The relationship between depression and substance abuse is very confusing. For a lot of experts, it’s one of the most controversial subjects currently in discussion.
While some experts will argue to the moon and back that depression does not cause substance abuse; rather, that substance abuse leads to depression, there’s not one definitive answer. Using available research, however, we can get pretty close. Insight substance abuse treatment is here to help you understand and help battle your depression.
A lot of the time, addiction causes depression
In the majority of dual diagnosis, when a person is diagnosed with both a mental disorder and substance abuse, the substance abuse comes first.
A good example of this would be an otherwise normal and successful person riding the wave of success and suddenly spiraling into binging drugs. This can be triggered by peer pressure or simple curiosity.
The result is the person’s body no longer functions the way it normally does. The most widely-accepted theory so far is that drugs mess with the way the body’s reward system functions.
As it so happens, the chemicals responsible for this system – e.g. dopamine – are also responsible for making us feel happy on a day-to-day basis. Once this balance is disturbed, depression sets in. Unfortunately, sometimes this condition is permanent.
Depression can lead to substance abuse, too
All of that being said, it’s not that easy to conclude what caused what.
In the event of a traumatic life event, for instance, depression may set in and
compromises how a person deals with problems. Drugs are an easy escape for people
afraid to confront their issues head-on.
What makes drugs such a terrible coping mechanism is that they make the problem
worse because withdrawal symptoms coupled with depression causes nearly
unimaginable pressure on the person’s emotions and thought process. This then leads the
person to use the drugs, even more, leading to a horrible cycle of abuse.
At this point you may be asking: is this important to know – and if so, why?
Normally, people who had depression before they started abusing the drug will need
different kinds of treatment for longer periods of time than those whose depression
resulted from addiction.
Additionally, patients who suffer depression because of substance abuse often find
themselves disconnected from their addicted peers undergoing the same treatment. They
usually don’t realize they had depressive symptoms, so they’re not necessarily dealing with
denial, as is common with depression itself.
How to deal with the answer
Lastly, it’s important to know how to help a person whose depression may be as a result
of one or the other issue in their lives. People are different – some people just can’t
stand drugs, so getting them Prozac won’t help. In most instances of dual diagnosis, the patients are advised to speak to a specialist and possibly admitted to an Insight Substance Abuse Treatment.
No matter how well-intentioned friends and close family networks they can be, they can only have so much understanding of how to deal with patients without proper training.