Depression and addiction are two of the most common mental health issues in the United States. Each condition can make life difficult on its own, but it can be even more challenging to overcome the disorders when you experience both at once.
For example, you may feel like you have no motivation or energy to get through your day when you’re depressed. That same lack of motivation can make it harder for you to seek treatment for your addiction as well. In this article, we’ll look at how these two disorders intersect and why treating them together is essential for recovery from either disorder.
Depression and Substance Abuse Influence One Another
Depression and substance abuse are closely interrelated. Depression can make you want to drink or use drugs, and drinking or using drugs can make you feel depressed.
Both disorders can also be a vicious cycle. If you already have depression, you may try alcohol or drugs as a way to escape your pain. This, in turn, may lead to more severe symptoms of depression and more substance abuse.
Addiction and Depression May Share Risk Factors
Depression and substance use disorders (SUDs) are two of the most common psychiatric conditions in the United States. Both are associated with high personal, social, and economic costs.
The co-occurrence of these disorders is also very common. According to Science & Practice Perspectives, “Of individuals with lifetime major depression, 16.5 percent had an alcohol use disorder and 18 percent had a drug use disorder.”
One could reasonably expect that people with depression might be more susceptible to substances, such as alcohol or drugs, because they feel better after ingesting them. However, there is evidence that suggests another reason why people struggling with both disorders might overlap. Shared risk factors – such as genetics – between addiction and depressive disorders may contribute to their co-occurrence.
Other risk factors for depression and addiction include:
- Personality traits
- Developmental factors
- Social factors
- Death or loss
Withdraw From Family and Friends
Drug or alcohol addiction and depression can both cause you to withdraw from family and friends. When the addiction becomes too much to handle, it’s easy to isolate yourself from those who might be able to help you.
You may do this because you’re ashamed of what your behavior has done or is doing to them. Your family and friends may have also told you that they don’t want anything more to do with your addiction. This can lead not only to depression but also to greater use of drugs or alcohol, as well as an increased likelihood of relapse once treatment begins.
Self-Medicating Can Exacerbate Depression
People who self-medicate with drugs or alcohol may become addicted to those substances, exacerbating the symptoms of depression. The depressant quality of alcohol and other drugs can help people cope with their depression in the short term. However, when used regularly, substances make them feel worse in the long term.
Addiction to drugs or alcohol causes withdrawal symptoms when you stop taking the substances. Depression can worsen withdrawal. If you’re depressed and trying to quit using substances at the same time, you may have trouble managing your mood. Due to self-medication, it can be challenging to function properly without drugs or alcohol.
Getting Treatment for Both Addiction and Depression
If you’re struggling with addiction and depression, it can be tough to know where to start. Treatment for one disorder is enough of a commitment, but getting help for both at once? That can seem like a lot of work.
The good news is that getting treatment doesn’t have to be complicated. In fact, it has been shown that combining the right combination of medications and therapies can improve your quality of life and make you feel better overall.
If you’re ready to take control of your mental health and your life, these tips can help you get started:
- Find a therapist who specializes in addiction and mental health disorders
- Set up regular check-ins with them so they can keep track of how well their treatment plan is working
- Don’t overlook medication as an option for treating co-occurring SUD and depression
You are not alone in your struggle with depression and addiction. At Villa Oasis San Diego, we can provide treatment for both disorders. We can give you the support and encouragement to get through this difficult time.
Depression is treatable, but it will likely not get better if the substance abuse problem is not addressed. The first step toward improving your mental health is admitting that there’s a problem and seeking help from professionals who can guide you through a recovery plan tailored specifically to your needs.
If you have depression, you can get treatment for it. However, if you also have a substance abuse problem, your depression may not improve without help from a professional who specializes in both mental health and addiction.
If you think this applies to you or someone else in your life, reach out to us here at Villa Oasis San Diego. We can help you overcome both of these struggles in your life. Villa Oasis is a luxury recovery center in San Diego, where we specialize in helping you relax as you get help for your addiction and mental health issues. It can all start today. It begins with a phone call.
If you or someone you know is struggling with addiction and mental health problems and would like more information on how Villa Oasis San Diego can help you, call (323) 739-8673.