How Are Depression and Drug Use Connected?

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Depression and drug use create a complicated and difficult recovery path, especially if an individual is self-medicating their depressive symptoms or are suffering from depression and addiction concurrently. While the use of drugs or other addictive substances may seem like a bad idea from the outside, self-medicating with drugs to quell one’s symptoms is a common practice. 

However, the combination of drug use and depression creates a dangerous mix of difficult circumstances. Understanding the reasons behind why an individual turns to drugs can inform each person on how to create a recovery path that effectively addresses the use of drugs and their depression.

Why Begin Using Drugs?

One’s turn to drug use can be baffling to those who have not experienced the chronic, intense effects of depression in their own lives. While being sad from time to time is completely normal, clinically diagnosed depression can be an entirely different experience and not something that an individual can pull out of with willpower alone.

Rather, depression inhibits many aspects of one’s life, making it difficult to engage with one’s hobbies, interests, daily personal or professional responsibilities, or their normal daily routine. Depression can sap the motivation and energy from an individual, leaving a person feeling in a deeply sad state and without their usual resources to cope with the overwhelming feelings. 

For those who suffer from this kind of intense depression, anything that can provide respite from one’s own mind or emotions can feel like a plausible option. However, it is also possible that those suffering from depression are aware that drugs are a poor choice to cope with their symptoms. Despite this, they will still engage with drugs in order to placate their intense symptoms in the present. 

From Depression to Desperation

Those who suffer from any kind of depression may feel trapped in their own depressive cycles. These cycles can lead to a feeling of desperation to subside the symptoms and enjoy one’s hobbies and daily life again. While there is a myriad of reasons why drugs are harmful to one’s body and mind, their ability to provide an immediate change in one’s brain can be an enticing proposition for those desperate to quell their depression. 

While the long-term effects of drug use can cause a number of physical and mental health complications, those who suffer from intense or chronic depressive episodes may not be considering future repercussions. This is due to the overwhelming and difficult feelings they face in the moment. Depression can make planning for the future extremely difficult, as one may be wholly focused on addressing one’s current emotional state. 

The Cycle of Drugs and Depression

However, without addressing the unique interplay between one’s depression and drug use, the two factors can become intimately intertwined. The consistent use of drugs to self-medicate one’s depressive symptoms can lead to the development of addiction. The more a drug is used, the more that it can hijack the brain’s dopamine receptors, compromising one’s ability to feel happy on their own without the use of drugs. 

While drugs can help an individual bypass their depressive symptoms in the immediate moment, it comes at the cost of being unable to regulate their levels of happiness outside of one’s drug use. This can make a person reliant on their continued substance use. It is then possible that one’s depression can become linked not just to their own diagnosis, but also as a result of one’s drug use. The depression can then become even more prevalent and debilitating than it was in the first place and with a dangerous precedent set for this cyclical nature. 

The First Step Is Reaching Out

Once an individual has used drugs to quell their intense symptoms, it is necessary to address both the drug side and depression side for one’s recovery. Whether or not a person has developed an unhealthy relationship or addiction to drugs, the connotation between their use and the ability to sidestep one’s symptoms of depression is necessary to address. 

Discussing with a professional honestly about one’s relationship with drugs and the role they plan as one’s coping strategy is essential. While this will be a difficult and vulnerable conversation, it also leads to the most personalized and effective strategies for addressing one’s drug use and the impact it has on one’s depression. Finding local facilities that have professionals adept in both mental health and drug use can lead to the most comprehensive and holistic approaches to a healthier, happier future. 

Depression and drug use are intimately intertwined, and the use of drugs to cope with the symptoms of depression can lead to the development of dangerous self-medication practices. If you or a loved one are struggling with depression and the use of drugs, Everlast Recovery Centers can help you. We offer an array of therapeutic approaches designed to meet you where you are in recovery and personalize your program to best address your unique experience with depression and drugs. Our comfortable, supportive atmosphere is designed to help you feel at ease with like-minded people to help push you through the toughest parts of your recovery while celebrating your strengths and successes. Your time with us will be filled with personalized individual and group therapies, art, music, writing, and many experiential therapies to help you through your unique recovery story. For more information on how we can personalize your time with us, call us today at (866) 388-6925.

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