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Biopsychosocial Impact of Addiction and Mental Disorders on the Individual
Instructor: Dr. Dawn-Elise Snipes PhD, LPC-MHSP, LMHC
Executive Director: AllCEUs Counseling CEUs and Specialty Certificates
Podcast Host: Counselor Toolbox, Happiness Isn’t Brain Surgery

Counseling CEUs can be earned for this presentation at
~ Examine the biological (physical) impact of addiction and mental health issues on the individual
~ Examine the psychological impact of addiction and mental health issues on the individual
~ Examine the social impact of addiction and mental health issues on the individual
~ Identify interventions in each area.
Biological Impact of Mood Disorders
~ Caused by an imbalance of:
~ Serotonin (calming)
~ GABA (Calming)
~ Glutamate (Excitatory)
~ Norepinepherine (Excitatory)
~ Dopamine (Pleasure)

Biological Impact of Mood Disorders
~ Effects
~ Disrupted sleep
~ Fatigue
~ Irritability
~ Nutritional changes
~ Increased muscle tension
~ Reduced pain tolerance
~ Gastrointestinal disturbances

The Brain Under Stress
Biological Impact of Addictions
~ Direct (neurotransmitter imbalances)
~ Tolerance
~ Withdrawal


Neurotransmitters, Addiction & Black Friday
~ Normal day
~ Normal store capacity is 750 people.
~ The store needs a constant 500 to stay open
~ The store has 8 doors to allows for people to easily enter and exit without getting “bunched”
~ Black Friday
~ 1500 people push through the door as soon as it opens
~ Store is destroyed
~ Staff is exhausted
~ Takes time to restock and refresh staff
~ Management closes all but two doors and adds security guards to manage flow

Biological Impact of Addictions
~ Indirect
~ Reduced Immunity
~ More rapid aging
~ Sleep difficulties
~ Nutritional deficits
~ Reduced pain tolerance & Increased pain
~ Disease (Hepatitis, HIV, TB, MRSA)


Biological Impact of Alcohol
~ Alcohol
~ Heart damage
~ High blood pressure
~ Fatty liver
~ Hepatitis
~ Cirrhosis
~ Pancreatitis
~ Cancers of the mouth, throat, liver and breast
~ Reduced immunity
~ Brittle bones
Biological Impact
~ Alcohol
~ Brain damage through:
~ The toxic effects of alcohol on brain cells
~ The biological stress of repeated intoxication and withdrawal
~ Alcohol-related cerebrovascular disease
~ Head injuries from falls sustained when inebriated.
~ Alcohol related birth defects (FASD)
Biological Impact
~ Alcohol
~ Nutrient deficiencies:
~ Vitamins: A, E, D, K,B12, folic acid, thiamine
~ Thiamine deficiencies, which cause severe neurological problems such as impaired movement and memory loss seen in Wernicke/Korsakoff syndrome (memory disorder often seen in Alzheimers)
~ Calcium
~ Iron (intestinal bleeding)
~ Dehydration

Biological Impact of Caffeine
~ Negative
~ Stimulant/jitters
~ Increased blood pressure
~ Heart palpitations
~ Heartburn/Diarrhea
~ Disrupted sleep
~ Dehydration
~ Miscarriage
~ Osteoporosis
~ Positive (with moderate intake)
~ Lower risk of Alzheimer's and dementia
~ Decreased suicide risk
~ Increased endurance
~ Decreased risk of oral cancer
Biological Impact of Nicotine
~ Nicotine (including gums and vapors)
~ Highly addictive
~ Activates neurotransmitters
~ Pain and anxiety relief
~ Reduced appetite
~ Respiratory irritation
~ Increased heart rate and blood pressure
~ Hyperglycemia
~ Decreased immune response
~ Increased oxidative stress (which leads to cancer)
~ Increased risk of diabetes

Biological Impact of Marijuana
~ Positive
~ Altered senses
~ Hallucinations
~ Nausea reduction
~ Pain management (3 puffs a day)
~ Improved sleep
Biological Impact of Marijuana
~ Negative (Dependent on the amount of depends on the amount of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) in marijuana)
~ Neurochemical changes causing short-term problems with attention, memory, and learning
~ Impacts brain development in children (permanent changes)—Even second hand smoke
~ Increased risk of testicular cancer
~ Increased heart rate and blood pressure
~ Significant increase in the risk of heart attack in the hours after marijuana use
~ Bronchitis, cough, and phlegm production
~ Delusions/psychosis
Biological Impact of Opiates
~ Positive
~ Pain Relief
~ Euphoria
~ Negative
~ Reduced heart rate and respiration
~ Constipation
~ Fatigue
~ Nausea
~ Highly addictive. Tolerance starts to develop in 3-5 days
~ Body quits producing natural pain killers (endogenous opioids)
Biological Interventions
~ Improve sleep quality
~ Ensure adequate nutrition
~ Assist in the development of nonpharmacological pain management (stretching, ergonomics)
~ Rule out/address physical causes of depression/anxiety
~ Thyroid issues
~ Hormone imbalances
~ Adrenal insufficiency
~ Diabetes
~ Heart problems

Psychological Impact of Mood Disorders
~ Hopelessness
~ Helplessness
~ Guilt
~ Anger about not being “normal”
~ Anxiety that things won’t improve
~ Grief over loss of prior function

Psychological Impact of Addictive Behavior
~ Direct
~ Euphoria/Relaxation
~ Depression/ Lack of Pleasure/Anxiety
~ Insufficient dopamine
~ Imbalance of:
~ Serotonin
~ Norepinephrine
~ Glutamate
Psychological Impact of Addictive Behaviors
~ Indirect
~ Depression and/or anxiety continued…
~ Lack of sleep
~ Malnutrition
~ Guilt
~ Being overwhelmed by the mess
~ Initial “pain” still there

Psychological Interventions
~ Enhance hope and empowerment
~ Develop resilience skills
~ Identify and address cognitive distortions
~ Enhance self-esteem
~ Teach distress tolerance, coping and problem solving skills
~ Educate about the connection between behaviors, thoughts and feelings
~ Address guilt
~ Identify and address grief triggers (not “normal,” loss of function, etc.)
Social Impact of Mood & Addictive Disorders
~ Isolation / withdrawal
~ Loss of supportive, healthy relationships
~ Pushed away
~ Chose to leave
~ Friends share same dysfunctional thinking
~ Stinkin’ Thinkin’: Minimization, rationalization, blaming
~ Cognitive Distortions

Social Interventions
~ Enhance social support and reduce isolation via support groups
~ Improve interpersonal effectiveness skills
~ Educate about healthy relationships and boundaries
~ Examine and address characteristics of current relationships that mitigate or exacerbate problems.
Total Picture
~ Someone who has become physiologically less able to experience happiness or pleasure may…
~ Have a desire to find that feeling (addiction)
~ And keep that feeling (protect the addiction at all costs)
~ Mood disorders contribute to a host of other problems including
~ Pain
~ Reduced immunity
~ Sleep problems
~ Lost work time/productivity
~ Relationship issues

~ Addiction and mood disorders have both direct and indirect consequences for the person
~ Biologically/Physically
~ Psychologically
~ Socially

~ All aspects of the person in recovery must be addressed.
~ It is hard to change your thinking when you don’t feel well (Bio)
~ It is hard to change physical habits when you are depressed and unmotivated (Psycho)
~ It is hard to change thinking or health habits without social support (one of our greatest stress buffers) or energy (Social)


~ This presentation was recorded as part of a live, interactive webinar. If you are watching it on replay, please remember you can contact her on her personal chat page: