Did you know that about 10% of Americans are thought to suffer from some type of psychological disorder? Depression is one of the most common disorders, but it is often not the only condition somebody has. In fact, many people have both depression and a substance abuse disorder.
The Co-Morbidity of Depression & Substance Abuse
The co-morbidity of depression and substance abuse disorder is high, and the substance involved could vary across the board. About one in three adults with substance abuse disorder also have depression.
In spite of the fact that alcohol is a depressant for the central nervous system, many people do abuse it while depressed. This fact means that alcohol could trigger further symptoms of depression, worsening the condition.
In other cases, people turn to substances that numb some of the negative thoughts associated with depression. They seek to feel better, sometimes without even knowing it. These substances might include drugs like methamphetamines. Some people also turn to activities like shopping and gambling.
The Signs of Depression
The signs of depression commonly associated with substance addiction include an overwhelming feeling of hopelessness and anxiety. Many people feel intense dread about the future, and some express feelings of selfloathing. Some people find themselves tearful or even in physical pain throughout the day. These symptoms may be in conjunction with irritability and difficulty concentrating.
Many people have serious sleep issues that cause them to either sleep throughout the day or to not be able to sleep at all. In the same vein, people also tend to have issues with their appetite. They might eat a lot or eat very little, leading to either significant weight loss or weight gain.
Some signs of depression are related to behavioral issues. For instance, some people begin to have financial issues because they are spending a lot of money or have lost their job. Others may start to become worse with commitment or start being sneaky.
The Signs of Substance Abuse Disorder
Substance abuse disorder differs from using substances in several ways. For example, individuals with substance abuse disorder tend to use a substance in more significant amounts than they previously anticipated. They also struggle to cut back when they try to as the body begins more tolerance to the substance.
People with substance abuse disorder spend a lot of time using, getting, and recovering from their substances. They also crave the substance, which can interfere with work, school, or home life. In fact, many substance abuse disorders cause intense relationship problems.
The Reasons Behind the Substance Abuse Disorder & Depression Link
Substance abuse disorder and depression come hand-in-hand for a number of reasons. Many people are selfmedicating without realizing it, trying to numb the pain of depression with substances that mask feelings.
Unfortunately, the process of quitting substances can worsen depression, which leads to an even stronger desire to self-medicate. For this reason, individuals with depression likely need treatment for a longer period than those without depression who have substance abuse issues.
The Difficulty of Depression & Substance Abuse Disorder Treatment
Many people feel that they are struggling with both conditions all by themselves. These feelings of loneliness make relapse even more of a possibility. Fortunately, growing options for treatment for these conditions are readily available.
Recovery can improve your quality of life if you are living with both depression and substance abuse disorder. While no simple cure for the conditions exists, treatment does help you better understand them. Treatment helps you understand depression and motivate you to make changes. When you leave treatment, you have the skills to change addictive patterns.