Depression is a mental health condition that impacts millions of Americans every year. It’s estimated that around 21 million adults in the U.S. experienced a depressive episode within the year prior to the study. With depression comes a series of symptoms that often lead the individual to seek out self-medication through substance abuse. In order to better understand depression’s link to addiction, you should first know what depression looks like.
A Closer Look at Depression
It’s common for those with depression to turn to substance abuse whether that be to drugs or alcohol. The reason for which substance is abused can differ between individuals due to the range of symptoms depression can cause which include:
- Insomnia or trouble staying asleep
- Low energy and loss of motivation
- No interest in hobbies or socializing
- Increased anger issues
- Weight gain or loss due to appetite changes
Not every symptom will be felt at once, but many of those who suffer from depression will experience them at some point. Severe cases of depression increase the intensity of these symptoms, sometimes to life-threatening levels such as thoughts of suicide or lack of concern for personal safety.
It’s important to understand that everyone experience low points during their life while true clinical depression lasts for extended periods of time, sometimes even for multiple years. Their symptoms start to make it difficult to focus on school, work, or friends along with a general lack of interest.
What this often leads to is coping with drugs or alcohol either for euphoric effects or to numb themselves emotionally. Pushing the symptoms of depression aside with substance abuse not only worsens the symptoms over time, but it leaves the individual physically and chemically dependent on the substance. Depending on the type of depression, addiction can quickly create other health problems if left unaddressed.
The Different Types of Depression
Major depression is the most common form of the condition and the symptoms have become what most people think of when they think about the mental illness. The increased levels of sadness, inconsistent sleep patterns, loss of energy, and irritability can happen in episodes throughout one’s life.
Dysthymia can be considered the less intense but more consistent variant of major depression. It consists of a general sadness or disinterest in life that lasts for years on end. These symptoms can quickly escalate though when substance abuse and addiction are added to the mix.
Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) comes with the reduced hours of daylight that begin towards the end of summer with symptoms peaking in the winter. Those with SAD experience increased anxiety, emotional eating, mood swings, insomnia, and low energy.
It’s easy to assume that because these symptoms are often cited as reasons someone may start abusing drugs or alcohol, the true cause is the lack of professional medical intervention.
Treatment for Depression and Addiction at Once
Overcoming any type of depression becomes an even greater challenge when addiction is in the picture. Even though both depression and addiction can last a lifetime, they can each be treated and managed to turn debilitating symptoms into small speed bumps easily handled with positive coping mechanisms. Finding the right individualized addiction treatment for co-occurring disorders means choosing a rehab center equipped to properly address both underlying issues.
America’s Rehab Campus is here to provide the exact level of treatment needed to enjoy a life free of both addiction and depression’s worst symptoms. Through multiple types of therapy, medication-assisted treatment, and a team of professional recovery specialists, ARC can help you or someone you love take back control of their life. Simply reach out to the ARC team today to get started.