In adults with depression, about 16.5% of people have an alcohol use disorder, and 18% of people have another substance abuse disorder, and may abuse prescription medication or illegal drugs as a way to try to cope with their condition.
But why is this? Why are depression and addiction so closely linked? In this blog, we’ll explain the connection between these two conditions, and how each one can enable the other.
Substance Abuse Is An Easy Distraction From Depression
Clinical depression is more than just a bad day. Those who have a serious depressive episode may feel like there is no hope for them to live a happy life. Depression can cause issues like lethargy, anhedonia (inability to feel pleasure) and feelings of horrible self-doubt. Other associated conditions include anxiety, weight loss or gain, general irritability, a loss of interest in activities or hobbies, and even suicidal thoughts.
Because of this, it should come as no surprise that those who are experiencing major depression are looking for an outlet. While cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) and prescription antidepressants can be helpful, it’s also easy for those who suffer from depression to turn to other methods of self-medication.
Alcohol is a common one. Alcohol functions as a central nervous system depressant, and those who suffer from depression may feel that it helps ease some of the emotional and psychological pain. The same is true of other drugs – both legal and illegal.
Those who are in pain and suffering from depression may turn to substance abuse as a way to try to lift their spirits – or at least numb painful thoughts. But in the long run, this is counterproductive, because substance abuse will not address the root cause of depression.
In fact, substance abuse and addiction can actually make depression worse. Those who are already depressed may feel even worse about their inability to cope with their situation.
This may lead to increased substance abuse – and the cycle continues. In fact, it’s been estimated that about 1/3 of all people with an alcohol problem also have a major depressive disorder.
Understanding Dual Diagnosis – Getting The Treatment You Need
If you or a loved one suffers from depression and substance abuse and needs rehab in South Africa, proper care is needed to treat both depression and substance abuse.
“Dual diagnosis” is the term for when any mental health disorder, such as anxiety, bipolar disorder, or depression is combined with a diagnosis for addiction, such as alcohol, drugs, gambling, or even sex.
To break the cycle of depression and substance abuse, both issues must be addressed with rehab in Cape Town. Eliminating one of these issues or the other is not enough. For true recovery, proper therapeutic care for depression is required – as is admission to a rehabilitation facility, where the cycle of addiction can be broken.
Get Help Now For Addiction And Depression
If you believe you suffer from depression and are abusing substances to try to get relief, or you suspect a loved one may be suffering from these conditions, you need to get help right away. Rehab in South Africa is often the best choice. At rehab in Cape Town, you or your loved one can recover in a safe, caring environment – and break the cycle of addiction and depression once and for all.