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Depression and Addiction: What is the Connection?


Published: December 21, 2021

Depression is a chronic mental illness that may be caused by genetics, trauma or even someone’s brain chemistry. However, one of the least talked about causes of depression is substance abuse. It’s true that consistent drug and alcohol use can lead to depression, but depression may also lead to drug and alcohol use. This vicious cycle has a name: a co-occurring disorder or a dual diagnosis.

Depression Leads to Drug Use

Depression comes in many forms and causes severe symptoms that affect how you think, feel and handle daily activities. It’s more than just feeling sad. Depression can make you feel worthless, hopeless and like life isn’t worth living.

For some people, depression can get so bad that it makes them want to escape reality. That’s where substance abuse comes in. Drugs help numb the feelings and allow the person to forget their problems, at least for a little while.

Drug Use Leads to Depression

While drugs may provide a temporary reprieve from depression, those feelings are bound to bubble back up to the surface as soon as the high subsides. In fact, depression may get worse after the high for a variety of reasons, including:

  • Worsened chemical imbalances
  • Guilt about drug use
  • Shame about past behavior

Breaking the Cycle of Addiction and Depression

Breaking the cycle of addiction and depression is hard. It requires the person to take responsibility for their actions – something that can be very difficult if the person has drugs in their system.

However, at Rockland Treatment Center, we understand how mental illnesses are connected to substance abuse, and we have the tools to help someone overcome both.

Treating Addiction and Depression Together

Mental illnesses and addiction should always be treated together, especially with modern knowledge of how they are interconnected. At Rockland Treatment Center, we developed an integrated program for co-occurring disorders that focuses on:

  • Detoxing
  • Improving brain function
  • Enhancing mood
  • Nutrition supplementation
  • Incorporating family members in the treatment process
  • Bettering the quality of life

We utilize clinically-effective strategies to get the patient on a path to healing.

Depression and addiction are closely related, which is why someone suffering from both must receive treatment for their mental illness in addition to substance abuse. Rockland Treatment Center offers integrated care so people can recover fully from co-occurring disorders.

If you or your loved one needs help overcoming addiction and depression, call us today.

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