Does Alcohol Cause Mental Illness?

Alcohol use disorder (AUD) is a common medical health condition that’s characterized by a pattern of alcohol use that leads to problematic behaviors, impairment, or unrelenting distress. Alcoholism can co occur with other mental health conditions, including depression, anxiety, PTSD, and bipolar disorder. 

While alcohol use does not cause mental illness, mental illness is common in people with alcohol use disorder. Around half of all people in an alcohol rehab in Ontario, CA, that meet the criteria for a substance use disorder could or have already been diagnosed with a mood disorder.

The most common co-occurring mental health illnesses with AUD are depressive disorders, anxiety, PTSD, bipolar, and schizophrenia spectrum disorders.

Causes of AUD

The exact cause of AUD and co-occurring mental health conditions aren’t always fully understood. However, there are many different factors that could contribute. These include:

  • Genetics. People with a family history of alcohol or substance use disorder and mental health conditions are at an increased risk of developing either or both types of condition. Some of the first questions people are asked when entering alcohol rehab involve family history of addiction.
  • Brain chemistry. Alcohol and other drugs can have profound effects on brain chemistry. This can make people more vulnerable to mental health problems.
  • Trauma. The brains of people who experience trauma may also have been damaged by the long-term stress associated with PTSD. Those who undergo years of neglect, sexual abuse, or physical abuse, especially during childhood, may be at an increased risk of developing a substance use disorder and other mental health conditions. It’s not unusual for people in alcohol rehab to finally begin discussing in healing from their long-suppressed trauma.
  • Self-medication. People who use drugs or alcohol to cope with difficult situations may be at risk of developing an alcohol use disorder and, in turn, a mental health disorder resulting from their physical and emotional decline triggered by substance use.


There are significant and negative side effects of experiencing a co-occurring alcohol use disorder and mental health condition. This can include health problems, such as liver or heart disease; failed relationships; employment issues as people who are under the influence may find it difficult to hold down a job; money problems; legal problems; and suicide.

There Is Hope

People who are struggling with alcohol use disorder and mental health conditions don’t have to fight alone. Alcohol rehab is available in Ontario, CA, for people wishing to get their life’s back. Aegis Medical can help. With more than 15 years of addiction treatment experience and a range of services available, Aegis Medical is a leader in the alcohol recovery industry and can work with those who wish to maintain their sobriety after alcohol rehab.

Aegis Medical offers online opioid addiction treatment for those suffering from addiction. When you choose Aegis Medical, you can use your own pharmacy, benefit from our board-certified expertise, and receive treatment from anywhere from a judgment-free practitioner whose sole purpose is to help you walk your recovery journey with confidence. Dr. Peter Farago is licensed throughout the US and Canada and is a member of the American Society of Addiction Medicine, the Canadian Society of Addiction Medicine, and the American Board of Preventive Medicine. Aegis Medical is also HIPAA Verified and accepts most insurance plans.

Mental and substance use disorders in Canada (