There are many reasons why people indulge in drug and substance abuse. It could be lack of proper parenting, peer pressure, genetic predisposition, experimentation, poverty or even as a means to cope. A means to cope? Yes, let me explain. Have you ever noticed that there is a correlation between drug abuse and mental illness? A good majority of people who suffer mental illness tend to abuse drugs. The correlation between drugs and mental illness is referred to as a comorbidity. A comorbid is an illness that co-occurs with another. Comorbidity, therefore, refers to a situation whereby two or more illnesses co-occur in the same body.
Drug abuse is common with individuals who suffer anxiety disorders, depression; trauma-related disorders, personality disorders, sleep disorders and bipolar disorder. The most common among individuals who use and abuse drugs tend to be suffering trauma-related disorders which include Reactive Attachment Disorder, Disinhibited Social Engagement Disorder, Adjustment Disorders, Acute Stress Disorder (ASD) and Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD).
Allow me to give a few definitions from the above statements. Trauma is a serious shock to the body as from violence or an accident. Acute Stress Disorder is a disorder that develops within the first few weeks of experiencing a traumatic event. If not treated within one month one may develop Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. Therefore, if we would define Post Traumatic Stress Disorder it would be a prolonged effect on the trauma that has developed into immense stress and rendered one unable to cope. A trauma may involve hearing the news of someone’s death, witnessing someone’s death, being involved in an accident or an act of violence such as a beating or rape – in short, a crisis.
The question then is, why do people use drug abuse as a means to cope? The answer is simply because they do not know how to cope and hence resort to drug abuse as a means to cope. Therefore, if this is the case there is a need to teach people how to handle trauma before it actually occurs. There is a need to teach people how to handle grief or any form of crisis to avoid a rise in cases of trauma as well as drug and substance abuse.
There is a need to deal with mental illness because of the fact that it brings about many other complications. It causes one to indulge in reckless and unlawful behaviour, sleep and eating disorders develop, people, begin to isolate themselves and lose interest in activities that make up their life, they develop psychosomatic problems, (physical problems that develop because of psychological problems) or drug and substance abuse, which has widely been discussed in this article.
In conclusion, let us educate people about mental illness because a majority of people have predispositions to mental illnesses considering how they live their lives. Therefore, let us teach people how to deal with a crisis before it happens. It could save someone from a lifelong psychological illness. Remember prevention is better than cure.