because that’s what it does. Bipolar disorder causes people to have very heavy highs and lows in the form of manic or depressive episodes. In some people, these can lead to some extremely psychotic episode that disrupt their life.

Alcohol can actually make the symptoms of bipolar disorder even worse and make episodes more likely. It is not recommended for people with bipolar to drink alcohol.

Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder

PTSD is a common illness that develops after people have experienced something traumatic or life-changing. This could be something like a car accident, a robbery, childhood trauma, death, or something like combat in war.

People with PTSD may drink in an attempt to forget their fears and harmful memories. Instead of helping, drinking can just lead to an addiction which can make the signs and symptoms of PTSD even worse.