Depression and Drug Addiction

Depression is a serious disease that affects thousands of Americans, and when coupled with a drug addiction or alcoholism, each disease serves to exacerbate and amplify the other. Depression is categorized by intense feelings of sadness, exhaustion or fatigue, loss of interest in once-enjoyable activities, memory and concentration difficulties, changes or irregularities in sleeping patterns, and even suicidal thoughts and tendencies. These symptoms can be dangerous alone, but when illicit substances or alcohol are being used by the sufferer, the results can be tragic. And because these conditions so often occur simultaneously, understanding how to recognize and treat them together is critical for the well-being of the sufferer.

According to Hazelden, a mental health services organization, “Most research suggests that the rate of major depression is 2 to 4 times higher among alcoholics and addicts than in the general population.” (1) In fact, some experts believe that depression directly causes individuals to turn to drugs or alcohol in an effort to self medicate their symptoms. Others believe that recreational drug use can eventually lead to depression and other psychological disorders like anxiety and mania. Whatever the causation may be, most experts agree that these two conditions often co-occur. This is addressed more specifically in an American Psychological Association publication: “It is likely that the high prevalence of co-occurrence of these two disorders reflects, in part, overlapping environmental, genetic, and neurobiological factors. It is also possible that there will be differences in the neurobiology of comorbidity depending on the temporal course of its development (i.e., depression followed by drug abuse versus drug abuse followed by depression). It is possible that in the former, drugs are used in attempts to self-medicate the depressive state, whereas in the latter it is possible that early exposure to chronic drugs of abuse might lead to neurobiological changes that increase the risk of depression.” (2)

The risks and consequences of depression and addiction are especially high. People who suffer from depression are especially prone to suicidal thoughts and ideations and other types of self-destructive behaviors and actions. Drug abuse and addiction are also closely associated with suicidal tendencies. However, the consequences of these two co-occurring conditions are even more far-reaching than that, according to Dual Diagnosis.ORG: “Studies conducted by this author and colleagues at Western Psychiatric Institute and Clinic of the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center show that clients with addiction and depression are at higher risk for suicidal and homicidal behaviors, poorer treatment adherence, higher relapse rates to either disorder, and higher re-hospitalization rates.” (3) In simple language, depression can make it impossible for a person to seek and receive help for addiction, and vice versa.

If you are suffering from both depression and addiction, the best treatment options available are those that focus on each condition as the individual, clinical disease that it is. Assuming that treating the addiction will treat the depression or that treating the depression will treat the addiction is simply not a wise or effective approach. To talk to someone about this right now and find out what options are available to you, all you have to do is call the number at the top of your screen. Our Florida Drug Rehab center is staffed with experts who can confidentially guide you and help you make the right choices, no matter where you are from or what time it is. You can check your insurance or just ask a question about our inpatient treatment or day/night treatment. Take action and do something about your depression and addiction right now.

(1) Hazelden Facts About Addiction and Depression
(2) Volkow, Nora D. The Reality of Comorbidity: Depression and Drug Abuse American Psychological Association
Biological Psychiatry, Vol 56(10), Nov 2004, 714-717. doi: 10.1016/j.biopsych.2004.07.007
(3) Dennis C. Daley, PhD. The Double Demons of Depression and Addiction Dual Diagnosis.ORG

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