Depression is classified as a mental illness that can lead to substance abuse in different ways. In most cases, depression and substance abuse often co-occur, leading to addiction and possibly, dependence. Also, the relationship between depression and substance abuse is bi-directional. This means that if you abuse substances, then you are more likely to suffer from depression, and vice versa.
Additionally, being depressed can make you drink or abuse drugs to lift your mood or to escape from feelings of misery or guilt. However, depressant substances like alcohol can increase feelings of fatigue or sadness. Conversely, you can experience depression the moment the effects of drugs wear off or as you struggle to cope with how the addiction has affected your life.
Also, depression is a mood disorder that is capable of wreaking havoc on your life. It often comes with feelings of hopelessness, guilt, numbness, grief, and loneliness. Notably, it is this numbness i.e the inability to feel anything at all; that has driven many to substance abuse. Alcohol and drugs provide a shock to the brain such that feelings will emerge once again after months of living in depression. Though the feelings are direct effects of the substance, it is possible to find relief and comfort in them. This is a situation that leads to substance abuse.
Generally, many substance abuse cases start with someone trying to self-medicate anxiety or depression. Addiction and mood disorders go hand in hand in this way. If you or your loved ones are experiencing the engrossing effects of depression, then it is important that you remain aware of how it can lead to an addiction.
In this article, we will discuss 5 ways depression can cause substance abuse. This way, you can know what to do to avoid addiction and possible dependency on controlled substances.
How Depression Can Cause Substance Abuse
To help you identify the warning signs, and finally escape substance abuse or addiction, below are five (5) ways that depression can lead to substance abuse:
If Can Make You Too Scared To Ask For Help
If you’re living in depression, asking for help may be something difficult to handle. However, don’t be scared to ask for help. Sometimes, finding the courage to speak up will help you recover in the long run. As your self-esteem plummets and the will to do virtually anything at all reduces, the thought of asking for help can become overwhelming. Also, mood disorders notably come with undue guilt and shame. This then further isolates your mind and prevents you from seeking potential help.
However, the complexity of mood disorders is such that the symptoms aren’t always easy to identify. So, even if you summon the courage to ask for help, it can be terrifying to try to describe the ambiguous lack of interest you’ve developed. This ambiguity that comes with depression can push an affected individual to turn to substances for drugs and relief.
You May Not Realize It Quickly
Typically, the effects of depression can glide up on you so slowly that you might not realize what you are dealing with. For working professionals, the oppressive exhaustion that comes with depression can lead to stimulants. Usually, this is used as a stopgap to get through a workday.
Also, the numbness and disinterest that depression usually brings can easily be reversed with a bottle of wine or an opioid. Therefore, if you are not able to recognize that you’re dealing with depression, these unhealthy coping mechanisms become the norm. This is one of the topmost ways in which depression can cause substance abuse and possible addiction.
If this is the case with you, it is important to get expert treatment for depression ASAP. Lingering symptoms for longer than six (6) months should warrant attention.
Irrational Fear Of Psychiatric Drugs
Another way in which depression can lead to substance abuse is through fear. Most people who are depressed start to get scared of certain situations. Most of the time, this fear comes with feelings of anxiety and paranoia.
The fear of using psychiatric drugs, being afraid of standing in front of a psychiatrist and more. All of these can constitute the affected individual turning to controlled substances for relief. Although psychiatric medications are among the most commonly prescribed in the pharmaceutical industry, many people still fear its damaging effects.
Due to the feelings of paranoia and anxiety that may come with depression, most people fear the side effects of medication. For some, it’s a question of it affecting their personality and the ability to function. However, this is not how it works. Most of the drugs are drugs that stimulate your mind and body, and also revitalize your mental health.
The Stigma Associated With Depression
Although the world has advanced in the knowledge of mental health issues, there still exists a negative stigma regarding mental health issues. Naturally, the fear of this stigma causes many to stay silent during their struggle. If you fear what others will think, say, or feel about you due to depression, it’s only normal.
However, you have to find it within yourself to change this mentality. Typically, sessions with depression treatment experts may help. In a bid to help yourself beat depression, you should strive to conquer your fear.
Feeling Unworthy of Recovery
Another way depression can cause substance abuse is the feeling that you can’t recover. A good percentage of people dealing with depression feel that they are not worthy of better mental health. Perhaps past treatment or a history of emotional abuse may be factors here. However, in a bid to stay “sane”, these people often turn to the self-destructive habit of using controlled substances.
Opting for the use of the substance has become the daily routine of people who feel they cannot recover from depression. Additionally, depression can do many things to the mind. Ultimately, the most damaging thing depression can do to your mental health is eliminating your self-worth.
Low neurotransmitter or ruminating thoughts and low flow can lead you down a rabbit hole of self-loathing. While this is mostly an unconscious endeavour, it seriously interferes with the motivation to get better.
It’s no secret that there is a strong connection between substance use and mental illness. Depression is one of the mental health issues that can cause addiction problems.
Additionally, heavy substance abuse can certainly lead to depression for many, but not usually the case for everybody. To cap it off, depression paves the way for addiction. As a result, getting expert help to manage depression is vital.