It is not a secret that there is a strong connection between depression and drug addiction. Most people who are struggling with polysubstance abuse experience anxiety and depression. Plus, individuals battling depression or anxiety are more likely to self-medicate with substances like alcohol and drugs as it temporarily reduces pain and boosts happiness. Unfortunately, such substances are highly addictive and can lead to severe health consequences. The more your intake, the more the chances of you becoming dependent on the substance. Over time, addiction causes long-term health diseases and worsened depression.

What Is Depression?

Depression, in simple words, is a mental illness that wreaks havoc on the sufferer’s life. Generally, it is followed by the feeling of isolation, numbness, sadness, and hopelessness. People with depression often feel extremely numb and do not feel anything at all. Ultimately it leads them to substance abuse. Alcohol and drugs activate the reward system of the brain and restart the flow of feelings in depressed people. Even though these newborn feelings are directly caused by the substance, depressed individuals feel a much-needed relief.

Most addiction cases start when people try to self-medicate their depression or anxiety. While drugs and alcohol offer relief for the short term, when the euphoria wears off, the feeling of sadness and numbness come back.

In this article, we shed light on how depression can be a vulnerability factor for drug addiction. So, without further ado, let’s quickly see how depression can lead to substance addiction.

Ways Depression May Lead To Drug or Alcohol Addiction

Remember that depression is not the cause of substance addiction. Many things can lead a person to depression and eventually make them more susceptible to addiction. Inability to deal with stressful feelings is one of the major underlying causes of depression. Coincidentally, the same reason leads to addiction as well.

Normally, addiction and several mental illnesses go hand in hand. If someone close to you is suffering from the symptoms of addiction, watch out for the ways that may lead to addiction. The following are the warning signs that indicate a depressed person can end up falling prey to substance addiction.

They Do Not Recognize Their Depression

Depression takes over the life of a person so slowly that he or she may not realize what they are heading towards. The exhaustion they experience can be unbearable at times, and they might seek help from stimulants to get through the day. An opioid or a few drinks of whisky can quickly reverse the feelings of disinterest and numbness that usually come with depression.

Failing to recognize depression can encourage this unhealthy coping mechanism. Sadly, in most cases, people realize such symptoms of both substance addiction and depression only after a major life event. For this reason, it is important to spread awareness about mental illnesses and related symptoms.

Feeling Unworthy of Recovery

Out of all the bad things depression brings with itself, unworthiness is the worst of all. Depressed people often experience self-loathing due to low neurotransmitter flow and ruminating thoughts. While it is a mostly unconscious behavior, it affects the person’s self-esteem.

When a person loses hope, it gets harder to prevent substance addiction. A high-spirited and positive person is less likely to get addicted to a certain substance because of his or her depressive thoughts. Instead, they try to get treated on time and overcome it as soon as possible. Therefore, working on developing self-esteem is very important during addiction recovery.

They Hesitate To Ask For Help

Many depressed individuals are scared to seek help or ask for it. Low self-esteem and diminished desire for almost everything make them extremely overwhelmed to ask for help.

Ultimately, they count on substances to self-medicate, and over time, they get addicted to it.

While it is true that recognizing mood disorders can be a bit hard, it may be even harder for depressed people to explain the nature of their depression.

They Don’t Think A Professional Can Help Them

Unfortunately, many patients believe that professional treatments are not effective for their symptoms. In most cases, dream analysis and talk therapy are the most common treatments for depression. However, many do not know that these are just a part of holistic treatment and not all of it.

Comprehensive treatments encourage patients to develop healthy coping mechanisms to deal with the stress in their lives. In addition, they are introduced to new ways to avoid further dangerous consequences like addiction by helping them to manage their symptoms.

Final Thoughts

Whenever there’s the discussion about depression and substance addiction comes an age-old question — which arises first? Is it depression or addiction?

The preliminary study of addiction states that it affects the brain so that it fails to regulate itself. Thus, for many, depression leads to addiction. And on the other hand, addiction causes depression for others. To avoid falling victim to both of these diseases, it is vital to understand how they are connected.