Negative Implications of Drug and Substance use on Mental Health

Okoye, Nelyn Akunna *

Department of Health Service, Rivers State University, Nigeria.

Udeji, Rosemary Nneka

Ikate Primary Health Centre, Lagos State, Nigeria.

Ordu, Charles Nkesi

Department of Health Service, Rivers State University, Nigeria.

Aneke, Emeka John

University of Nigerian Teaching Hospital, Enugu State, Nigeria.

Offor, Chinazor Cordelia

St. Catherine’s Specialist Hospital Port Harcourt, Nigeria.

Asanya, Chinyere Ada

U.S Food and Drug Administration, Tampa Florida, USA.

*Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.


Mental health refers to a person's emotional, psychological, and social well-being, which encompasses aspects such as thoughts, feelings, behaviors, and the ability to cope with life's challenges. Several factors including drug abuse have been recognized to cause mental health disorders; hence, the urgent need to globally address these factors. Drug abuse emerges as a complex public health issue, involving the misuse of legal and illegal drugs, with consequences extending beyond individual health. The relationship between mental health and drug abuse intensifies challenges, as drug misuse contributes to the development or worsening of mental health disorders. This review examined biological, psychological, and social determinants, and advocate for a standardized approach to address the complex issue of drug abuse. Various electronic databases, such as PubMed, Scopus, Web of Science, Medline, and others, were used to access resources, in which thirty-three (33) literatures were reviewed. Results of the reviewed literatures revealed that the impact of drug abuse on mental health involves neurobiological alterations affecting neurotransmitter levels and structural changes in the brain. This does not only affect individuals, but also results in societal burdens, such as increased healthcare costs and criminal justice involvement, compounded by the stigma surrounding mental health and substance abuse. The classification of drugs into legal and illegal categories highlights the diversity of substances and emphasizes the need to understand their effects on mental well-being. Categories include legal drugs, prescription medications, socially accepted substances, and illegal drugs with varying dependency potentials. Addressing mental health disorders induced by drug abuse requires a comprehensive approach, involving strategies like Integrated Dual Diagnosis Treatment (IDDT), Medication-Assisted Treatment (MAT), Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy (CBT), Motivational Interviewing (MI), Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT), Peer Support, 12-Step Programs, and Recovery-Oriented Systems of Care (ROSC). These methods guarantee a care continuum that centers on the individual and emphasizes recovery, acknowledging the relationship between mental health and drug abuse disorders. Nevertheless, the review highlights a research gap in that, in-depth research is needed to evaluate the effectiveness of the aforementioned interventions. Additionally, exploring innovative strategies to address challenges such as stigma, limited treatment accessibility, and the cyclical nature of addiction would enhance intervention effectiveness.

Keywords: Mental health, drug abuse, well-being, global public health, depression, anxiety, bipolar disorder

How to Cite

Akunna, O. N., Nneka, U. R., Nkesi, O. C., John, A. E., Cordelia, O. C., & Ada, A. C. (2024). Negative Implications of Drug and Substance use on Mental Health. International Neuropsychiatric Disease Journal, 21(4), 18–25.


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