Mental health and substance abuse are connected by a fiendish link, but few mental disorders have as widespread of an impact on the beginnings of substance abuse more so than depression. People who suffer from depression are more liable to engage in substance abuse by self medicating with alcohol, prescription medication, or other drugs. This is not a productive way to deal with mental health problems, though. Here is some information about how depression can trigger addiction…
Addiction strikes at vulnerability
Pretty much nobody sets out to develop a dependence to an illicit substance. Nobody wants to become an addict. The beginnings of addiction typically arise out of times when people feel emotionally vulnerable, and turn to substance abuse as a way to cope with the negative emotions that arise out of that vulnerability.
Self-medicating depression can lead to addiction
Many substances have a positive correlation with the amount of dopamine that our mind is able to create and release, or are able to help muscles relax, even in times of stress. For this reason, it is common for people to turn to substance abuse as a means of self medication. This is particularly true of depression. However, doing this is merely throwing a bandaid on a situation, rather than genuinely solving it.
Addiction can also trigger depression
There is a destructive, self-fulfilling cycle that begins to emerge when depression and substance abuse mix. While depression can be a leaping off point for addiction, so too can long-term substance abuse and dependency throw a person’s brain chemistry out of whack. This means that it is also likely for substance abuse to stimulate the negative effects of a mental disorder, or even make it more likely for someone to develop a mental illness.
It’s important to get help!
When a person struggles with both addiction and depression, it is even more imperative to try to seek out help from someone who truly cares about what that person is going through, and who is invested in them getting better. Otherwise, the cycle will continue to perpetuate itself. If you or someone you know struggles with substance abuse and depression, don’t hesitate to call and seek out help, today!