Could Your Depression Drive You to Abuse Drugs or Alcohol?

As many as one out of three people who have been diagnosed with major depression disorder also have an alcohol addiction problem. Have you ever wondered if depression is driving your addiction to alcohol or leading to other substance abuse problems? Or could it be that your addiction has led you to be depressed? This is a question that psychiatrists still do not have a clear answer for.

It is not clear whether depression or addiction starts first in an individual. Sometimes, people turn to alcohol or other drugs in order to relieve the pain they feel when they are depressed. Other times, depression occurs in people who have been abusing drugs or alcohol since these substances can damage both physical health and mental health.

Similarities between Addiction and Depression

A number of different factors affecting people with depression also overlap with symptoms seen in drug abuse and alcohol addiction. People who suffer from either depression or addiction often give up on many of their usual enjoyable activities or their hobbies such as playing music in a band or reading books of all kinds. Additionally, those with depression may not want to acknowledge their problem, which is similar to people suffering from alcohol or drug addiction.

When suffering from depression or various other mental health conditions, people are less likely to spend time with their friends and family. Both depression and drug addiction can lead to problems with your loved ones. Essentially, both of these conditions may lead you to isolate yourself from your best friends and from close family. When suffering from depression, you may think that relying on drugs or alcohol will relieve your pain. However, this often brings even more problems in the long run including financial issues and relationship problems.

There are a number of different connections between depression and drug or alcohol abuse including:

  • Similarities in the brain
  • Genetic factors that make one condition more likely to occur with the other
  • Brain development due to early drug use, which affects mental illness later in life

How Your Depression May Lead to Addiction

There are as many as nine million adults in the United States with both addiction problems and mental health conditions. People are often taught from a young age to avoid negative feelings and general sadness. In this pursuit of preventing depression, people often turn to drug or alcohol abuse in order to avoid feeling badly about the problems in their life. Essentially, in order to deal with your depression, you may find yourself being driven to abuse drugs or alcohol.

This becomes a terrible cycle in which alcohol abuse as a central nervous system depressant leads to negative feelings such as hopelessness and sadness as well as tiredness. People often use drugs or alcohol to essentially numb their feelings, but this does not always work well. Drug or alcohol abuse may often make depression worse and the cycle continues.

Why You May Need Simultaneous, Dual Treatment

If you are suffering from both depression and drug or alcohol abuse, you will greatly benefit from simultaneous treatment of these two conditions. In order to successfully recover and get your life back on track, it is vital to be treated for both depression and substance abuse. It is nearly impossible to get completely better if only one of these conditions are treated without the other.

People who have a dual diagnosis of these two conditions will need to understand the root of their problems and how they got to this place. After understanding their problems better, they are more likely to change and improve their life. Treatment will likely involve therapy and taking antidepressants. Additionally, group therapy may be helpful.

When searching for help, begin by speaking with your primary care doctor and you can ask your friends and family to support you in this journey to quit your addiction and treat your depression. If you are ready to get started in treating your dual diagnosis, call our counselors today. Our counselors are there to talk with you 24 hours a day. Call 770-299-1677