Exploring Depression as One of the Causes of Substance Abuse

Diablo Valley Treatment on March 22, 2019

Exploring Depression as One of the Causes of Substance AbuseSadly, substance dependence and abuse are common problems in our world. So many people are currently dealing with these issues. And, it’s not always easy to tell when or if someone is suffering from them. Often, people who are dealing with substance misuse aren’t sure why. They may not know exactly how they ended up fighting this battle. Countless individuals become victims of substance abuse every single year. And many of them struggle to understand what is happening to them and why. It’s as if the problem develops without an identifiable reason. Most people who suffer from these problems feel completely unsure of what to do about their struggle. Truth be told, there are many possible causes of substance abuse.

Each person who struggles is suffering because of a different reason. Every case of substance abuse is different. This is because every person who deals with substance dependence is unique and has an individual story. The list of possible causes is nearly unending. This is especially due to the fact that drug or alcohol abuse can be caused by a number of things. The common causes of addiction can range from trauma to physical abuse. But there are some underlying causes that many people don’t think about. For instance, did you know that depression is one of the many causes of substance abuse? That’s why it’s important to learn more about depression and how it contributes to substance misuse.

What is Depression and How Does it Affect People?

Exploring Depression as One of the Causes of Substance AbuseDepression is often called major depression or clinical depression. It’s defined as a mental disorder that is characterized by a constant depressive mood. People who have depression often lose interest in things that were once engaging with them. Depression is more than the occasional feeling of deep sadness melancholy. It’s a very intense negative feeling that lasts for a long time, perhaps weeks or months at a time. When a person is depressed, he or she may feel hopeless, helpless, worthless, guilty, ashamed or completely unmotivated.

Depression is something that a lot of people deal with. Even though there is quite a bit of information and help out there for those going through it, some individuals don’t get help. One of the reasons for that is the fact that some people simply don’t know they’re dealing with depression. It’s a subtle disorder that sometimes creeps up on people without them even realizing it. And, unfortunately, because they don’t really know it’s there, they don’t seek help for their depression. This often leads to more problems, such as substance abuse.

The Importance of Locating the Root Cause of Addiction

Exploring Depression as One of the Causes of Substance AbuseWhen a person is dealing with a substance abuse problem, it is critical to find the root cause of addiction in his or her life. People don’t simply develop a substance misuse problem overnight. This issue is definitely caused by something. In fact, it could be caused by any number of things. Often, a person who has become dependent on drugs or alcohol may not know exactly how it happened. Individuals who are living with a substance problem usually feel confused and uncertain. After all, it’s difficult to understand all of the causes and effects of something as complex as substance abuse. It can be challenging to identify the causes of substance abuse because there could be multiple causes. In many cases, years and years of pain, challenges, and obstacles add up and, eventually, lead to substance abuse. And sometimes, alcohol and drug abuse are caused by a co-occurring problem.

It’s important to identify the causes of substance abuse because it allows people to get treatment for their entire struggle. In other words, treating the surface problem isn’t enough. If you only stop the individual from using drugs or alcohol, you only treat the symptoms and not the actual condition. It may help to put this in other terms. Think about pain medication. You might take it to treat an ache in your back. It will feel better for a while. But, as time goes on, the pain will return. Why? Because the root cause of that pain is still there. The underlying cause is the issue that exists in your back. Perhaps, you need to have an operation to take care of the problem. But, until now, you’ve been treating the pain and not the cause of the pain. You have treated the symptoms but not the actual condition.

This is what happens when we treat a substance abuse problem without identifying the underlying reasons and causes of the abuse. If an individual goes through a treatment that only addresses his or her substance use, chances are that the person will suffer from a relapse. Why? Because the root cause of addiction is still there.

The Relationship Between Depression and Substance Abuse

Exploring Depression as One of the Causes of Substance AbuseOften, people don’t understand that substance dependence may be accompanied by another condition. It may be hard to identify that coexisting condition without a professional’s help. So, through dual diagnosis treatment centers, people can get a co-occurring diagnosis. This means that the medical professionals at the treatment center can find out what else is affecting those who are dealing with substance dependence. In some situations, people struggle with anxiety or stress disorders along with alcohol or drug abuse. In other situations, people suffer from depression and substance abuse at the same time. Depression can be both a cause of addiction and a coexisting problem.

As we said before, there are several causes of substance abuse. Sometimes, there is a combination of reasons. Some causes of substance abuse for individuals may be trauma, anxiety, peer pressure, and, yes, depression. But, how exactly might depression contribute to a substance problem? How does someone who has clinical depression end up abusing drugs or alcohol? Well, of course, the answer will be different for every case. But, one of the reasons depression can lead to substance abuse is isolation.

Many times, people who are depressed spend time alone. And they may even feel lonely when they are around others. Because they feel alone, they may turn to something that helps them to feel less of that negative emotion. And, sadly, that temporary escape is often found in alcohol or drugs. Some people may even begin to depend heavily on their depression prescription medication.

When an individual is going through depression, he or she may experience feelings of shame or guilt. Depression can also lead to sudden weight loss or weight gain. People with this struggle may also have suicidal thoughts sometimes. That’s why it’s so important to help those who may be dealing with this disorder.

Addressing and Treating the Causes of Substance Abuse

Drug and alcohol abuse are very serious problems. Those who are dealing with these issues often feel distanced from their families and friends. Sometimes, they feel alone and afraid because of their struggle. It can be hard for individuals to lead a normal life when they are suffering from depression and substance abuse.

Starting with a Clean Slate After Opioid Abuse Treatment

Now that we have discussed depression as one of the causes of substance abuse, you may be wondering if you or a loved one is experiencing this combination. Sometimes, people may know that they have a substance problem. But, they may not be aware of the other problems that may be present. It can be difficult to understand all of the characteristics, effects, and causes of substance dependence. But, if you or someone you know is dealing with a drug or alcohol problem, it is critical to get professional help as soon as possible.

Many times, people feel that they are too far gone. They think that there is no way to overcome substance abuse after the months and years that they’ve suffered from dependence. But, there is still hope! And, right now is a good time to look into a professional rehabilitation center that can help to treat this disorder. Here at Diablo Valley Drug & Alcohol Services, we seek to help people who are struggling with substance misuse and dependence. We understand that there are many possible causes of addiction. We also understand the importance of identifying and treating these causes. So, we work to make sure that the people who come to us for help get exactly the assistance that will work for them. Our mission is to help individuals find complete freedom from drug and alcohol misuse. So, if you or someone you know needs help getting over a substance dependence problem, please contact us.


**Posted on December 21, 2018. Updated on March 22, 2019.