Opioids and Depression

Could Your Opioid Addiction be Caused by Depression?

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.




alcohol and depression

What Is the Connection Between Alcohol and Depression?

What if you were sliding further into depression without even knowing it?

Many people use alcohol as a coping mechanism to deal with their depression. However, there are many scary links between alcohol and depression.

Wondering what the connection really is? Keep reading to find out!

Chicken and the Egg Problem

There is a simple reason that people are confused about the connections between depression and alcohol. First of all, it’s not always clear which causes which!

For example, many people with depression turn to alcohol as a way to seek relief. This works temporarily because of how alcohol affects the brain (more on this later).

However, alcohol dependence and alcoholism can cause a number of negative consequences in someone’s life. And such consequences put them at extreme risk of developing depression.

We’re going to do a deeper dive into all of the factors surrounding the issue. However, it’s important to understand how each of these things can effectively cause the development of each other.

Depressingly Common

Many people claim to have depression. And morbid jokes about depression have become the regular subject of memes. But just how common is depression?

On average, depression affects one out of every fifteen people every year. And there is a higher potential for depression among those who are in their teens and twenties.

This means that there are over 200,000 people suffering from depression in the United States alone. It’s almost certain that you know someone who is currently suffering.

Now that you know approximately how many people experience depression, it’s important to know how both depression and alcohol affect the chemicals in your brain.

Chemical Connection

As we mentioned before, many who suffer from depression turn towards alcohol as a form of treatment. And this is an approach that may work…right up until it stops working, that is.

Depression is persistent because it involves the chemistry of your brain. When your brain experiences a chemical imbalance, you may experience depression.

This is why most antidepressants seek to restore some of that chemical balance. Unfortunately, most antidepressants are expensive and require prescriptions, meaning that not everyone who needs them will be able to get them.

Because of this, many people turn towards alcohol as a cheaper and more accessible way of treating depression. And while it may provide temporary relief for some people, this relief is not lasting.

Basically, alcohol can temporarily help someone feel good by boosting certain neurotransmitters and blocking others. And it can help someone with activities ranging from socialization to sleep.

When a depressed person stops drinking, though, their depression may be worse. They may experience increased stress levels and feel like many of their symptoms are worse.

Different Kinds of Depression

Alcohol affects many people with depression in different ways. This is largely due to the fact that there are so many different kinds of depression.

Some people experience Seasonal Affective Disorder. As the name implies, SAD symptoms primarily last through the winter, resulting in what many simply identify as the holiday blues.

Psychotic depression is on the more extreme end of things. This can cause extreme paranoia, insomnia, emotional instability, and even hallucinations.

Persistent Depressive Disorder refers to symptoms of depression lasting for two years or more. Such symptoms may include poor self-esteem, difficulty making decisions, poor concentration, and social isolation.

Finally, there’s Major Depression. This is when depression symptoms begin to affect someone’s daily life. Symptoms may include low energy, irritability, frequent crying, and thoughts of suicide.

Alcohol may alternately hold off or exacerbate any and all of these symptoms. So while alcohol affects different depressions in different ways, it’s good for all depressed people to avoid it altogether.

One Thing Leads to Another

We have focused on how depression can lead to alcoholism as a form of coping with symptoms. But how does alcohol consumption itself lead to depression?

First, there is nothing inherently wrong with mild, occasional drinking. And many studies suggest there may even be health benefits to drinking the occasional glass of wine.

However, regular drinking may eventually turn into alcohol dependence or outright alcoholism. And this eventually starts having a negative impact on a person’s personal and professional life.

If someone begins losing friends or even a job due to their drinking, they will experience sadness and regret. And this may eventually blossom into full-blown depression.

It’s true that not every heavy drinker develops depression and not every depressed person is a drinker. But the risk factor for one thing leading to another is very clear.

Diagnosing Depression

You now know exactly how prevalent depression is. But do you know how to diagnose depression in yourself or those you love?

The best way to seek diagnosis is to seek out a medical professional who has experience with depression. However, there are some “warning signs” to be on the lookout for in your own life.

For instance, those whose mood often fluctuates or who experience insomnia may be at risk. Similarly, those who think about harming themselves or others are at risk of depression.

Persistent feelings of sadness are a major warning sign. And, as we have discussed, regular use of alcohol may be a factor.

The final warning sign is whether these feelings have begun to affect your personal or professional life. If the answer is “yes,” then you may well have depression.

Treating Depression

There are many kinds of therapy and forms of medication that can help treat depression. However, those with alcohol dependence and depression may need more specialized treatment.

Numerous treatment centers are able to treat alcohol dependence and depression at the same time. This can help to restore the body and mind simultaneously.

Keep in mind that alcoholism and depression have another big connection: the first step in getting better is admitting that you need help!

Alcohol and Depression: The Bottom Line

Now you know more about the link between alcohol and depression. But do you know who you can turn to for help?

At 1st Step Behavioral Health, we are ready to help you rediscover the real “you” again. To begin that journey, just contact us today!

Opiate Use and the Risk of Suicide

Over 30,000 Americans die each year as the result of opiate use. Recent studies have shown that the risk of suicide doubles for men with opiate addiction and women are 8 times more likely to complete suicide if they have an opiate abuse problem. Opiates raise your risk of depression, while depression may raise your risk of abusing opiates, making it a vicious cycle. All demographics are affected regardless of income, race, sex, religion, and occupation. The risk exists for everyone addicted to opiates.


Are You At Risk?

Symptoms of opiate addiction vary and include physical and behavioral traits. Below are lists of common symptoms those addicted to opiates face.


Physical Symptoms

  • Itching
  • Nausea
  • Exhaustion
  • Sweating
  • Constipation
  • Euphoria
  • Constricted pupils


Behavioral Symptoms

  • Irritability
  • Mood swings
  • Anxiety
  • Withdrawnness
  • Social isolation
  • Feelings of desperation or suicidal ideation
  • Reckless behavior


Recovery and Suicidal Ideation

Recovery is a tumultuous time for an addict. For so long an addict has relied on substances for happiness and relearning this skill while sober can be difficult, but it can be accomplished. Recovery is a long journey that can appear overwhelming at the beginning. This journey often includes major lifestyle changes and may require the addict to remove themselves from certain social situations, which can lead to feelings of isolation and despair. An addict is dealing with both physical and psychological healing while recovering.


What You Can Do

If you are feeling hopeless reach out. Speak with your partner, friend, colleague, or doctor. Do not face these feelings alone and know that there is treatment. Use specific words to explain your feelings or write them down if speaking is too difficult.  Remember that suicidal feelings are temporary and emotions change. There are highly qualified professionals who are there to help, not to judge or condemn. They have successfully helped others with these feelings. Getting help is the most critical step in ending addiction and preventing suicide.

Rehab programs like Oxycodone treatment in Florida can be just the thing needed for some people to end an opioid addiction. Contact us now to learn how to get started.

Depression and Addiction

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.