Man rests head on hands as he struggles with depression and addiction

Why Do People with Depression Often Abuse Drugs?

If you struggle with depression, it is not unusual to feel the need to self-medicate. For some people, using drugs or alcohol is the only way to alleviate the emotional pain of depression symptoms. Unfortunately, substance abuse can worsen your mental health, so it is essential to understand how to address depression and drug abuse properly.

Depression and addiction often require a dual diagnosis treatment approach. Washburn House offers a full range of addiction and mental health treatment programs for all your recovery needs. Contact us at 855.298.3104 to learn more about how we treat drug abuse and depression at our facility.

What Is Depression?

Depression is a mental health disorder that is most well-known for causing sadness and low mood. However, a depressive disorder can cause many additional symptoms, including:

  • Loss of interest in activities you once enjoyed
  • Inability to concentrate
  • Irritability
  • Difficulty sleeping or excessive sleeping
  • Restlessness
  • Increased or decreased appetite
  • Physical aches and pains
  • Fatigue

If you experience these symptoms for two weeks or more, your doctor may diagnose you with a depressive disorder. There is treatment available, but many people struggle with undiagnosed depression, choosing instead to deal with the symptoms on their own. And in some cases, they may not even realize that their symptoms are related to depression. 

Left untreated, depression can increase your risk for drug abuse and possible addiction. The discomfort of your symptoms can be challenging to manage on your own. Long-lasting feelings of sadness and hopelessness can leave you yearning for anything that can make you feel better, even just temporarily. 

Some people with depression use stimulant drugs like cocaine or Adderall to help jolt them out of their fatigue and brain fog. Others experiment with benzodiazepines to take the edge off their restlessness and help them sleep. And if depression has led to physical pain, a person may try opioid drugs for relief. These drugs also have euphoric effects, which can be incredibly tempting for someone struggling to find happiness in their life once again.

Although drugs can make depression symptoms seem to fade away, the effects are fleeting, and you will often feel worse once the high wears off. This is how the cycle of addiction begins—you enjoy the relief drugs provide from depression, feel worse when the effects wear off, then take more to feel better once again.

How Can You Recover from Depression and Drug Abuse?

If you are depressed and have been self-medicating with drugs, it is important to get treatment for depression and drug abuse together. You can do this by:

  • Scheduling an appointment with your primary care physician – Your doctor can prescribe medications to ease symptoms of depression so that you can function better daily. They may also be able to prescribe medication to help you manage drug withdrawal symptoms or refer you to an addiction treatment facility.
  • Getting help from a therapist – A counselor can help you learn how to cope with negative thoughts, feelings, and behaviors that result from depression and substance use disorders.
  • Attending support group meetings – There are many support groups available in person and online for people who suffer from depression and co-occurring addictions. These are excellent resources to help you through difficult times while also better understanding your condition. You can learn how others in your situation manage their symptoms and avoid or minimize triggers.

For the most comprehensive depression and addiction treatment, you can enroll in a dual diagnosis treatment program. Addiction treatment facilities offer all the above under one roof, helping streamline your recovery.

Find Relief from Depression and Addiction at Washburn House

Depression and drug abuse are both very serious issues. But when you put your trust in Washburn House, you can find the light at the end of the tunnel. Our comprehensive dual diagnosis treatment programs provide the latest therapies and medication for depression and substance use disorders. Fill out our online form or call us today at 855.298.3104 so we can help lift the dark cloud of depression.

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