What is the relationship between addiction and mental illness?

Much research has shown that there is an extremely complex relationship between addiction and mental illness. According to a renowned addiction psychiatrist at New York University by the name of Dr. Stephen Gilman, approximately 55 percent of people who are suffering from a drug or alcohol addiction will eventually develop a mental disorder. On the other hand, roughly 20 percent of people with a mental condition also have a serious addiction problem. The numbers are expected to be significantly higher when people are diagnosed with psychiatric illnesses like:

  • Depression
  • Schizophrenia
  • Post-traumatic stress disorder
  • Anxiety
  • Insomnia

Since substance abuse problems and mental health conditions are only exacerbated when ignored, healthcare professions must understand the relationship between these two disorders so that they can be properly diagnosed and treated.

Dr. Jeff Nalin, Psy.D./AddictionBlog