Depression and Substance Abuse

Drug abuse

Drug abuse is one of the major health crisis that affects the world on a global scale. It is no secret that there has always been a correlation between depression and substance abuse.

Depression is frequently found as comorbidity among patients with substance abuse, meaning a person can have depression and struggle with depression at the same time.

Comorbidity means that more than one disease or condition is usually present in the same person at the same time.

A person who is suffering from depression encounters feelings of hopelessness, worthlessness, and loneliness, which often lead one to drug abuse and vice versa. A depressed person can consume alcohol or other drugs like cocaine, heroin, etc. to get a ‘high’ an elevated mood.

Drugs are used or as a form of escapism, but substances like alcohol which is known as a depressant can increase feelings of worthlessness and despair.
All the feelings the person was trying to avoid tend to return once the drugs or substances wear off, therefore left with the battle of facing depression.

What Are The Signs Of Depression?

According to PSYCOM, roughly one-third of adults who have a substance use disorder suffer from depression. Among individuals with recurring major depression, roughly 16.5 percent have an alcohol use disorder and 18 percent have a drug use disorder.

Because of the comorbidity that lies between depression and substance abuse, drug use symptoms can mirror symptoms of depression which often leads to misdiagnosis.

The majority of patients go untreated because of this complexity. To make matters worse, depression tends to look different depending on the person experiencing the disorder. Some can exhibit classic signs like low moods and worthlessness while others can exhibit signs of anger and irritability.

Other signs of depression include:

  • Less interest in or pleasure from daily activities
  • Significant weight loss or gain, or appetite changes
  • Insomnia or excessive sleepiness
  • Physical agitation or lethargy
  • Fatigue and lack of energy
  • Feeling worthless or excessively guilty
  • Inability to think or concentrate
  • Recurring thoughts of death or suicide

To read more about depression, click here

What Are The Signs of Substance abuse?

Learning to notice signs of substance abuse is one of the most crucial steps in helping yourself or a loved one begin the journey to finding recovery. It is important to have knowledge of the signs in case you suspect a friend, family member, is battling substance abuse or addiction. Signs tend to range from behavioral to physical and psychological.

  1. Behavioral signs include:
  • Having no sense of control
  • Living in constant denial/hiding the addiction
  • Obsessive thinking
  • Ignoring the physical and mental harm that comes with addiction

Physical signs of addiction tend to manifest as side effects of use, during an overdose, or as a result of withdrawal. It can become extremely difficult for someone to trace the cause of the physical signs but severe effects will require immediate medical attention.

  1. Physical signs include:
  • Slurred speech
  • Looking unkempt
  • Poor physical coordination
  • Unusual body odors
  • Insomnia
  • Bloodshot eyes
  • Sudden weight loss or gain
  • Enlarged or small pupils


Withdrawal symptoms arise when the body begins to adjust to the absence of familiar quantities of a drug. It is a natural process but withdrawal can be dangerous.

With substance abuse wreaking havoc on one’s emotional and physical state, damage to the mental state is definite.

  1. Psychological signs include:
  • Anxiousness
  • Inattentiveness
  • Lack of motivation
  • Irritability or angry outbursts
  • Changes in personality or attitude
  • Emotional and mental withdrawing from people
  • Sudden mood swings
  • Unexplained paranoia

It is essential to keep in mind that different signs arise with the kind of substance being abused like alcohol, heroin, etc. To learn to recognize these specific signs please click this Signs Of an Alcohol Problem

Family members and friends are usually the main players in getting the victim to seek rehab. With the oppositions that come with the victim seeking help willingly due to denial, Learning to recognize the signs and symptoms of drug abuse will often convict a concerned person to action.

If you happen to be struggling with substance abuse or addiction and are in denial please ask yourself these questions.

  1. Do you need more of the substance to create the desired effect you always feel?
  2. Do you use drugs or alcohol in situations where it is physically hazardous to do so?
  3. Do you use drugs or alcohol for longer or in larger amounts than you anticipated?
  4. Do you experience cravings occasionally after not using them for a while?
  5. Despite the use of substance abuse affecting your relationships, do you still partake in it?
  6. Does engaging in substance abuse interfere with your daily life activities like school, work, and family?

If this is you, it is important to take the step of making a better life for you and your future. Battling substance abuse issues and drug addiction is definitely not the end of your story but the beginning.

I am not a health specialist but there are comprehensive treatments that deal with depression and substance abuse.

Resources

Start Your Recovery is an organization that offers a single source of reputable, objective information about signs, symptoms, conditions, treatment options, and resources to people who are dealing with substance abuse issues.

Their mission is to break through the complexities that come with different forms of substance abuse issues and to help people the victims at any stage of their recovery. This information is readily available for Family members, friends, and even co-workers who have a loved one that is dealing with substance abuse issues.

Start Your Recovery has brought together leading clinicians and experts in substance use treatment and recovery from nonprofit, academic, and government institutions to serve you. Some of them are The Education Development Center, The Jed Foundation(JED), John Hopkins University School of Medicine, The Veterans Health Administration, Yale University School of Medicine.

Upon visiting their site, you can listen to stories of people who have overcome the battle of addiction and learn/implement some of their victories into your journey.

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