DOES DEPRESSION LEAD TO ADDICTION?
The most common mental disorder in the United States is major depression. Major depression is defined as at least two weeks of depression and an overall loss of interest. In 2016, about 16.2 million adults in the United States suffered at least one major depressive episode. In 2013, approximately 24.6 million United States citizens, aged 12 and up, used an illegal drug in the past month. Some people suggest that there could be a correlation between drug use and major depression. The question is which one causes which.
Studies suggest that drug use in the United States has been increasing and depression also seems to be a rising number. Major depression is not an easy disorder to cope with, mostly because the individual experiencing major depression does not care to adopt any coping skills that could relieve the depression. The problem is that depression takes away an individual’s motivation and motivation is needed to overcome any adverse situation. There is a significant difference between depression and major depressive disorder.
Clinical psychologists diagnose their clients with major depressive disorder only when the individual has been experiencing the type of depression for two weeks that interferes with work, relationships, and the ability to function in social interactions. If someone has been dealing with this mental disorder for years without seeking professional help, it is no wonder that those individuals often fall into drug use because drugs become the only means of escape from the loneliness of depression. The scary part about using illicit drugs to escape from depression is that once the person wants to stop using those drugs, the withdrawal symptoms that follow will throw them right back into a more profound depression.
Withdrawal symptoms cause not only depression, but also anxiety, nausea, tremors, and agitation. This often leads the individual to relapse on the drug which poses the danger of accidental overdose. A vicious cycle arises from going from depression without medical assistance to drug use to addiction to relapse, and back to depression after withdrawal starts up again. Another thing not often mentioned is that once a tolerance to the drug builds up, the drug user can no longer obtain pleasure from the drug and instead, the only reason they continue to use the drug is to relieve the horrific withdrawal effects.
Statistics support the notion that drug use and mental illness are intertwined because the National Bureau of Economic Research reports that people with mental disorders consume 96% of the alcohol and 84% of the cocaine in the United States. However, the question of whether depression causes drug use or drug use causes depression has not been answered. It is difficult to determine which came first, so most professionals refer to this relationship between drug use and depression as a co-occurring disorder.
Seek professional help if you are experiencing signs of major depression, but if the drug use has already started, it is not too late. Thankfully, there are services out there that are specifically designed to help people overcome and deal with depression. Asana Recovery offers a wide variety of services like detox, rehabilitation, Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, Art Therapy, and more. Call (949) 438-4504 to learn more about their treatment programs.