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How Depression Can Increase the Risk of Addiction

by Melissa Bell
3 minutes read

For most people, low periods are normal. For some, consistently low periods can result in a depressive state. In the United States, approximately 16 million adults have at least one major depressive episode per year. This 6.9 percent of the population, often, struggles in silence.

While the dangers of depression are certainly compounded by isolation, depression itself creates new dangers for individuals. Depression and substance abuse are intimately linked—compounding the struggles of those who experience the mental illness.


The Substance Abuse Connection

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that roughly 10 percent of Americans suffer from prolonged depression, rather than experience depressive episodes. Alongside prescription drug rehab centers, the CDC has further explored depression’s influence over substance abuse.

Research suggests that Americans diagnosed with a mental illness, at some point in life, contribute to 69 percent of the nation’s alcohol consumption. They also consume 84 percent of the nation’s cocaine. More often than not, a person struggling with substance abuse struggles with a mental illness.

The relationship between depression and addiction seems to be bi-directional: Each disorder increases the chances of the other.

Why Does This Connection Exist?

While using drugs tends to trigger the symptoms of depression, like sadness, lethargy, and hopelessness, depressed individuals consume drugs and alcohol to “lift the fog” of the disorder’s weight. Often, treatment for prescription drug abuse results in patients needing treatment for depression.

Unfortunately, an increased use of substances tends to make depression worse. The Journal of Clinical Psychiatry asserts that approximately one in three adults suffering from substance abuse has depression as an underlying factor.

Prescription drug rehab centers, meanwhile, have helped patients better identify the underlying links between substance abuse and depression.

Identifying the Risks

If you or a loved one suffers from depression, it’s important to understand how the illness might be impacting you. If you’ve ever had treatment for prescription drug abuse—or even alcohol abuse—your chances of depression may be higher than those around you.

Take care in watching out for these depression-linked substance abuse warning signs:

  • Do you need substances to have a good time, socially?
  • Do you spend a lot of time finding, using and recovering from substances?
  • Do you have cravings to drink when you feel sad?
  • Have substances impacted your personal relationships?

The Risk of Underlying Disorders

While substance abuse can increase one’s risk for depression, underlying depression may not be entirely situational. Experts suggest that genetics, upbringing and current living situation all impact one’s chance to develop depression.

Alcohol and prescription drug treatment takes this into account, carefully examining the background of anyone who suffers from substance abuse. In many cases, alcohol and drugs are simply used to self-medicate symptoms of underlying mental health issues.

In other cases, the use of prescription drugs may push one over the edge, triggering dormant mental issues. Some drugs well-known to trigger underlying depression, and other mental illnesses, include:

  • Prescription Opiates
  • Cocaine
  • Marijuana
  • Alcohol
  • Prescription stimulants

If you require prescription drug treatment, it’s a good idea to ask your provider about underlying mental issues. A California prescription monitoring program puts the patient first—seeking to alleviate depressive symptoms while treating the substance abuse.

Don’t Lose Hope

There is always help right around the corner. The professional providers in your California prescription monitoring program are highly trained. By examining the core of substance abuse, they help suffering individuals steer clear of abusing substances.

A program’s other providers, meanwhile, help patients discover deeper problems. If you or a loved one suffers from depression, substance abuse or both, getting professional advice or guidance is highly recommended. A counselor can evaluate your mental health and assess the risks, putting you on a path of recovery, growth and long-term happiness.

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