Depression and Marijuana Addiction Recovery

Depression and Marijuana Addiction Recovery

Depression is a common aspect of marijuana addiction. Drug addiction can cause or amplify depression, but can also be a result of depression. Seeking escape or relief from the pressures and stress of life can cause a person to turn to marijuana in the first place.

How Marijuana Addiction Affects Depression

Marijuana elevates levels of dopamine and serotonin in the brain, causing the euphoric high of marijuana use. This can cause a person to feel good temporarily and alleviate feelings of depression. Unfortunately, this ultimately only serves to make the depression worse. For one thing regular marijuana users tend to neglect the responsibilities in their lives, and once the high has worn off they often find that their problems have only multiplied and gotten worse. This can lead to greater depression and sinking further into addiction. In addition to this, with regular use of marijuana the brain stops producing adequate levels of dopamine and serotonin on its own. Therefore, if marijuana use is stopped depression sets in.

Marijuana withdrawals can be especially hard on someone who was using marijuana to relieve depression; the depression that settles in during this time can be much worse than it was originally. This is known as a rebound effect, and is the same phenomenon experienced by stopping use of anti-depressants such as Zoloft or Lexapro. At any rate, stopping use of marijuana causes a deficit of dopamine and serotonin in the brain, resulting in depression. Even a regular marijuana user who was not depressed to begin with will probably experience some depression if they stop using marijuana.

What Are Co-Occurring Disorders?

Drug addiction coupled with a mental health issue such as depression is known as a Dual Diagnosis. The addiction and the depression are known as co-occurring disorders. Co-occurring disorders are very common in cases of drug addiction, and in fact are probably the rule rather than the exception. After all, drug addiction is not a facet of a healthy, well-adjusted life; on the other hand, it usually indicates other underlying issues.

What Is Integrated Treatment?

Drug treatment that focuses solely on behavioral issues related to addiction and does not address co-occurring disorders may be effective in stopping drug use. However, by leaving any underlying issues untreated the patient is left vulnerable to relapse when situations or feelings of stress arise. In the case of depression, there are so many things in life that can trigger feelings of depression that the untreated patient will be very susceptible to relapsing into marijuana use once these feelings emerge.
Integrated treatment is a holistic approach to therapy that treats the entire person and not just the addiction. Integrated treatment includes treatment for co-occurring disorders such as depression. When an underlying cause or factor in the addiction is treated the patient has a much higher chance of functioning without turning to drug use. In addition, by treating problems that have been in existence for a long time and may very well have caused other problems in the patient’s life, the patient has a much better chance of living a healthy, productive life, finding inner peace and being happy.

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