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The Depression – Substance Abuse Cycle and the Need for Rehab Treatment Help

As far as tag teams go, depression and substance abuse tend to go hand-in-hand regardless of which condition comes first. According to Roseman University of Health Sciences, nearly one out of every five Americans will develop a mental illness like depression or some form of addiction at some point in their lifetimes.

It’s not uncommon for people experiencing depression symptoms to turn to alcohol and/or drugs to gain relief. On the flipside, someone who abuses alcohol or drugs for prolonged periods of time will likely experience depression symptoms on a regular basis.

When these two conditions co-exist, it’s only a matter of time before a vicious cycle of substance abuse and depression symptoms start to take shape. For these reasons, it’s essential to get needed rehab help as this cycle will continue to spiral out of control for as long as a person keeps using drugs.

Depression & Substance Abuse: Two Sides of the Same Coin

depression and substance abuse

Substance abuse can cause and often worsens already existing depression.

Depression develops out of chemical imbalances in the brain that trigger impaired logic, reasoning and emotional-based processes. In turn, the symptoms that result from depression, such as sadness, feelings of guilt and shame only work to strengthen existing brain chemical imbalances.

In the case of substance abuse, both alcohol and drugs interfere with the brain’s normal chemical activity, creating a state of increasing chemical imbalance over time. Likewise, most all forms of substance abuse and addiction produce worsening symptoms of depression as chemical imbalances become more pronounced.

Brain Chemical Pathway Effects

While depression and substance abuse do have different causes, both produce the same overall effects on the brain’s chemical make-up. According to the University of Utah Health Sciences, addiction and mental illness in general are brain diseases that share certain key similarities:

  • Both conditions affect the same chemical pathways in the brain
  • Both conditions interfere with the brain’s normal chemical processes
  • Both conditions disrupt dopamine outputs, a mood-regulating neurotransmitter that plays a central role in regulating the brain’s reward system
  • Both conditions interfere with serotonin outputs, another mood-regulating neurotransmitter chemical

What you Must Know About Dual Diagnosis

Dual Diagnosis Disorder

According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, dual diagnosis disorder develops in cases where depression and substance abuse co-occur. With dual diagnosis, the symptoms of both conditions tend to feed off one another due to the overall impact on the brain’s chemical balance. This means, depression symptoms will trigger drug-using urges and drug effects will aggravate depression symptoms. This vicious cycle of depression and substance abuse makes both conditions that much harder to identify and treat as the two sets of symptoms can be difficult to distinguish from one another.

The Need for Rehab Treatment Help

According to the Substance Abuse & Mental Health Services Administration, as the most prevalent form of mental illness, an estimated eight percent of Americans experienced depression within any given two-week period between the years 2007 and 2010. For people struggling with depression, alcohol and drugs offer seemingly convenient and effective ways of relieving emotional turmoil and stress. Over time, the effects of these addictive substances cause considerably more harm than good.

If you or someone you know struggles with depression and substance abuse issues, it’s never too soon to consider getting needed treatment help. If you have any further questions about the depression-substance abuse cycle, please feel free to call our toll-free helpline at 800-481-6320 for more information. Our phone counselors can also help with locating treatment programs in your area.

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Alcohol Abuse vs Alcoholism

Understand how alcohol abuse and alcoholism are different.

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Can Local Drug Rehab Help My Loved One?

finding rehab program

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How to Visit Your Loved One in Their Rehab Center

As stated by the National Institute on Drug Abuse, “Involvement of a family member or significant other in an individual’s treatment program can strengthen and extend treatment benefits.” It is common for someone in a residential or inpatient rehab center to feel disconnected from their loved ones, and vice-versa, but visiting your friend, spouse, or….

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You May Need Alcohol Rehab If…

You’re a drinker. Maybe you always have been. But it’s not a problem. Or is it? According to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), drinking is excessive for men who drink four to five drinks at one occasion and women who drink two to three and that for over 17 million Americans,….

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What Should I Say When I Visit My Friend in Rehab?

Visiting your friend, family member, or loved on in rehab is a wonderful way to show them you support their journey to recovery and their decision to find treatment for their addiction. Many people, though, aren’t sure what to talk about when they actually make the trip to the rehab center to see their friend…..

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Recognizing Prescription Drug Abuse in Seniors

elderly drug abuse

Prescription drug abuse is a growing concern across all walks of life and among every age group. The consequences for seniors, however, can be far more devastating due to their health and vulnerability. As these individuals get older, they are more likely to be exposed to prescription medications and like other prescription drug users, succumb….

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Do Free Inpatient Rehab Centers Exist?

Some individuals truly need inpatient care for one reason or another, but since these programs are generally more expensive than outpatient centers, they sometimes do not attend the programs they require. In actuality, there are inpatient and residential treatment programs that do provide low-cost and even free care to patients who need it. How Many….

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Where Can I Find Free Inpatient Rehab Centers?

So you’ve decided to get help for an addiction to drugs or alcohol? Now you’re wondering where you can find a free program that will serve your needs. Fortunately, there are some options that can make recovery a possibility for you. It is often difficult to find free inpatient rehab programs because they can be….

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Warning Signs of Suicide & When to Get Treatment Help

If ever there was a “silent” epidemic, suicide rates across the U. S. would most definitely qualify as no one wants to talk about this condition. According to the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention, suicide ranked as the 10th leading cause of death in 2013, which totaled out at 41,149 cases. This number amounts….

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