Feeling Depressed after Losing Control of Drug Use

Depression is a common side effect of many drugs, legal or illicit. When drugs are abused, the potential for depression increases drastically. Because most drugs work directly on the brain, the chemicals responsible for transmitting feelings of pleasure are also affected. When an individual is taking drugs to feel good or get high, the body shuts down its natural production of feel-good chemicals. Ultimately a person can become dependent upon a drug in order to feel well, or even normal, therefore addicts may experience psychological or emotional problems like depression.

Drug or alcohol abuse can create so many problems that a user will become depressed with her lifestyle. People may lose valuable relationships, jobs, finances and even their sense of self. Isolation is also a common side effect of drug or alcohol abuse, which can trigger the onset of depression. Drug or alcohol abuse can cause so much pain that people slowly sink into depression.

Is It Common to Feel Depressed after Using Drugs or Alcohol?

It is common to feel depressed after abusing drugs or alcohol. In fact, the Journal of the American Medical Association has found that over 50 percent of people who have a mental health disorder such as depression also are affected by substance abuse. Depression is actually one of the most frequently listed side effects of all drugs, both illegal and legal. Sadly, many people facing both depression and substance abuse do not get the proper diagnosis, which prevents them from finding the proper treatment.

What Are the Symptoms of Depression?

Depression is much more than just feeling down or sad. Depression is a serious mental illness that affects a person long-term. The symptoms of depression include the following:

  • Feeling hopelessness, helplessness, worthlessness, or guilt
  • Loss of energy
  • Loss of interest in what used to be normal joys or activities
  • Inability to experience pleasure
  • Difficulty sleeping and/or weight fluctuations

Can Self-Medicating Depression Lead to a Co-Occurring Disorder?

Those suffering with mental health disorders are experiencing a tremendous amount of emotional pain. Depression can be exhausting and sometimes drugs or alcohol may appear to be the only solution. People attempt to self-medicate their emotional pain with drugs or alcohol, and soon they come to believe that they need the drugs to be happy. This is how people become dependent upon drugs or develop an addiction. In cases like this, the addiction can never be broken without also treating the individual’s depression: both problems perpetuate the other.

Treating Depression and Substance Abuse at the Same Time

When a person is struggling with a co-occurring disorder, such as depression and substance abuse, it is imperative that she receive specialized treatment. This treatment is called integrated treatment and it works to treat both conditions simultaneously. To learn more about treatment options for co-occurring disorders, please call our toll-free helpline today. Our recovery counselors are available 24 hours a day to discuss your options for treatment. They can answer any questions you may have.