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Male college student and the link between addiction and depression

The Link Between Addiction and Depression

There is a link between addiction and depression. The causes of addiction are complex. Research is showing that some people may be more vulnerable to addiction due to genetics. Our DNA can also make us more likely to become depressed. 

What is Depression?

Understanding depression is a little easier when you know the different types. The primary types of depression are:

  • Situational depression
  • Persistent depressive disorder
  • Bipolar disorder (I, II or cyclothymic)
  • Seasonal affective disorder (SAD)
  • Postpartum depression
  • Psychotic depression

 

How Do I Know if I Have Depression?

It is not uncommon for people to be unaware that they are depressed. They may realize they are unhappy, but if that feeling has been with them for a long time, it can become their “new normal” or baseline. Here are a few symptoms of a depressive disorder to look for:

  • A loss of interest in activities you used to enjoy (hobbies, sports, sex, etc.)
  • Feelings of hopelessness, numbness or sadness.
  • Outbursts of anger, worry or irritability over minor things.
  • Trouble getting enough sleep or sleeping way too much.
  • Poor self-esteem, feeling as if you have no value or worth to others.
  • Thoughts of death or suicide or not wanting to live anymore.

 

How Do We Know Addiction Causes Depression?

Situational depression can happen to anyone. It is the most direct way that addiction causes depression. A tragic event can lead to situational depression. But addiction causes depression all by itself too. Imagine a nearly perfect version of your life. 

Now imagine you are in that nearly perfect life, but you are addicted to heroin. It’s not hard to see how addiction causes depression now, is it? Even in the best of circumstances, no one wants to be a slave to a chemical that eventually robs them of everything good in their life. 

Depression Causes Addiction

Research suggests that as many as 264 million people worldwide may have some form of clinical depression. Clinical depression differs from situational depression. It does not necessarily need an outside event to trigger it. 

It usually has a major biological or genetic component. Persistent depressive disorder (aka major depression), bipolar disorder and psychotic depression are examples. 

People living with unmanaged depression are more likely to self-medicate. Here we find the second major link between addiction and depression. People use drugs to change how they feel. 

If you’re depressed and not getting any relief, it can be tempting to look for an “easy way out.’ Sometimes it seems like any relief is better than no relief at all. 

Addiction causes depression because it redirects our will toward chasing after poison to change how we feel. On some level, you’re aware you are hurting yourself. The consequences of an addiction lifestyle are another way addiction causes depression. 

Drugs have become more important than almost anything else. Dreams and goals get cast aside. Relationships falter and fail. 

We end up in financial trouble, legal trouble and even physical danger. All those things can only serve to make you even more depressed.

What Should I Do if I’m Depressed?

First, know that you are not alone. Depression can make us feel isolated and lead us to isolate ourselves further purposely. 

Talk about your depression. Depression isn’t shameful, and it should not be a secret. Be honest with yourself and others about how you feel.

The next step is getting some help. Depression is not something you should try to ride out. Chances are it is not going to go away on its own. 

At Promises Brazos Valley, we understand depression and addiction. We will listen, and we will help.

Give us a call at (844) 667-8240 and begin your recovery journey today.

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