Depression and Addiction

Last Updated: Feb 24th 2020

Reviewed by Brittany Polansky

Approximately half of all people with a mental illness struggle with a drug or alcohol dependence as well. More specifically, many people struggle with depression. Clearly, there’s a link between depression and addiction. Take a closer look at how they impact each other and how to effectively confront both.

Depression Can Lead to Substance Abuse

There are many different factors leading to depression. Sometimes, it’s purely situational. If these feelings don’t disappear and become a permanent state, many people self-medicate in order to cope. That’s why it’s so important to address mental health, seek out a diagnosis, and get the necessary treatment.

Using drugs or alcohol to cope with depression isn’t unusual, however, it’s certainly not effective. In the short term, it leads to increased dopamine levels. However, in the long term, drug addiction doesn’t make your life any easier. In fact, it overcomplicates it and often leads to increased depression.

Substance Abuse Can Lead to Depression

Although mental health problems lead to substance abuse, the reverse is also true. Some people abuse substances which, ultimately develops into addiction. When brain chemistry changes to accommodate a drug or alcohol addiction, finding pleasure outside of substance abuse is extremely difficult.

If the best parts of life no longer bring you joy, depression may be the culprit. Fortunately, feelings of sadness and gloom also dissipate once substance abuse ends.

Risk of Relapse

Relapse is a serious risk for anyone trying to overcome an addiction. More than half of those who complete addiction treatment relapse at least once. Often, mental health conditions affect the likelihood of relapse.

If a person receives addiction treatment, but depression continues, relapse is more likely. If an underlying mental illness is present, treating physical addiction symptoms is like putting a small bandage on an open wound. Therefore, mental health counseling, therapy, and pharmacological assistance are necessary to reach lifelong recovery.

Dual Diagnosis Treatment for Depression and Addiction

The best way to address addiction and mental health is with dual diagnosis treatment. This treats both issues simultaneously. As mentioned before, tackling one issue without the other is never successful.

At 1st Step Behavioral Health, patients look forward to extensive dual diagnosis care. Comprehensive treatment methods boost self-esteem and guide you to recovery. These include:

Depression and addiction clearly affect one another, and dual diagnosis treatment is the best way to handle both simultaneously. At 1st Step Behavioral Health in Pompano Beach, Florida, embark on a journey to lasting physical and mental health. Work toward recovery by calling (866) 319-6126 today. It’s never too late to get help, so never hesitate to reach out.

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.