Drug Addiction & Depression: How Are They Related?

Drug Addiction & Depression How Are They Related

If you’re struggling with drug addiction, let’s get one thing straight: Drugs and alcohol aren’t the problem. You’re the problem. Drug and alcohol abuse is the symptom of deeper issues, the self-medication you attempt in the hopes of feeling better. So, what’s actually going on? It could be many different things. For some people, it’s long-buried trauma. For others, it’s PTSD. And for a lot of people, it’s depression. 

How Are Drug Addiction & Depression Related? 

According to one study, about a third of adults suffering from addiction also have significant depression. At the same time, 16.5% of the people with depression are addicted to alcohol and 18% are addicted to drugs. In the general population, the percentage of people with addiction is only about 10%. Clearly, the link between drug addiction and depression is real. 

Does Depression Cause Drug Addiction? 

Depression can cause drug addiction because of misguided attempts to self-medicate. When you’re depressed, for example, you often feel dead tired. Getting out of bed to do the things you love is a struggle – let alone to do the things you don’t love, like going to work. Some people turn to uppers like cocaine or meth to give them the energy to power through the depression fatigue. On the other hand, someone with anxiety might choose downers like alcohol or weed to feel “normal.” Ironically, using drugs or alcohol as your “medicine” for mental and emotional issues will only make them worse.

Does Addiction Cause Depression? 

It also works the other way around. Addiction can cause depression, too. First, addiction causes isolation and loneliness as it destroys your relationships with your support system. Then, there’s the chemical effects of drugs. For example, alcohol and cocaine increase the level of serotonin – the happiness chemical – in the brain. When you “come down,” your levels are much lower. Intentionally disrupting your brain chemistry can be a trigger for depression. 

How To Get Help For Addiction And Depression

The good news is that we know now how closely addiction and depression are linked, so we don’t treat one without treating the other. Doing so would be a recipe for disaster: If you stop using but still have depression, it will be a nightmare trying to stay clean. 

Most legit addiction treatment facilities offer what is called a “dual diagnosis” path that can treat more than one diagnosis at a time: addiction and depression, for example. In dual diagnosis treatment you can get tools to overcome all of your issues in one place. That might be therapy and counseling or even medication to keep you balanced.

Drug Addiction Treatment Options

You can of course get both treated in residential addiction treatment, but there are other options, too. In intensive outpatient treatment, you can go to classes at night and hold down your job during the day. Or, if your depression is so bad that you can’t imagine leaving the house, try telehealth addiction treatment from your couch.

In the end, if you think your depression and addiction might be related, you’re right. Give us a call or send us a chat to talk through your issues and figure out if addiction treatment could help. When life sucks, just remember that you don’t have to live that way. You can make a different choice and you’ll get a different life. And you can start today.

Getting Clean Sober at Home 2

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Getting Clean & Sober at Home

Today, more than 75% of hospitals and healthcare providers offer access to telehealth treatment, with 29 states having gone so far as to enact telehealth parity laws, which force insurance companies to reimburse patients for telehealth at the same rates as they would for in-person treatment.
 
 If you’ve been thinking about getting clean and sober, or if you’ve been wanting to work on and strengthen the recovery you already have, it’s never been easier to do it through telehealth.