Sept. 12, 2022 – Substance use disorders often accompany other mental illnesses. Half of people with a substance use disorder have another mental illness at some point, and vice-versa.

For many people, drug and alcohol problems begin as self-medication: using substances to cope with temporary stress or to manage symptoms of chronic mental health problems they may not even know they have. Substance use, particularly alcohol, can be a socially accepted way of dealing with negative emotions.

Surveys show alcohol use rose during the COVID-19 pandemic, including increased use by stressed parents. Research has also tied problem alcohol use in college students to self-treatment of social anxiety. Similarly, people with untreated depression might discover that opioids or stimulants temporarily boost their mood and use them for that purpose.


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