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The Link Between Depression and Substance Abuse

The Link Between Depression and Substance Abuse

Drug addiction and mental disorders often occur together. In order for treatment to be effective, it is necessary to focus on treating both part of the issue. Often, it is difficult to determine whether substance use caused depression or whether depression led to substance abuse as an attempt to self-medicate. Recent research has shown that suffering from depression at a young age can make children more likely to engage in substance use at a later age.

Whether depression leads one into substance use or vice versa, the two problems mutually exacerbate each other. According to Richard Zwolinski in Psych Central article entitled Depression and Substance Abuse: Chicken or the Egg, “A drink or two, a line of cocaine or two, might temporarily relieve some symptoms, but the backlash when the chemical leaves the body brings the depression to new lows. This ‘withdrawal depression’ happens each time an abused chemical leaves the body, though many people don’t experience severe symptoms at first. The withdrawal depression itself can trigger the use of more alcohol or drugs because they will help get rid of the bad feelings.” A person may take drugs to feel momentarily relief from depression but it will likely lead to worsening depression and addiction.

A University of Washington Health Sciences/UW Medicine report entitled Depression among young teens linked to cannabis use at 18 found that young people with chronic or severe depression were more likely to develop a problem with marijuana and alcohol in later adolescence. The study used data from annual assessments of students aged 12-25, then followed up when the students were 18. According to Science Daily, “The study oversampled for students with depressive and/or conduct problems. The researchers were surprised to see that the prevalence of cannabis and alcohol use disorder in this study was notably higher than national estimates with 21 percent meeting criteria for cannabis use disorder and 20 percent meeting criteria for alcohol use disorder at age 18.” The high prevalence of depression and other mood disorders among men and women suffering from addiction requires that effective treatment should address both aspects.

Anchored Recovery is more than a program, it is and entire community of individuals dedicated to sobriety. Anchored Recovery Community offers a personalized approach to addiction treatment that provides clients with an opportunity for a new beginning and the life skills necessary to thrive in this world while nurturing healthy relationships. For more information about treatment options, please call today: (800) 272-4550

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