Substance Abuse and Depression: How They Fuel Each Other

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Most people have heard someone express a desire to “drown their sorrows” by pouring themselves a drink, but that’s more than just a saying. The relationship between depression and the abuse of alcohol or other substances is very real. In fact, it’s estimated that between 30 and 40 percent of all substance users are also suffering from some form of depression. Here’s what you need to know about the connection between the two.

Depression and Substance Use Can Aggravate One Another

The idea of turning to alcohol or drugs to cope with feelings of depression may seem tempting, but it’s a temporary solution at best. You may feel better momentarily, but in the long run,  you’ll actually wind up feeling worse.

  • Substance use can lead to hangovers, headaches, and feelings of illness in the short term, especially the day after a big binge.
  • Many people struggle with feelings of shame over not only their substance use but mistakes they may have made while under the influence.
  • Many commonly abused substances (including alcohol) are depressants, so they can worsen symptoms of depression, especially over time.
  • The more you use, the more you need to use to produce the same effects, raising the likelihood of an addiction developing.

Both Depression and Chronic Substance Abuse Lead to Additional Problems

Dealing with depression through substance abuse can lead to symptoms that are increasingly severe. This, in turn, can trigger the user to escalate their substance use, which once again worsens the depression, and so forth. However, both depression and substance use can lead to additional issues that make a person’s situation worse still.

  • They will be more likely than average to eventually develop other issues with their ongoing mental and physical health (e.g. anxiety, heart disease, or liver issues).
  • Weight gain due to depression, substance use, or both further eats away at self-esteem, confidence, and general feelings of wellbeing.
  • People who struggle with addiction, depression or both tend to isolate socially, leading to loneliness and a lack of beneficial support from friends and loved ones.

If the cycle is allowed to continue or worsen even further, a person’s life may be negatively affected to an even greater extent. Worsening addictions and mental health struggles can lead to job loss, financial issues, legal trouble, relationships that are damaged beyond repair, and more.

Understanding the Signs of Both Depression and Developing Addiction

If you or someone you know may be struggling with depression or developing a dependency on alcohol or other substances, it’s important to know what to look for. The symptoms of depression can look very similar to the warning signs of substance use that’s spiraling out of control and vice versa.

Have you been experiencing a lack of energy, motivation, on focus lately that’s unusual for you? Are you having trouble getting excited about hobbies, activities, and pastimes that once meant a lot to you? Are you plagued by persistent and powerful feelings of hopelessness, guilt, or sadness that never seem to lift? It’s likely that you’re battling depression.

When you do drink or use your substance of choice, do you frequently consume more or indulge for longer than you planned on? Are a lot of your resources (including time and energy) devoted to obtaining, using, or recovering from these substances? Have you ever attempted to quit or cut back when it comes to substance use, but been unsuccessful? Is your substance use interfering with your life or your relationships? There’s a good chance you’re struggling with either developing or established substance addiction.

What Should You Do Next?

Remaining locked in the never-ending cycle caused by depression and addiction means you’re not getting beneficial treatment that would truly give you your life back. Medication and therapy work wonders for all types of depression, so don’t be afraid to reach out to a medical professional or loved one for help. However, if you’re also battling addiction, you will likely need to seek treatment for that first.

If you’re located in Beverly Hills or anywhere nearby, a comprehensive drug and alcohol treatment center like 90210 Recovery can help. The many benefits of signing up for such a program include:

  • Individualized treatment designed with your unique set of needs in mind.
  • Help, support, and medical assistance with the detoxification process.
  • A safe, comfortable environment in which to address issues related to your substance use.
  • Residential inpatient care that includes group engagement, expert medical support, and assistance with reestablishing a healthy lifestyle.
  • Attentive aftercare to help you make the transition from treatment to a balanced, healthy life on every level.

If you or a loved one is struggling with substance abuse, you don’t have to go through the process alone. Get in touch with a representative from 90210 Recovery today, and take that first step.