Are Depression and Addiction Related? Your Questions, Answered

Did you know that close to half of all Americans will suffer from a mental health problem at some point in their lives? And, on top of that over 21 million Americans have at least one addiction. The numbers for both depression and addiction are very high, but is there a link?

Depression is very common among people with substance and alcohol addiction issues. The two seem to be connected but which comes first? The addiction or the depression?

In this article, we’ll answer the question of how are depression and addiction related?

Which Comes First Out of Depression and Addiction?

It’s hard to say which comes first out of addiction vs depression. Some people will develop their addiction first, while others develop depression first. 

A person that abuses any substance may go on to develop depression. For example, this person may become addicted and their addiction will have a negative impact on their life, which contributes toward their depression. 

One study from the National Institute of Health’s Library of Medicine states that alcohol can bring about depression. This is because it alters serotonin levels. People who experience alcohol dependence tend to have lower levels of serotonin. 

On the flip-side of the argument, people who have depression may try to self-medicate with alcohol or drugs. This is generally only a temporary solution as the resulting addiction ends up worsening the depression over time. 

What Substances Cause Depression?

In addition to alcohol, other substances can bring about depression. These include prescribed drugs such as diazepam, painkillers, and allergy medication, or they could also include illegal drugs such as cocaine.

Cannabis has been found to help depression when taken in low doses, however, in higher doses, it can also bring depression on. 

What Can You Do to Treat Addiction?

When dealing with depression and alcohol addiction, you will need to seek assistance for both conditions. 

There are several effective routes that you can take to overcome alcohol and substance addictions, these include entering a rehab program, or taking part in a twelve-step program. 

Many people will choose to engage with more than one program of recovery to ensure they are doing everything in their power to fight their addiction. 

A rehab program will often treat the physical aspects of the addiction, as well as the psychological. You may be given counseling or have access to a psychiatrist

A twelve-step program will address the key issues in your life that surround your addiction and force you to face up to your addiction-related behaviors. 

Overcoming Depression and Addiction

If you are affected by depression and drug addiction, you must seek help. In the first instance, visit your doctor. Engage in a program of recovery and seek psychotherapy for both your depression and addiction. 

For more useful articles on a range of topics, check out the rest of our site.

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