Morning Question # 9 Is Substance abuse or mental illness first?

By David Joel Miller.

Does Substance abuse or mental illness occur first?

Both can be first, depends on the person. People who have early symptoms of mental illness are at high risk of developing substance abuse disorders. People who begin abusing substances early in life are more likely to develop mental illness. It may be hard for many people to remember a time before they had one or the other so it is hard to tell sometimes. I like to start by asking how old someone was when they first began to use drugs and alcohol and then ask what life was like before the drugs or alcohol. Some people can’t remember a time before one or both.

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For more about David Joel Miller and my work in the areas of mental health, substance abuse and Co-occurring disorders see the about the author page. For information about my other writing work beyond this blog check out my Google+ page or the Facebook author’s page, up under David Joel Miller. Posts to the “books, trainings and classes” category will tell you about those activities. If you are in the Fresno California area, information about my private practice is at A list of books I have read and can recommend is over at Recommended Books


One thought on “Morning Question # 9 Is Substance abuse or mental illness first?

  1. Pingback: What are Morning Questions? | counselorssoapbox

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