Full Project – Effects Of Drug Abuse On Mental Health

Full Project – Effects Of Drug Abuse On Mental Health

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Chapter One

Background to the Study

Drug abuse affects millions of people all over the world and is a major public health problem. Abuse of drugs raises the danger of developing long-term health issues like cardiovascular disease and liver damage, and even death. Almost 20% of U.S. adults had a substance use disorder in 2017 (Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration; SAMHSA; 2018), the latest year for which data is available.

Understanding the mental health effects of drug abuse is crucial for creating efficient treatment and prevention strategies. The influence of drug abuse on one’s psyche has been the subject of numerous studies. Degenhardt et al. (2013) conducted a study that found substance abuse to be a major risk factor for the emergence of mental health disorders like depression, anxiety, and schizophrenia.

Mokhber et al. (2015) found that a higher prevalence of psychiatric disorders like personality disorders, depression, and anxiety was associated with long-term drug abuse. Substance usage also has the potential to exacerbate preexisting mental health disorders. Substance abuse, for instance, has been linked to heightened anxiety in people who already suffer from this condition (Torrens et al., 2011).

However, a study by Kessler et al. (2005) found that people with substance use disorders were more likely to develop depression and anxiety than those without such disorders, highlighting the link between substance abuse and the emergence of new mental health disorders.

Memory loss and cognitive impairment are just two of the negative effects of drug abuse on mental health. Haug et al. (2014) found that cannabis use was linked to impaired cognitive performance, especially in the areas of attention, memory, and executive functions. In conclusion, substance misuse negatively affects mental health and can have serious physiological, social, and economic repercussions. It is crucial to develop effective prevention and treatment programs for substance abuse disorders that take into account the effects of drug abuse on mental health.

Healthcare providers and governments are increasingly worried about the effects of drug usage on people’s mental health. Over 38% of U.S. adults reported using illicit drugs in 2019, with that percentage rising rapidly among young adults aged 18-25 (NIDA, 2020). This emphasizes the critical nature of addressing the drug usage and its effects on mental health condition. Neurobiological anomalies, such as those caused by chronic drug usage, have been linked to the emergence of mental illnesses (Volkow & Koob, 2015). Dopamine, serotonin, and gamma-Aminobutyric acid (GABA) are just a few of the neurotransmitter systems that have been proven to be affected by drug use. These systems are responsible for mood regulation, reward processing, and stress response (Koob & Volkow, 2016).

Substance misuse has been linked to mood and anxiety disorders, as well as psychosis (Lopez-Munoz et al., 2016) because of its potential to disrupt these systems. There are a number of indirect effects of drug misuse on mental health in addition to the direct effects. Substance misuse is linked to issues in both personal and professional life, which in turn can lead to low self-esteem and mental health issues such sadness and anxiety (McLellan et al., 2014). Depression and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) are only two of the many mental health issues that can develop as a result of substance usage (Azarang & Farrokhi, 2014).

Substance misuse has a devastating effect on mental health and has far-reaching consequences for individuals, families, and communities. Over 9% of the US population aged 12 and up suffers from a substance use disorder, according to data compiled by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) (SAMHSA, 2019).

National Institute on Drug usage estimates that in 2019, drug usage cost society about $740 billion between medical bills, missed wages, and the price tag for keeping the law on the books. Substance abuse is a major concern in public health, yet many people who need help with an addiction can’t get it. Only 11% of those who needed treatment for substance abuse did so in 2019, per the SAMHSA report (SAMHSA, 2019).

Statement of the Problem

The negative effects of drug misuse on psychological well-being pose a serious public health hazard. Substance misuse has been associated with a wide range of adverse mental health consequences, including but not limited to depression, anxiety, psychosis, and suicide. Substance addiction can also make existing mental health problems worse and make treatment more challenging.

Drug misuse is a huge problem because of the many negative effects it has on people’s bodies and minds. Maladaptive drug use patterns that cause considerable impairments or suffering in social, vocational, or other aspects of functioning characterize individuals with substance use disorders (Volkow & Koob, 2015). Anxiety, sadness, suicidality, psychosis, and cognitive impairment are only some of the mental health issues that have been linked to drug misuse (De Giorgi et al., 2012).

The problem and its detrimental effects endure in part because people cannot get the help they need. The effects of substance addiction on mental health are substantial, encompassing a wide range of issues like depression, anxiety, and cognitive impairment. The significant social cost of drug usage includes the direct and indirect impacts of substance abuse on mental health. Healthcare providers, legislators, and the general public must immediately acknowledge the gravity of the issue and begin working to solve it. Reducing the detrimental effects of drug usage on mental health and society requires better access to appropriate treatment for substance abuse disorders.



Azarang, A., & Farrokhi, N. (2014). Family functionality and mental health in substance abusers. International Journal of High Risk Behaviors and Addiction, 3(1), e15967.

De Giorgi, R., Bseiso, A., & Dong, H. (2012). Substance use and misuse: nature, context, and clinical interventions. In De Giorgi, R., Bseiso, A., & Dong, H. (Eds.), Substance Use and Misuse (pp.1-7). London: Intech Open.

Koob, G. F., & Volkow, N. D. (2016). Neurobiology of addiction: a neurocircuitry analysis. The Lancet Psychiatry, 3(8), 760-773.

López-Muñoz, F., Alamo, C., García-García, P., Molina, J. D. D., Rubio, G., & García-Ramos, S. (2016). Mechanisms of action of antidepressants: new data and new perspectives. Psychopharmacology, 233(22), 4233-51.

McLellan, A. T., Lewis, D. C., O’Brien, C. P., & Kleber, H. D. (2014). Drug addiction as a chronic medical illness: implications for treatment, insurance, and evaluation.

Jama, 284(13),1689-1695. National Institute on Drug Abuse. (2020). Drug and alcohol use in young adults. Retrieved from https://www.drugabuse.gov/publications/drugfacts/substance-use-in-young-adults

Degenhardt, L., et al. (2013). The global epidemiology and burden of psychostimulant dependence: findings from the Global Burden of Disease Study 2010. Drug and alcohol dependence, 137(1), 36-47.

Haug, T., et al. (2014). Cognitive performance in recreational users of cannabis. Psychopharmacology, 231(13), 2427-2437.

Kessler, R. C., et al. (2005). Prevalence, severity, and comorbidity of 12-month DSM-IV disorders in the National Comorbidity Survey Replication. Arch Gen Psychiatry, 62(6), 617-627.

Mokhber, N., et al. (2015). Psychiatric disorders among individuals who abuse methamphetamine in Iran. Iranian Journal of Psychiatry, 10(4), 232.

National Institute on Drug Abuse. (2018). Drug Use and Mental Health. Retrieved from https://www.drugabuse.gov/publications/drugfacts/drug-use-mental-health

Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration. (2020). Mental Health and Substance Use Disorders. Retrieved from https://www.samhsa.gov/find-help/disorders

Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration. (2018). National Survey on Drug Use and Health: Detailed Tables. Rockville, MD: Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration.

Torrens, M., et al. (2011). Dual diagnosis in psychiatric inpatients: prevalence and general characteristics. The Journal of Nervous and Mental Disease, 199(11), 855-859.



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