Depression is a mental disorder that can develop over time. It’s also one of the common disorders for those struggling with drug addiction. These two should never meet – yet they do.
We’ll discuss the reasons why depression and drug addiction should never mix. Especially when you may find yourself on the end of fatal consequences. If you need help for your depression and addiction, you can find it through Epiphany Wellness.
For more information on how to get started, visit the Epiphany Wellness site here. Let’s discuss the topic of depression and drugs right now.
Drugs are seen as a coping mechanism
Depression comes with the feelings of hopelessness and sadness among others. In order to help them cope with the negative feelings, they seem to rely on drugs. That’s because they use it as a way to self-medicate and bring themselves happiness.
They will have these feelings of happiness and euphoria on a temporary basis. Once the drugs subside, they will be feeling depressed once again. For that reason, it can be easy for someone to get addicted to drugs when they are depressed.
Long-term drug use can amplify symptoms
Whether you know it or not, drugs can amplify the symptoms of mental disorders. Especially the regular symptoms of depression. This can also increase the likeihood of self-harm and even suicide.
You may feel more sad and hopeless than ever before. The long-term use of drugs can also do damage to your body. Depending on the drugs you are using, you may suffer a multitude of health issues such as heart disease, cancer, and even a change in physical appearance.
What are the causes of depression and substance abuse?
Depression and substance abuse tend to be interconnected in terms of the cause. For example, a person may have suffered from past trauma. Depression may pre-exist an addiction that will eventually develop if drugs are involved.
Other causes include family history. You may have a relative that has dealt with depression, drug addiction, or both. Finally, your brain chemistry may have an imbalance, thus leading to feelings of depression.
Again, depression can lead to drug addiction if it’s being untreated. A treatment that is already in place may not be as effective. For that reason, it may be a good idea to consider speaking to a mental health professional about any alternatives that exist.
What is a dual diagnosis?
A dual diagnosis is when you are diagnosed with a mental disorder and an addiction at the same time. This is usually the case for nearly 10 million people who have dealt with substance abuse problems in the United States.
There is a greater chance that none of them had any past diagnosis of the mental disorder itself (including depression). This can be due to the lack of mental health care in their area. So it goes unchecked and they suffer from it longer.
At that point, they’ll develop an addiction to drugs or even alcohol. One in three who suffer from major depression have already done so. When a dual diagnosis is done, that’s when a treatment plan will be put together.
This will include a treatment plan that focuses on both your depression and addiction. You will be taking necessary medications. One will treat the withdrawal symptoms from the drugs you have used.
The other will be used to manage your depression. Talk therapy will also be included as well. To help make the process more effective, you will be meeting with two different therapists.
The first one will be your substance abuse counselor. They will help you find ways to beat your addiction and live a life without ever having to use drugs again. The other is your mental health counselor, preferably one who is a specialist for depression and other traumatic disorders.
What are the signs of depression?
The most common signs of depression include but are not limited to the following:
- Changes in sleep patterns and appetite
- Feelings of despair, worthlessness, and guilt
- Difficulty concentrating
- Lack of energy
- Lost interest in activities they love doing
- Suicidal thoughts (even talking about it)
These signs can also be exacerbated through drug use. Some drugs can also have the same effects as depression. This includes the changes in sleep and appetite.
You may be suffering from withdrawal symptoms such as nausea and stomach aches. These in turn can lead to a loss of appetite. As a result, you will lose weight in the process.
It can get to the point where you may notice a change in how you look. Your appearance will change. And you may also lose interest in taking care of yourself.
Depression, drug use, and suicide
Those who are diagnosed with depression can have a high risk of committing suicide. What’s more daunting is that of the suicidal deaths, nearly one fifth involved the use of opioids. About ten percent were associated with marijuana while a combined 8 percent was linked to cocaine and meth.
Half of the reported suicides were linked to one substance or another. Even scarier, nearly three-quarters of suicide deaths in adolescents were associated with drugs and alcohol. This confirms that any substance can alter someone’s mind and awareness, even to the point where they don’t know they are suicidal.
If this isn’t a wake up call for getting help, we don’t know what is.
Depression and drugs are two of the most dangerous, if not, deadly combinations out there. That’s why someone dealing with this mental disorder and addiction should get help as soon as possible. If nothing changes, there can be more than enough fatal consequences.
Don’t let depression control you. It’s important that you get the treatment you need as soon as possible. If you are addicted, make sure that both disorders are taken care of at the same time. Don’t let one go ignored in favor of the other.
Get the help you need now before it’s too late.