I got asked a great question yesterday

‘which comes first?’

kind of like the chicken and the egg

except I have an answer to this…


It goes both ways


Lets take the mental illness as first

this would be a genetic or hereditary disorder

i.e. Bipolar, Schizophrenia, ADHD, Autism

and Severe Depression


You would be born with it

and theres not much you can do about it

but learn to live with it


finding out about my family history

revealed that mine was likely hereditary

and through some tests it was genetic

put that with the characteristics I was

displaying at a young age

it was concluded that I was born crazy 🙂


this also means that there is no cure


So, for me, I don’t know life any other way (ish)

I didn’t wake up one day and think

omg I must be mentally ill

(not that anyone does, but you know what I mean)


I was used to seeing, feeling, hearing thinking

in a certain way

it wasn’t unusual for me to be erratic, manic

depressed, hyper sensitive or disturbed


but when I got to an age where I discovered

alcohol and drugs I found that they gave me an

escapism from the nonsense in my head

and I got to experience a whole new level

of feelings and thought processes


they were good ones and I especially liked  it

when I could drink myself unconcsious

I was always way more drunk

and took far more drugs than anyone else


I was an alcoholic by the age of 20

I stopped taking drugs when I was about 27

and I went on to prescribed medication not

long after that after a series of psychotic



If you suffer from a mental illness

you are more likely to develop an addiction

as a form of self medication…


On the flip side, when there is no genetic

or hereditary illness

and symptoms only appear later in life

after using drink or drugs


Cannabis use amongst teenage boys

is found to increase Schizophrenia

Alcohol is a depressant

Ecstasy can damage brain cells

Acid has so many effects on the brain

I can’t list them all but flashbacks are

common with fear, anxiety and depression

lasting a long time after use


So the recreational drinker / user can

develop mental illness from one episode of

experimentation or from years of abuse


The bad news is that mental health professionals

will not diagnose someone until they have been clean

for at least 6 months

the addiction must be treated first and the mind

has to be clear to allow for the correct diagnosis

to be made


The good news is that if the symptoms are caused by

an addiction or recreational use of drugs and alcohol

it may not be a lifelong illness

in most cases, treatment may be short term

i.e. a few years with or without medication


I hope I have managed to explain the difference

but at the end of the day if someone is ill

they are ill

the history guides a psychiatrist to prescribe

the right treatment

and if someone is taking drugs or drinking

in a fragile state, they need to stop before

anything gets better


I’ll leave you with this thought

to be a member of Mensa you have to score

in the top 2% of an IQ test

and in that top 2%

you are more likely to have a mental illness


There is a relationship between addiction

and mental health

but there is also a relationship between

intelligence and mental health




p.s. if any of you are experiencing difficulty either first or second hand, get in touch, I might not be able to help but I can point you in the right direction x


Carolyne is the owner of Fit Strong Females with a Studio in Glasgow City Centre and an Online Membership Site, with 18 years experience. She is also a Fitness, Success and Food Blogger, Author and Writer. You can contact her at carolyne@fitstrongfemales.com or find more information at fitstrongfemales.com 

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