First Signs of Depression and Drug Abuse
Major Depression is a serious mental illness that affects people in different ways. Sometimes, people turn to substance use to deal with their depression and anxiety, which may inadvertently make their mental health disorder worse.
What are the early signs of depression that people miss?
Everyone can have low moods and feel depressed from time to time, but when you have persistent, unshakable major depression, it could be a result of clinical depression. Some of the early signs of depression are:
- Feeling hopeless
- Loss of interest in daily activities
- Sleep changes, either insomnia or sleeping too much
- Lack of energy
- Anger and irritability
- Changes in appetite or weight changes
- Reckless behavior
- low sex drive
- Unexplained aches and pains
- Self-loathing, including strong feelings of worthlessness or guilt.
How do I know when depression is severe?
It is important to note that there are several types of depression that exist on a spectrum. Mild depression can occur during periods of stress but resolve with time. Moderate to severe depression can come with chronic mental and physical symptoms and may require some form of treatment. Severity of the condition must be assessed by a mental health professional or doctor, but some key signs and symptoms include:
- Psychosis, with symptoms of delusions and hallucinations, can indicate a person may be experiencing a break from reality and having psychotic depression.
- Suicidal thoughts and behaviors. Including talking about wanting to die, making plans, or suicide attempt.
- Melancholia, which is a level of depression which causes a loss of interest in almost everything in your life. Can be accompanied by slow movement, trouble concentrating and changes in appetite.
How does depression affect addiction?
Symptoms associated with major depression can cause people to use alcohol or drugs as a way to self medicate and cope with their signs and symptoms. Even though they may get temporary relief, substance abuse can make these signs and symptoms worse after their effects have worn off. Depression in adults may lead to more alcohol or drugs to deal with the new, exacerbated depressive symptoms and could build tolerance. They will need to use more of the substances to get the same effect and can cause dependence. This can lead to psychological and physical addiction, as well as mood disorders. They need the alcohol or drug in order to function because when they stop using, they develop withdrawal symptoms.
Does depression make you more prone to addiction?
Although the symptoms of depression can drive someone towards substance use as a way to cope with their depressive symptoms. Prolonged and heavy drug or alcohol abuse can increase the risk of addiction, especially if the person does not find healthier ways to manage their depressive disorders.
How can substance abuse lead to mental illness?
Substance abuse can also lead to mental illness, like major depressive disorder. Heavy and frequent alcohol or drug use can alter the brain physically and chemically. Many substances cause a rush of feel-good chemicals in the brain’s reward center. Over time, the brain becomes dependent on these substances to artificially get these chemicals. When the person stops using, it no longer has these endorphins and can lead to feelings of anxiety and depression. Abusing substances can also trigger or intensify feelings of sadness, hopelessness and loneliness, which are associated with depression.
Why do mental health disorders coexist with substance use?
When mental health disorders and substance use disorder exist together, it is called a co-occurring disorder. This is often seen with addiction because many people with mental illness use alcohol or drug as a way to self medicate. Also, drugs and alcohol can lead to mental health disorders.
If you or someone you love is dealing with major depression and addiction, you can stop the cycle. At DayBreak Treatment Solutions our dual diagnosis treatment program aims to treat addiction and mental health conditions together. Treating both disorders concurrently give you the best chance of full recovery from drugs and alcohol. Don’t hesitate to reach out to help and give us a call today at (844) 695-0083.