Does Mental Health Play a Role in Addiction?

Mental illness encompasses a broad range of health conditions that affect a person’s emotions, mood, thinking, and behavior to the degree that it negatively impacts their daily functioning. It can be acute, coming on quickly and lasting for a short time, or chronic, where symptoms are long-lasting and persistent. There is clear evidence to support the notion that mental illness and addiction often overlap and are frequently intertwined. Research shows that millions of Americans suffer from a dual issue that requires co-occurring disorder treatment. If you have a mental health issue and are unsure if you also suffer from addiction, taking an addiction self-assessment can help. While not intended to diagnose, this tool is a good way to explore your substance use.

At Spokane Falls Recovery Center, we understand the connections between mental health and addiction and offer a co-occurring capable program. After using our online addiction self-assessment tool, call us at 844.962.2775 for a clinical evaluation to help determine your needs.

Common Risk Factors for Mental Health Disorders and Addiction

Mental illness and substance use disorder are both chronic diseases of the brain. Many people who suffer from addiction also have an underlying mental health disorder and vice versa. Additionally, the effects of each tend to worsen the impact of the other. In an individual with an addiction, the brain becomes rewired by the presence of the substance(s) being abused, causing it to function differently. The same areas of the brain that are impacted by addiction are also impacted by mental illnesses like depression, bipolar disorder, and anxiety. This is a key factor in why the two are so interconnected.

Mental health issues and addiction can have common social, biological, and psychological elements, thus they share common risk factors like:

  • Family history
  • Childhood abuse and/or neglect
  • Trauma
  • Stressful life situations
  • Lack of healthy relationships
  • Genetics

Because of the similarities in and frequent overlap of the symptoms of mental health and substance use disorders, those who seek treatment are often misdiagnosed. Of the millions of individuals suffering from a co-occurring disorder, less than 10 percent receive treatment for both, and almost 60 percent receive no treatment at all. A person with untreated, under-treated, or undiagnosed co-occurring disorders will often face significant difficulties in their daily life. They are at higher risk for impulsive or violent acts, self-harm, and even suicide. However, with the correct diagnoses and treatment programs, individuals with co-occurring disorders can learn to manage their symptoms and lead healthy, productive, fulfilling lives.

Mental Health and Addiction Treatment Programs

The stigma associated with mental illness often results in people feeling too ashamed to seek professional help, so they turn to drugs and alcohol as self-medication to cope with their emotional pain. This seems to be especially true with individuals who have experienced trauma that is difficult to discuss, as with sexual assault or combat, that often leads to the development of PTSD. Addiction and PTSD are among the most common co-occurring disorders.

Research points out that co-occurring disorders need to be treated simultaneously through an integrated treatment plan designed to meet each individual’s needs.

Spokane Falls Recovery Center has a treatment team that is highly experienced in being able to accurately screen for co-occurring disorders during our evaluation process. Our integrated approach to individualized care includes evidence-based treatents like:


If you or a loved one is ready to take the first step towards lasting recovery, it’s time to reach out to Spokane Falls Recovery Center. Our team is ready to help you through the insurance verification process and admissions process. For questions, please contact Spokane Falls Recovery Center today at 844.962.2772. We’re ready to make this process as easy as possible so you can begin treatment and start living a healthier, fuller life.