Drug addiction is a serious problem that can lead to major health and social issues. If you are addicted to drugs you may have difficulty quitting on your own, and may need professional help to overcome the addiction.

If you also suffer from depression, you know that these two conditions can interact in a variety of ways. One can worsen the symptoms of the other, and vice versa. It can be a difficult cycle to break, but it’s one that’s worth fighting for. 

So, how do these two conditions interact? What are some of the signs and symptoms? And What can be done to treat each disease when they’re coupled together? Below, we’ll explore how drug addiction and depression interact as well as provide some tips on how to cope with these conditions if you or someone you love is struggling.

What is Drug Addiction And What Are The Symptoms?

Symptoms of drug addiction can vary depending on the person and the drug they are addicted to, but there are some common signs that indicate someone is struggling with an addiction. These include:

  • Experiencing intense cravings for the drug
  • Engaging in risky or harmful behaviors in order to get the drug. These can include behaviors like stealing, prostitution and other illegal behaviors. 
  • Continuing to use the drug despite negative consequences. These consequences can include run-ins with the law, health issues, and other detriments to the user’s life.
  • Needing increasing amounts of the drug in order to get the desired effect. This is called tolerance. 
  • The user can’t stop taking the drugs, even if you would like to.
  • The user loses interest in things they once liked to do to use the drug.
  • Hiding the drug use and its effects from loved ones. 

What Is Depression, And What Are The Symptoms Of Depression?

Depression is a mental disorder that can cause a person to feel persistently sad or low, have trouble sleeping or eating, and lose interest in activities they once enjoyed. Depression affects how a person thinks, feels, and behaves, and can lead to physical health problems. It is different from feeling down or going through a tough time – depression is more serious and long-lasting. Clinically, a person must experience a number of the symptoms of depression consecutively for more than two weeks to be diagnosed with depression, and the feeling must not be as a result of loss. 

Drug addiction and depression often go hand-in-hand. People who are struggling with drug addiction may be self-medicating to cope with underlying mental health issues like depression. Depression can also be caused by chronic drug use, as it alters brain chemistry. In either case, it’s important to get treatment for both conditions at the same time.

Symptoms of Depression Include: 

  • Persistent sad, anxious, or “empty” mood 
  • Loss of interest or pleasure in activities once enjoyed 
  • Decreased energy, fatigue, being “slowed down” 
  • Difficulty concentrating, remembering, making decisions 
  • Insomnia, early-morning awakening, or oversleeping 
  • Appetite and/or weight changes (increase or decrease) 
  • Thoughts of death or suicide; suicide attempts 
  • Restlessness or irritability 
  • Persistent physical symptoms that do not respond to treatment (e.g., headaches, digestive disorders)

Underlying Causes Of Drug Addiction

There are a number of underlying causes of drug addiction, including mental health problems, trauma, and stress. Depression can be one of these. Drug addiction is a complex disease that has no one cause.

Mental health problems like depression are one of the most common underlying causes of drug addiction. Many people who suffer from mental health disorders turn to drugs as a way to self-medicate. However, drugs like alcohol can also contribute to depression, creating a vicious cycle where the user uses drugs or alcohol to relieve the depression, they make the user more depressed, and then the user uses again, starting the cycle over again. 

Trauma is another common cause of drug addiction. People who have experienced traumatic events may turn to drugs as a way to numb the pain or escape from reality. Stress can contribute too, as well as genetic factors. It’s been estimated that half of addiction potential is due to hereditary factors. 

Treatment For Drug Addiction

The good news is that there is help available. If you or someone you love is struggling with drug addiction and depression, there is professional help available. There are also treatment options  that can address both conditions simultaneously. Treating one without the other is often unsuccessful, and any good treatment will deal with the underlying causes of addiction as well. 

There are many different types of treatment available for drug addiction and depression, including medication and talk therapy. It’s important to work with a treatment provider who can tailor a plan specifically for you. Some common approaches to treatment include:

Behavioral therapy: This type of therapy can help you identify the thoughts and behaviors that contribute to your drug use. You’ll also learn new coping skills and ways to deal with triggers and cravings. This kind of therapy can also help you deal with the symptoms of depression. 

Medication: Medication can be used to manage withdrawal symptoms and cravings, as well as any underlying mental health conditions like depression. There are a wide variety of medications available, and they are pretty effective for most people. 

Support groups: Support groups provide a space to share your experiences with others who are going through similar things. They can be a great way to find motivation and stay on track with your recovery goals. Two of the most well known support groups for addiction are AA and NA. There are also support groups for depression as well.

How To Get Help For Depression And Drug Addiction

Depression and drug addiction are two very serious issues that can have a devastating impact on someone’s life. When these two problems intersect, it can create a downward spiral that is difficult to break. However, it is important to remember that there is help available and recovery is possible. 

At Riverwalk Recovery, we offer treatment plans for the unique underlying circumstances of your addiction. Please call today for a consultation. We can be reached at (423) 295-7920 and are looking forward to taking your call. 

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