Can Depression Lead to Substance Abuse & Addiction?

Depression is one of the most widespread and painful conditions in the world. Mental illness has frequently co-existed with substance abuse, meaning people who abuse substances more than likely suffer from depression and the other way around. When you experience depression your first response may be feeling like something is wrong with you, your weak, and trapped in a quicksand of suffering. For us to feel good we must be able to perceive ourselves to be empowered; to be able to change our lives so our needs and desires are met.

Depression can be caused by situations or circumstances in our lives where no matter how hard or how many times we try and try, we don’t get the results we want. So, it feels futile. Futility and depression go hand and hand. It can also be caused by trauma in the past. This condition can bring us into a sense of powerlessness over our lives and create change which comes with many of the symptoms on a physical, emotional, and mental level  which can include lack of energy, suicidal thoughts, lack of interest in activities, trouble with daily functions and concentrating also create changes in brain chemistry.

depression lead to substance abuse and addiction

To Cope or Not to Cope?

We tend to point to the thing a person is addicted to as the cause of the addiction, but it is far from the truth. That’s like noticing flies on garbage on the ground and saying the flies created the trash.

According to reports from The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA).

In 2018, substance use was more common among both adolescents and adults who had a mental health issue than among those who did not have a mental health issue. (SAMSHA)

To cope is to make any specific alteration mentally, physically or emotionally so that you can manage or adapt to something that is causing you distress. A coping mechanism is a particular technique, procedure, or process that manages or creates relief and adaptation to the pain. Stress is severe when it comes to our overall sense of wellbeing. We cannot thrive in an environment of fear. These causal factors can lead to many addictions to escape our pain.

What is Addiction?

Understanding addiction, bring yourself to space where you can imagine having a deep wound with no way to directly address the injury to heal it, or the individual believes there is no way to do so. The next step in the person’s mind is to find a way to alleviate the pain of the wound so they can continue to live their lives. This is an addiction. People often abuse alcohol or drugs to ease the symptoms of depression and to cope with other challenging emotions. It is in essence, self-administered pain medication they prescribe to themselves.

Specific variables like what type of pain often leads to what substance or behavior a person develops an addiction was. A person who feels severe powerlessness and prone to depression might be more likely to become addicted to ‘uppers’ like cocaine. The specific kind of relief that the addictive substance or behavior provides is an indication of the type of pain that specific addictive substance or behavior offers relief from. No one chooses to feel depressed and shouldn’t be ashamed nor if they developed an addiction. We have the power to overcome an addiction of any kind with proper care and understanding.

At Recreate Life Counseling, we want our clients to develop habits and thinking patterns that allow for happiness and recovery for the long term. That’s why the focus of our IOP/PHP drug treatment programs is to help clients recreate their lives. This ensures that they have the best chance for long-term recovery. With a plan of action that is fine-tuned to the individual’s personal vision, the addict that was once struggling in so many life areas soon become well adjusted, content, and driven by a purpose all their own. We design and implement our programs to achieve this balance of plan and vision.