People often wonder what causes some people to become drug addicts, while others can use recreationally and not get hooked. While the jury is still out on exactly what elements create the perfect storm for drug addiction, it has become abundantly clear that depression and drug addiction are not mutually exclusive. Depression can cause drug abuse, and the reverse is also true.
What does that mean for you? Essentially, if you suffer from depression, you’re more likely to become a drug addict than someone who is not depressed. It’s wise to fight depression before it takes the form of drug addiction, which has a greater capacity to destroy the lives of you and your loved ones.
Linking Drug Abuse and Depression
The link between depression and drug addiction is not unlike the proverbial link between the chicken and the egg – nobody knows which one came first. Drug abuse can lead you to depression, just as depression can lead you to drug addiction. Regardless of the order, the important thing is to realize that depression isn’t a stand-alone disease.
The popular theory is that people who are depressed turn to drugs in order to self-medicate their sorrows. If you’ve ever been depressed, you know how lonely and desolate life can be. In these moments of weakness, the temptation to try drugs or alcohol to fill the void can be quite strong. If you end up taking drugs to cure your sadness, it may result in habitual use of that substance for the same reason in the future. In this way, drug abuse not only complements depression, but also replaces it in a way.
What to Look For
Many people suffer from depression and don’t even know it. Since the chances of falling prey to addiction are so much greater in depressed people, it’s important to stay on top of the signs of depression. Frequently being in a sour mood is just one part of the equation. People who are depressed also have trouble concentrating, have poor appetites, lose interest in once cherished items or hobbies, have suicidal thoughts and generally feel worthless much of the time.
If you exhibit any of these symptoms, you could be suffering from clinical depression. This is a serious problem that affects tens of millions of people every day. Don’t add to your problems by introducing drugs to the mix; this will only curtail your attempts at healing.
If you have already begun self-medicating with drugs, now is as good a time as any to stop. There are many drug rehabilitation centers nationwide that specialize in handling dual diagnosis cases – that is, the occurrence of both drug addiction and depression. This is a very common combination, largely because drug addicts don’t understand that the real reason why they use is because of their depression.
Dealing with only one problem isn’t sufficient – you need to get help for both your drug addiction and your depression. This is the only real way to conquer your demons and get a new start on life. It’s tough to ask for help while fighting depression, but it’s a necessary step in getting your life in order. From there, licensed rehabilitation professionals and counselors will help you to kick your addiction, feel better about yourself and get a head start on the second half of your life.
Author: Shane Burke
Bio: Shane is a writer and advocate of treatment for addiction and depression. He is currently writing for Delray Recovery Center a drug treatment center in Delray Beach, Florida.