by Dominic Bursnell
If you are depressed and anxious, will you discuss the issue with your closest friends or would you rather go the bar and drink yourself into a stupor? You want to sleep but the anxiety is keeping you from relaxing enough. You want oblivion and you seek the solace of drugs. Individuals have varying thresholds: for some the smallest amount of stress can make them depressed, while others take every problem with a grain of salt. However, most individuals are vulnerable to negative circumstances like the loss of a job, a broken relationship or a poor job evaluation.
Comorbidity of Depression and Addiction
- The link between depression and addiction holds true for nicotine and alcohol, the more traditional substances for addiction that is easily available. Nobody knows why smokers tend to be more depressed than non-smokers but people who smoke assume they will better with nicotine. Smoking does not cure depression but creates a lot of health problems.
- Individuals who suffer from depression would rather seek out drug dealers than therapists because drugs provide them with that brief “high” that makes them forget their issues in life. Others seek relief in eating, gambling, sex and alcohol. Stress can be the trigger for addiction and individuals take drugs with the hope of gaining relief. Individuals who use recreational drugs like cannabis, ecstasy and heroin do so because it changes their mood.
- Addiction is sometimes used to self medicate depression like when the smoker consumes a pack of cigarettes to get rid of anxiety. A person also tends to drink to numb the pain and drown whatever negative thoughts beseech him. Alcoholics may continue to hit the bottle even if they know that it is not a long lasting solution to their problem.
- There are a host of other factors that make people prone to depression like gender, genetics, environment and availability of money. Based on research, men are more prone to addiction before depression while women will typically experience depression before addiction. Typically a family history of depression reveals a genetic tendency to suffer severe episodes of depression. Medication is usually used to manage this kind of illness.
- The sad thing though is the fact that curing depression will not automatically treat addiction. Once the individual becomes hooked on alcohol or drugs, he has to undergo rehabilitation and treatment to get rid of the dependence. Consequently, many addicts can develop clinical depression as a result of their addiction and both have to be treated until full recovery is obtained.
How to help someone who is depressed and using drugs?
Qualified medical practitioners can sort out what role drugs play in depression whether it a part of withdrawal symptoms or if it is the underlying cause for the addiction. The best case scenario is to help the individual control his addiction since the withdrawal process can produce periods of depression. If you are suffering from this kind of situation, you can undertake the following steps.
- Keep a tight control over your drug use so that it doesn’t get worse. Seek for help and support through rehabilitation and treatment.
- Be honest with your doctor. Confide in him and share the reasons why you turned to drugs. This information will make it easier for them to customize a treatment program that is suitable for your addiction and depression.
- Help from social services may be a good thing to consider since your drug addiction has surely caused significant financial problems like unpaid debts and mortgages. If these issues don’t get sorted out, they can worsen your problem and will contribute to another depressing episode to forestall your recovery.
A common problem is that too few people seek help. They assume that depression is a passing episode in their life and it cannot be all too serious for therapy. The truth is you don’t need to suffer a lot of symptoms to consult your doctor about getting treatment.
Author Bio: Dominic is the in-house blogger for the new Rehab Today Blog (http://www.rehabtoday.com/), which is the home of The Perry Clayman Project – a 12 step abstinence based drug and alcohol rehab program registered with the CQC and a listed contributor to the NDTMS in the UK –
Image Credit: http://www.flickr.com/photos/lindseykone/5362282427