Why Do Mental Illnesses Co-Occur Alongside Addiction?

When we’re living with addiction and mental illness, we’re often not conscious of the deeply rooted issues at the core of our mental and emotional challenges. We know we’re in pain, we know we’re suffering, but we’re not sure why. We haven’t yet traced our difficulties back to the traumatic experiences we endured. We haven’t uncovered the unhealed wounds within us or confronted the unresolved fears still driving our thoughts, emotions and behaviors. The issues causing our addictions are very often the exact same issues fueling our mental health issues. There is so much overlap in our internal challenges that they often will appear together, causing us similar symptoms and life circumstances. Our addictions and mental health issues often coexist alongside one another, bringing us turmoil and affliction in many of the same ways. When we are suffering from one, we’re often suffering from the other, and vice versa. Our addictions make us feel so down on ourselves, so defeated and depressed that we often will try to escape our pain with our drugs of choice, creating recurring, overlapping cycles of emotional unwellness and internal conflict. The reasons, causes and manifestations are so closely related that they come to be considered co-occurring disorders.

Our addictions and mental illnesses affect our behaviors, thought patterns, emotions and life choices in such similar ways. When we are struggling with addiction, we very often will also experience depression, anxiety, panic attacks and other mental health issues. They are inextricably linked and affect us in very similar ways. How we feel, the symptoms we have to deal with, and how we’re affected by them are so closely related that when we are in the midst of our suffering, we may not be able to tell the difference between them. To us, it can all feel like the same thing – suffering. We can’t necessarily tell our different symptoms apart. We can attribute our challenges to both our addictions and mental health issues.

The wounds and fears causing our addictions are often so severe that it is inevitable that they will cause disturbances in our mental and emotional well-being. To heal from one issue, we must heal from all of them. We can’t separate them, because together they form the basis of our health and function alongside one another, fueling, compounding and exacerbating one another. Our recovery is most successful when it is comprehensive in nature and when our approach to our healing is holistic, taking all of our issues into account.

Welcome to Corner Canyon, a residential adult treatment center in beautiful Utah where the individual needs of every client are met with a unique treatment program created to fit them specifically. Our warm and comforting home invites those of all genders, nationalities, religions, sexual orientations, and more who seek to heal as well as transform their lives from mental health and addiction issues. Call us today for information on our programs of care: 877-717-6237


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Liz Lund, MPA

Liz is originally from lush green Washington State. She is a life enthusiast and a huge fan of people. Liz has always loved learning why people are the way they are. She moved to UT in 2013 and completed her bachelors degree in Psychology in 2016. After college Liz worked at a residential treatment center and found that she was not only passionate about people, but also administration. Liz is recently finished her MPA in April 2022. Liz loves serving people and is excited and looking forward to learning about; and from our clients here at Corner Canyon.
When Liz is not busy working she love being outdoors, eating ice cream, taking naps, and spending time with her precious baby girl and sweet husband.