The connection between drug addiction and depression is a close one, and it’s often difficult to tell where one stops and the other begins. Depression is a very common factor in drug addiction, so common, in fact, that a large percentage of those who are addicted to drugs and alcohol also exhibit symptoms of depression, whether in its mild form or to the extreme as bipolar disorder or manic depression.
A common response to a stressful situation is to smoke a joint or head out on the town for a night of drinking. It’s not uncommon, but for those who suffer from chronic depression, any day-even every day-can create a reason to drink if you’re looking for it and, of course, regular drinking soon turns into dependence and, eventually, alcoholism.
In the same way, what may begin with a couple of hits of marijuana or a few drinks can soon grow to include other drugs: cocaine to maintain the drinking longer or heroin to increase the euphoria and sense of separation from the haunting depression. In treatment and medical circles, it’s called “self-medicating.” Rather than seeking treatment through anti-depressants and therapy, it’s easier emotionally and physically to reach for a drink, a pipe or a needle.
Even those who are brave enough to seek medical treatment for their depression find that the emotional subjects broached during therapy spark the urge to use. Others who begin medical treatment with anti-depressants feel that the medication is acting quickly enough and augment it with drugs and alcohol.
The Unending Cycle
The question of whether drug addiction spawns depression or depression increases the likelihood of drug use and subsequent addiction is one that is hotly debated. One thing is for certain: depression is only made worse but substance abuse. The immediate feeling of euphoria or relaxation is replaced as soon as the drugs and alcohol wears off with an even deeper depression combined with fatigue and, in some cases, guilt and anxiety. Continued use leads to addiction and fundamental changes in the brain that make existing psychological conditions even worse and sometimes create new forms of psychosis depending upon the drug, dose and length of addiction. It’s a never ending cycle. The only way to break it is to undergo treatment for both disorders simultaneously in a program.
If you are addicted to drugs and experience mild depression, bipolar disorder, manic depression or depressive symptoms that suggest the existence of one of these psychological problems, you should know that it is virtually impossible to treat one with also dealing with the other. Too often, addicts are told by professionals that they must seek treatment for their drug addiction before they get help with their depression. Unfortunately, the body doesn’t work that way. The disorders are not separate and neither should be their treatments. To treat drug addiction without also treating depression is like using duct tape to fix a leak. It may work for a little while but soon enough it will need to be dealt with again and this time, it will be much more serious.
Treatment at The Canyon
At The Oaks Treatment Center, we don’t believe it is possible to treat drug addiction without treating symptoms of depression at the same time. Through our treatment program, we provide a number of multi-faceted therapies chosen based on their abilities to speak to both disorders at the same time. One-on-one therapy sessions as well as support groups and healing life nutrition join these therapeutic options to create a comprehensive treatment program designed specifically for those who suffer from both depression and drug and alcohol addiction.
If you would like more information on the connection between drug addiction and depression or would like to find out more about the treatment available at The Oaks Treatment Center