Similarities Between Psychiatric and Substance Use Disorder

Updated on October 4, 2022 | by Alex Smith


There are more similarities than differences between Psychiatric and substance use disorder (SUD) even though victims of one or both are inclined to deny the overlapping similarities in an attempt to play down the severity of their situation and refuse treatment. The bottom line remains that the similarities between both overlap because they are both brain disorders and acknowledging that one could lead to another might just be the first step on the road to recovery.

Brief Definitions

A psychiatric disorder is a plethora of mental illnesses, diagnosed by a mental health professional that disturbs brain patterns, emotions, seriously disturbs your thinking, and puts you at risk of disabilities, pain, and even death.

Substance use disorder is also known as Drug addiction is the persistent use of stimulants, despite the knowledge of the harm they could cause the user. This is usually because the mind has grown accustomed to the use of stimulants to produce temporary highs which could escalate and put one at risk of pain, disabilities, and death.

Below are some similarities between Psychiatric disorders and substance use disorders.


Psychiatric disorders and substance use disorders are not chosen. Understanding this helps victims to get rid of their feelings of guilt and self-loathing. No one chooses to be depressed or have Obsessive-compulsive disorder or bipolar disorder or addiction to antidepressants over living normally like everybody else. Neither was chosen. A quick one; get here if you or a loved one is in search of “rehabs near me”.


The stigmatization of people living with mental illnesses and substance abuse disorders is another glaring similarity. Despite the efforts of mental health awareness groups, people living with these disorders are looked down upon and even ostracized in certain communities.


Another thing people living with these disorders have in common is the need or feeling to be isolated at all times. It is common for them to dig a rabbit hole of self-loathing and stay in there while crumbling their self-esteem systematically through a chain of uncontrolled thoughts.


People living with psychiatric disorders and substance abuse disorder pose a great risk to themselves and possibly others if they are not being monitored properly. Their brain system which has been altered and their fluctuation of emotions from high euphoria to equally depressing lows produces the most disastrous of choices; self-harm suicidal thoughts and even successful suicides in some cases.


Both are chronic illnesses that should be treated with utmost priority and urgency because the deeper a person lapses the harder it becomes to get them out. Medical attention should be sought.


At a point or another, people living with psychiatric disorders and/or substance abuse disorders lose control of their thinking facilities and in other cases, their muscles and movements. If such cases occur, it is wise to hold them down until the effects of the substance or disorder wear off so they don’t harm themselves or others. 


Hallucinations and seizures are not uncommon to people living with mental disorders. The frequency of hallucinations and seizures may worsen if the affected fellow isn’t getting the required help needed. Seizures are highly dangerous but more common to drug addicts.


Rehabilitation for both psychiatric disorders and substance abuse disorders both follow the DMT Detox, Medication and Therapy system. There are also inpatient and outpatient rehab facilities for both psychiatric disorders and substance abuse disorders.


Looking out for similarities and not differences is looking out at the bigger picture, for a compilation and navigation of easier roads to recovery, avoiding relapse along the way, and being completely whole.