Renaissance Ranch

The Connection Between Depression and Drug Abuse

Nov 2, 2020

Studies have found a definite connection between mental illness and the abuse of addictive substances. A study by the National Bureau of Economic Research found that about 69 percent of all the alcohol consumed in the United States was by people who have ever experienced mental illness. Even more devastating, people who have ever experienced mental illness have consumed about 84 percent of all the cocaine. It was also discovered that mental illness increases the use of addictive goods. 

Understanding Depression

Experiencing a day where you are inexplicably sad or upset is pretty normal. Every human being has experienced a low point in their lives. For most people, these low periods will come and go and can be easily remedied when they experience something that makes them happy. When you suffer from depression, it’s not that easy to make those low times just go away. 

Depression is a serious mental disability that affects millions of people in the United States. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates that 10 percent of Americans suffer from clinical depression. 

Depression doesn’t always manifest in people the same way. Some people may exhibit more outward signs, while others may have more inward signs. Some signs of depression include:

  • Lack of interest in activities
  • Irritability or mood swings
  • Fatigue
  • Change in appetite
  • Trouble falling asleep 
  • Difficulty concentrating 
  • Lack of energy
  • Suicidal thoughts

The Most Common Types of Depression Someone may be Suffering from:

  • Major Depression – This is one of the most common types of depression, affecting about seven percent of the United States’ population. 
  • Season Affective Disorder (SAD) – This type of depression typically occurs during the winter, but is associated with variations of light. A person must exhibit their symptoms over three consecutive winters in order to be diagnosed with SAD.
  • Dysthymia – This is a milder form of depression. People who suffer from dysthymia experience a continuous “gloomy mood” that lasts around one to two years. It is considered a chronic condition that could lead to major depression.

How Depression Can Lead to Drug Abuse

Studies have found that about one in three adults with a substance abuse disorder also suffer from clinical depression. For individuals who have recurring major depression, it’s been found that roughly 18 percent have a drug use disorder. 

Drug abuse has been found to be a coping method for many who suffer from depression. It provides them with an escape from the overwhelming feelings of despair or guilt and can lift their mood temporarily. These substances can then increase their feelings of sadness or fatigue. 

It has also been found that it is difficult for people to be diagnosed with depression when they are actively using drugs. In fact, depression is one of the main mental illnesses that can co-occur with substance abuse. The relationship between these two disorders is bi-directional. This means that someone suffering from depression is more likely to abuse substances and vice versa.

Co-occurring disorders also have their own unique symptoms that can make it difficult for someone to function in their daily life. They may find it difficult to maintain stability at home or handle any of life’s problems. These co-occurring disorders can also affect each other, especially when untreated. A person suffering from depression may begin to abuse drugs more frequently to try and cope with their depression. 

It has also been found that denial is very common among people who suffer from co-occurring disorders. Admitting that you have a dependency on substances or that you have a mental health issue can be difficult for many to come to terms with or it may leave them feeling ashamed. 

Seeking Treatment 

If you or someone you love is currently suffering from substance abuse and depression, comprehensive treatment is the best way to help them. Studies have found that when paired with counseling and behavioral support, medications like antidepressants are more effective at treating people who are suffering from addiction. People suffering from co-occurring disorders are able to seek treatment through counseling, peer support, medical support, or intensive inpatient treatment programs. 

Drug treatment centers in Utah, like Renaissance Ranch, are able to provide those suffering from addiction with what they need to get on the road to recovery. Our faith-based LDS rehab centers are able to provide spiritual healing as well as clinically proven rehabilitation techniques. Our patients can receive a variety of treatments including one-on-one cognitive-behavioral therapy and group counseling. 

To find out more about Renaissance Ranch’s rehab facilities call 1 (855) 736-7262.