Addiction, Treatment and Recovery
Can Addiction Cause Mental Illness?
Sean Barlow, M.D., Betty Ford Center’s Chief Psychiatrist, recently responded to the following questions:
- What is a ‘working definition’ of insanity?
Insanity is a legal definition used to base competence, not a psychiatric or mental health definition.
- Can addiction suppress mental illness?
No. Addiction tends to make mental illness worse.
- Can addiction cause mental illness?
Yes. Addiction can cause substance-induced psychiatric disorders, and the treatment is sobriety – not traditional pharmacological treatment. Also, there are burgeoning reports that cannabis is a risk factor for the development of psychosis. If a person is already predisposed because of genetics, environment, social situation, etc., cannabis can hasten the onset of psychotic illness.
- If a mentally ill person is weaned off addictive substances in a professional fashion, can he/she ever fully regain ‘sanity?’
Yes. If a patient has lost reason because of drug use, then the person is capable of regaining mental health with proper treatment.
- Can anger cause mental illness?
No. Anger is a feeling, although it can be part of mental illness.
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