Mental Health Medications on the Rise
Are addicts using mental health medications in place of drugs when they are not needed? In active addiction, addicts will often look for drugs and alcohol to self-medicate unwanted feelings. Which came first the mood disorder or the addiction? This is a question that continues to be asked by professionals and addicts alike.
In Stahl’s Essential Psychopharmacology: Neuroscientific Basis and Practical Application he states, “Up to six prescriptions per second, around the clock and around the year, are said to be written for SSRI’s (serotonin selective reuptake inhibitors). SSRI’s are most commonly prescribed for depression and anxiety disorders. We know that some of the behaviors of addiction are to fix the circumstances (whether external or internal) with the use of drugs and alcohol.
Depression and anxiety are two of the most common disorders that are diagnosed in those that suffer from addiction. The National Institute of Drug Abuse collected data from the 1980’s that indicated those with mental illness are more likely to suffer from substance abuse and addiction. Again, it is extremely difficult to determine which came first.
Be aware of attempting to medicate feelings away that seem unfamiliar to you because of time spent in active addiction. It is important to listen to the recommendations of addiction treatment staff that spend quality time with you regarding how to address mental health issues.