The Importance of Emotional Health for Preventing Addiction

When people discuss addiction and its causes, we often turn towards mental health. Emotional health is one of the many different aspects of our mental health, and it’s important to consider the implications of our emotional health when we are discussing the reality of addiction.

We will explore some of the different components of emotional health and how they can relate to addiction.

Is It Emotional or Mental Health?

Some psychologists prefer to draw a distinction between emotional and mental health. This can be important. Many of the emotional issues that we experience, such as anxiety, depression, and stress, have less to do with our cognitive state of being than our emotional state of being.

While mental health disorders often accurately describe issues like schizophrenia, bipolar, and psychosis (which all, of course, contain multiple emotional components) the term might be less accurate when describing something like depression.

Mental health conditions, such as those just listed, tend to be more chronic in nature. Emotional health conditions, however, may be more fleeting and spontaneous. For example, someone who develops depression as a result of experiencing the death of a loved one is certainly struggling with a blow to their emotional health. However, to characterize them as struggling with a mental disorder may not be entirely accurate.

Managing Emotional Health and Addiction

Many psychiatrists and mental health professionals are accurately equipped to help people work through emotional health problems. In fact, many of the issues that mental health workers tend to frequently manage are those which we have described in this article.

However, it may be in the best interest of struggling drug users to differentiate between emotional health and mental health. While emotional health problems may become chronic if they are left untreated, they often represent a different category of ailments than mental health issues.

Emotional issues are, unfortunately, also easier to ignore. Mental health problems such as schizophrenia cannot easily be suppressed, but emotions can be. When emotions such as grief or sadness are suppressed, they do not simply go away. Instead, they tend to fester in the individual and may manifest as compulsive substance use or addictive behavior.

It’s important to draw a distinction between mental and emotional challenges, as they are often managed differently. While cognitive-behavioral therapy may help people to address the cognitive (mental) aspects of their emotional health, these methods may not be able to provide a full grasp of the emotional/intuitive component. For this reason, more and more psychologists and mental health workers are taking care to separate mental health from emotional health.


Mental health and emotional health are two terms that are often used interchangeably. However, psychologists are beginning to recognize the importance of differentiating between these two aspects of our cognitive experience.

Learning to understand the difference between challenges of a mental and emotional nature can help to facilitate the management of addiction. Hopefully, this article has helped you to see the way that mental health differs from emotional health. If you’re in need of help, don’t hesitate to reach out to dual diagnosis treatment centers San Diego.

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