Has your loved one had another mental illness/disorder on top of their addiction to deal with?



Does this affect their addiction habits and/or treatment? Please give your personal experience!


My son has struggled with mental disorders for as long as I can remember. The drug use did not help, and made it worse and harder to diagnose. His depression certainly contributed to his increased use. But it was a cycle - most substances induced feelings of depression and anxiety when he was withdrawing and this made him want to use more. He was on SSRI’s for 15 years, and when he finally got sober almost 3 years ago he saw a therapist and psychiatrist 1 year in and they were finally able to diagnose him properly. In addition they worked to get him off the SSRI’s and now he is doing very well and uses his coping skills to manage his mental illness.

It’s hard because in order to tackle whatever the mental health issue is, he had to be substance free for a significant amount of time. But I hope I can offer this story as a way to show that there is hope, and with time, patience, hard work, and good professional help there is a light at the end of the tunnel!


So true @barry! So happy to hear things have improved and thank you for sharing some inspiration and hope!


My husband is incredibly social and loves being around people. I didn’t realize that this was mostly fueled by substances til he stopped using them. Now he’s having to re-learn how to build connection and friendships. It’s hard for him because he’s the life of the party, but has used substances to get there. And now that that avenue is mostly closed down it’s hard to regain the connection that he thrives with.

Still, I love he now recognizes it. And it’s something we can practice and bring awareness to ahead of situations where it comes into focus.

I don’t know too much about what mental health condition is what - but maybe some kind of social anxiety.


@Barry thanks so much for sharing your story! I am so happy to hear that your son is doing much better now. It’s amazing once a person struggling with mental illness finally abandons their unhealthy coping mechanisms and acquires new healthy ones.
My dad often drank to cope with his depression, and similar to your son’s situation, the depression also fueled the drinking in excess. One summer he was able to completely replace drinking with exercise, as it sort of gave him this natural high— and he got into the best shape of his life.
It’s so important to remember there are always healthier alternatives.


It’s interesting that you ask this, @ashleykm3. My sister and I were on FaceTime just yesterday hypothesizing - (or you might call it venting) - about what’s going on with my dad.

His behavior has been really strange lately and we can’t quite tell if it’s a relapse, or something is damaged in his brain after so many years of using, or that he’s lost his “life-of-the-party” mojo (aka substance, similar to @polly’s husband), or if there is some mental illness at play.

I don’t have a ton to add to this conversation, other than sympathizing that it feels really hard & confusing right now!

Share your Weekly Wins & Worries - 10/9/18

Both son and daughter dual diagnosis bipolar and addiction I suffered with depression in my younger years. Known way too many who died of suicide.


My brother has been diagnosed with bi-polar and found medication for that useful in his recovery journey. I’ve always wondered if it was there before or just made way worse after?


My loved one has a chronic, complicated and rare spinal/cranial/neurological conditions that never lets him has less than a 3 or 4 pain scale day…ever…and that is with pain meds.
He injects his pain meds so they don’t have “legs” and has to score on the street to keep the pain at bay. I’ve been trying to encourage not injecting ALL of them to make them last longer but he already has such a high tolerance.
Methadone and Suboxone are not an option for him. He may be addicted but he needs pain management. He has told me many times that hydromorphone saved his life because otherwise he would have taken it by now…If it doesn’t work or he can’t get it at some point in the future (script gets cut or something) or if his condition progresses to where he can’t care for himself physically that he will take his life in the future. I could never understand that type of pain but I can understand wanting to escape it, even if that means taking his life. He has been hospitalized on the mental health unit at least twice to keep him safe during particularly bad pain spells.
One treatment centre told him the meds were killing him and he laughed in their faces. And rightly so.
We also have a feeling he has ADHD, and many people with ADHD or symptoms of (me included) also have issues with stimulants. In particular crystal meth.

This makes treatment so complicated for him.