How Open Discussion of Mental Health Disorders Can Prevent Addiction

How Open Discussion of Mental Health Disorders Can Prevent Addiction

Learning to talk about mental and emotional health can help prevent addiction in your own life

Mental health disorders and addiction often take families by surprise. The secrecy and deceit inherent in many mental health and addiction issues makes talking about symptoms, or even being personally aware of them, difficult. Learning to talk about mental and emotional health and identify early signs of disorders and substance abuse can mitigate the growing addiction epidemic. Addiction and mental health disorders do not appear overnight, and there is time to take action if people are open to honest and informed discussions about emotional and mental concerns.

Identifying Mental Health Disorders

As stated above, mental health disorders do not develop over night. The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) shares, “behavior and symptoms signaling the likelihood of future behavioral disorders—such as substance abuse, adolescent depression, and conduct disorders—often manifest two to four years before a disorder is actually present” (“Strategic Initiative #1: Prevention of Substance Abuse and Mental Illness”). If individuals feel free and safe to discuss mental health and emotions, these behaviors and symptoms can be identified early and addressed immediately, allowing for early healing and the prevention of full manifestation or addiction. When individuals do not have freedom or support for open discussion, they may hide symptoms out of shame, misunderstanding or the mistaken idea that mental health disorders will get better or go away on their own. They may lie about early symptoms of mental health disorders, creating more problems in the process, or mask them through drug misuse or abuse.

Addiction Prevention and Awareness

The very first step in SAMHSA’s initiative to prevent substance abuse and mental illness is to create, “communities where individuals, families, schools, faith-based organizations, and workplaces take action to promote emotional health and reduce the likelihood of mental illness, substance abuse.” SAMHSA recognizes that addiction prevention and mental health support are products of communities where members are aware of these issues and the options for prevention and treatment. Talking about, and taking early action against, mental health disorders can, “prevent or delay onset of, and mitigate symptoms and complications from substance abuse and mental illness.” However, all the parties involved must be familiar with the many aspects and facets of mental health, must see past stigmas that create shame and secrecy and learn how to encourage action or treatment.

Prevent Addiction by Addressing Mental Health

If you or a loved one struggles with a mental health disorder, at any stage of its development, take action today. Call our toll-free helpline to learn about addressing early symptoms, healing after mental health disorder development or treating co-occurring mental health and substance abuse concerns. We are here 24 hours a day, so there is no wrong time to prevent, or put an end to, addiction.