Drugs and Alcohol Can Make Emotional Pain Worse: Here’s How

Using Drugs and Alcohol to Cope With Emotional Pain

One of the reasons why individuals use drugs and alcohol is to numb emotional pain and physical pain. Often when it comes to overwhelming emotional pain, individuals just want something to stop the pain. During these times of emotional turmoil, alcohol or drug use may seem like effective tools to reduce negative emotions immediately. However, using addictive substances to numb emotional pain can make things worse than helping it.

There is a close connection between substance abuse and mental health disorders because those with mental health issues such as depression and anxiety often use alcohol or drugs to self-medicate pain and trauma or simply feel relaxed after a stressful day. However, once the drugs and alcohol wear off, depression, anxiety, and other emotions are still there, if not worse, and they will use again to numb the pain. This process can cause a dangerous cycle of drug abuse that can lead to dependency and drug addiction.

For more information on how our addiction treatment programs can help heal drug or alcohol dependence, please give The River Source a call at 866-294-9331.

How Drugs and Alcohol Affect Your Brain

Drinking alcohol or doing drugs will enhance or deplete brain chemicals. Most of the brain chemicals or neurotransmitters are used to regulate your mental health. These substances may make you feel better in the moment, but you can feel worse the next day because it is messing with mechanisms that regulate emotions. Certain drugs will affect the brain’s reward system, and the brain will associate addictive substances with feelings of euphoria and wanting to use more. Repeated alcohol or drug abuse will cause the brain to become dependent on addictive substances to function correctly and cause withdrawal symptoms when substances are taken away. This process can lead to physical dependency and eventually drug addiction.

Emotional Impacts of Drugs and Alcohol

Alcohol and drug use, even one time, will have an impact on your brain. Ways that alcohol and drugs can cause mental health issues, including causing feelings of depression and anxiety, include:

  • Depleting brain chemicals that regulate mental health
  • It affects your sleep, which can exacerbate mental illness
  • Drug and alcohol abuse can be really tough on your overall health
  • Can intensity emotions like anger and frustration
  • It prevents you from developing healthy coping mechanisms
  • Excessive substance abuse can physically damage parts of your brain, leading to mental health illness and psychosis.

How to Break the Vicious Cycle

The best way to stop this vicious cycle of drug abuse and mental health disorders is by quitting drinking and doing drugs. If you have already become physically or mentally dependent, this can be difficult on your own. Reaching out to loved ones, a therapist, or an addiction recovery center can help you get substance abuse or addiction treatment. Addiction treatment centers can offer comprehensive treatment plans to treat your substance use disorders and any mental illness as well.

how drugs and alcohol make emotional pain worseTreatment for Mental Health and Substance Abuse

Treating drug addiction and mental health disorders is possible through dual diagnosis treatment. The River Source, located throughout Arizona, offers comprehensive treatment plans with dual diagnosis treatment. Substance use disorder treatment programs are personalized to each client and will be designed to treat your substance use severity. We can help treat co-occurring disorders like depression and anxiety and drug and alcohol abuse through individual therapy, such as cognitive behavioral therapy. You can leave our treatment center free of substance abuse and emotional pain. We also provide therapies aimed at helping you learn healthy coping mechanisms and design a lifestyle for yourself that will support your mental health so you can appropriately handle emotional pain in the future.

Please contact us at 866-294-9331 today if you or a loved one is struggling with addiction and co-occurring disorders. Our intake specialists can answer any questions or get you started on the road to recovery.

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