Could Your Opioid Addiction be Caused by Depression?

Last Updated: Sep 20th 2019

Reviewed by Brittany Polansky

Addiction is very complex. There are so many factors that can contribute to the development of a substance use problem. But, it’s very common to find that individuals who are dealing with an addiction problem are also suffering from a mental health disorder. In fact, it’s been reported that over 40% of those who have a problem with substance use also have a mental health disorder.

Depression, also called clinical depression or major depressive disorder, is one of the most common types of mental health disorders that affect people who have alcohol or drug addictions. This particular disorder impacts thousands, even millions, of lives every year. And it most certainly has made a name for itself amongst the population of those addicted to drugs.

In some cases, clinical depression leads to substance dependence and addiction. You see, many individuals use opioid prescriptions which are generally designed to treat moderate to severe pain. As a result of continued and excessive opioid use, some people become dependent on opioids. Some may also develop an addiction to these substances.

If you’ve been suffering from an opioid addiction problem, it’s possible that depression is one of the main causes of your struggle. If so, you’re not alone; there are many others who are suffering from the co-occurring disorders of addiction and depression. Thankfully, though, there is hope through professional treatment!

How are Depression and Opioid Addiction Connected?

Again, some people begin using opioid medication as recommended by a medical professional. After using these medications for a while, individuals may develop a tolerance for these substances. This means that their bodies become so used to the effects of the opioid medications that individuals need to use a higher dosage in order to get the desired result.

As people build tolerance for opioids, their bodies begin to depend on the substance. It becomes difficult for them to function or feel normal without using opioids. After a while, they may even become addicted to the drugs, having an uncontrollable craving for them.

In other cases, people may begin to use opioids to treat pain in their bodies and, after using these medications, develop clinical depression.

When a person is suffering from both depression and opioid addiction, the co-occurring disorders tend to impact one another, making the effects of each one even worse. In other words, people who struggle with clinical depression may become even more involved in substance abuse. And an individual who is suffering from an opioid addiction problem may become more deeply depressed over time.

The Challenges of Living With Depression

Unfortunately, people who are suffering from depression often feel hopeless and helpless. If you are dealing with the effects of major depressive disorder in your life, you know how difficult it can be to live with depressive disorder. It’s challenging to communicate what you’re experiencing and connect with your loved ones.

Depression deprives people of the happiness they deserve, often causing individuals to feel discouraged and downhearted for days, weeks, years, and even months at a time.

Sometimes, people who are dealing with clinical depression lose interest in activities they once enjoyed. The things they were passionate about seem to become completely unimportant to them as they feel overwhelmed by the effects of depression.

Individuals who suffer from clinical depression frequently have feelings of loneliness. They may isolate and distance themselves from the people who care about them. In most situations, people who are living with depression feel trapped, as if they can’t break free.

The pressure and discomfort of living with depression often cause people to turn to things that may give them at least temporary relief. Sadly, many individuals resort to alcohol use. Others may turn to drugs, such as opioids.

Many may become dependent on opioid medication, such as Vicodin or OxyContin. Other individuals may begin to use illicit forms of the drug, such as heroin.

It’s common to believe that illicit drug use and addiction are more harmful and dangerous than the problems people develop after using prescription opioids. But, the truth is that any type of substance abuse can lead to very serious effects.

So, whether you are struggling with an addiction to prescription medication or an illicit drug like heroin, it’s important to seek professional help right away.

When You’re Dealing With Depression and Addiction

On its own, the battle against depression is extremely overwhelming and challenging. Those who are dealing with clinical depression often struggle to find comfort and peace. Relief is extremely hard to find.

So, again, many people attempt to find it in drugs or alcohol. Opioid use is certainly a common problem amongst those who are dealing with depression. Even though these substances may seem to help relieve the pressures and symptoms of depression, they can be extremely harmful to those who abuse them and become addicted to them.

Opioid use can cause:

  • Nausea
  • Confusion
  • Drowsiness
  • Constipation
  • Breathing problems

If a person continues to use opioid drugs and become dependent on or addicted to them, he or she might lose control over the drug use. As a result of this uncontrollable use of opioids, many individuals find themselves at risk for overdose.

Opioids tend to slow down one’s breathing. So, after a person uses an excessive amount of opioids, the amount of oxygen that reaches the brain will decrease. This can lead to unconsciousness and a state of coma. It’s possible that the individual will suffer from permanent brain damage. But, the results can also be fatal. So, it’s important to end opioid abuse and addiction as soon as possible in order to avoid an overdose.

Help is Available at Our Pompano Beach Treatment Center!

If you are struggling with opioid addiction and depression, there is hope for you. You don’t have to feel bound by these issues any longer. Here at 1st Step Behavioral Health, we offer professional detox and treatment programs for those who are suffering from addiction.

If you want to become free from substance abuse, please contact us by calling (866) 319-6126.

Resources:

https://www.addictioncenter.com/addiction/depression-and-addiction/

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/29505419

https://www.drugabuse.gov/publications/drugfacts/prescription-opioids

Reviewed for Medical & Clinical Accuracy by Brittany Polansky

Brittany PolanskyBrittany has been working in behavioral health since 2012 and is a Primary Clinician at our facility. She is an LCSW and holds a master’s degree in social work. She has great experience with chemical dependency and co-occurring mental health diagnoses as well as various therapeutic techniques. Brittany is passionate about treating all clients with dignity and respect, and providing a safe environment where clients can begin their healing journey in recovery.