The Link Between Depression and Substance Abuse
Many people grapple with the hard reality of depression and the impact it has on their well-being. Many times, depression can lead to other issues that need to be treated in addition to the depression itself. A number of people that are facing depression, face addictive behaviors as well. Battling depression is difficult, and with the added layer of beating addiction, it can be even harder, but it’s possible to overcome.
What is Depression and Substance Abuse?
Depression is a common, yet serious medical condition that had a negative impact on how you feel, act, and think. A loss of interest in activities once enjoyed is also experienced. In addition to a loss of interest, a host of other signs are prevalent in someone suffering from this illness:
• Decreased energy
• Guilty feelings
• Change in appetite
• Change in sleep
• Difficulty concentrating
• Suicidal thoughts
If you or someone you know is suffering from depression, please seek depression help immediately and never forget you aren’t alone.
Substance abuse is the harmful use of a psychoactive substance, such as alcohol or drugs. Continuous use of these substances leads to dependency. A few signs of dependency include:
• Struggles to control use
• Strong desires to continue use, despite detrimental consequences
• Higher priority is given to drug use as opposed to other obligations
• An increased tolerance for the drug
Depression and addiction, unfortunately, go hand-in-hand for many people due to the effects that depression has on one’s choices and method of thinking.
How Does Depression Lead to Substance Abuse?
As studies have shown, those who suffer from depression are highly likely to suffer from substance abuse and vice versa. This is because depression is one of the many triggers of addiction, and the same is true the other way around. One who is depressed may suffer from substance abuse in an attempt to change their mood, and one who abuses substances can feel depressed after the effects of the alcohol or drugs have subsided.
Who is at Risk?
Regarding depression, it can affect people of various backgrounds, ages, and social statuses. While anyone can suffer from depression, there are certain people who are more likely than others to be affected:
• People between the ages of 45-64
• Those without medical coverage
• Those who are unemployed or unable to work
Because these groups of people are more likely to be impacted by depression, they, in turn, are more likely to suffer from substance abuse.
How to Treat These Conditions
Traditionally, treatment for these co-occurring disorders was offered separately, and the likelihood for a person to seek and receive treatment for both was very slim to none. As research progressed, it was learned that treatment should be offered simultaneously for conditions that a patient could receive a dual diagnosis for. Treatment begins with welcoming a person with both conditions and offering the same attention to each condition. Facilities will appoint personnel to work with participants to create a plan for recovery and managing their mental health. Once a plan for sober living is created, the most challenging part is to continuously follow it so that one’s mental health can be restored. This is why it’s very important to have a strong support system and to follow up with rehab, even after the program is over.
Though tackling depression and addiction can be a long, difficult journey, as long as the first step is made, the road to recovery isn’t too far away.