Teens’ Mental Health Factors in Drug Abuse & STD Risks

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Scientists are exploring the intersection between mental illness, drug abuse and the transmission of STDs. It’s difficult to say where such problems begin or which one arises first. Each case is unique, and recovery may depend upon concurrently treating STDs, mental illness and drug abuse.

Drug Abuse and Mental Illness

Studies show that individuals who have a behavioral, anxiety or learning disorder may be more likely to develop drug abuse issues. This can happen because the person is trying to deal with the symptoms of their mental illness. However, the reverse can also occur. Drug abuse may exacerbate a mental illness or make its symptoms more pronounced, thereby creating two problems that can feed on each other.

STDs, Drug Abuse and Mental Illness

The same “which came first” quandary arises when STDs enter the picture. People with drug abuse issues may contract STDs through engaging in risky sex or sharing needles. The drug abuse may have been produced through the presence of a mental illness. With the diagnosis of one or more STDs, the person’s mental health suffers.

The Mental and Emotional Toll of STDs

Physicians and other health care workers are often preoccupied with treating the physical symptoms of STDs while virtually ignoring the mental and emotional components. Nonetheless, receiving an STD diagnosis can be devastating for the patient. Even when the disease can be cured, patients often deal with feelings of extreme depression. As the mental disorder takes hold, the individual may become more likely to turn to drug abuse as a coping mechanism.

The connection between mental illness, drug abuse and STDs cannot be overstated. Where one of these conditions exist, it is likely that one or both of the others may also be present. Successful treatment must include approaches that address all of these issues simultaneously.

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