Substance abuse and addiction are very serious issues that affect millions of Americans every year. It is also an incredibly complex issue. No one addiction is identical to another, just like no one person is like another; besides twins who have different personalities. That being said understanding it to provide efficient treatment and care is a difficult process. The advances of modern medicine and technology have helped to shed light on these issues, but there remains much to be learned. One major contributing factor to substance abuse and addiction are emotions and handling those emotions. Those who are in full control of their emotions are less likely to develop an addiction. Those who struggle to cope or control emotions are more likely to develop and addiction. Emotional dysregulation is a term used to describe someone who cannot effectively control their emotions. Bipolar disorder is an issue that can develop when someone is unable to control their emotions. Substance abuse and addiction are also issues that can develop when controlling emotions is difficult.

Emotional Dysregulation

Those suffering from emotional dysregulation have trouble maintaining equilibrium. Emotional stability is a skill that most individuals have and it is what keeps them level. Those who cannot control their emotions can shift quickly between emotions. This creates a rather unstable person. Those who have trouble maintaining equilibrium have what is called mood swings. Those with emotional dysregulation have sharp spikes in emotions, which provide dangerously abrupt mood swings. These mood swings can drastically affect a person’s private, social and professional life. Along with bipolar disorder and substance use and abuse issues there are a number of other diagnosable disorders that emotional dysregulation can cause.

Emotional Dysregulation and Substance Abuse Risk

Many people turn to alcohol has a way to relieve stress. There is nothing wrong with having a drink or two at the end of a long and stressful work week. The problem lies when that drink turns into several and happens several days out of the week. Those who have trouble dealing with their emotions are more likely to fall victim to substance use and abuse. The exaggerated emotions, which flip back and forth, can cause a person to turn to alcohol or drugs to deal with that pain. This practice can quickly turn into substance abuse and addiction. When addiction happens for these reasons the addict has a co-occurring disorder, meaning that addiction has caused or was caused by a mental disorder. In this case it is emotional dysregulation. That individual must seek treatment for drug addiction and treatment for their emotional dysregulation. Studies have shown that those with emotional dysregulation have a much higher risk for substance abuse and addiction. In conclusion, anyone who is diagnosed with emotional dysregulation, bipolar disorder or elevated levels of stress should not use alcohol or drugs. It is important that families understand the risk those individuals have at developing an addiction.

Getting Help

Getting help for an addiction can be difficult, but the earlier it is detected and treated the better. Those who have a history of emotional dysregulation should receive treatment at a rehabilitation center that specializes in those with emotional dysregulation. Co-occurring disorder treatment is necessary for efficient treatment and long term sobriety. Do not wait, get help immediately. The addict must address their addiction as well as their emotions. Without addressing their emotional stability they will most likely return to substance abuse and addiction.