Facts about Substance Abuse and Depression

Substance abuse and depression can go hand in hand.

Clinical depression is a mood disorder that affects millions of people worldwide, and about 7% of the American population. A mood disorder can have a serious impact on the physical and psychological well-being of an individual, affecting every area of their life. Clinical depression can last for weeks, months or years and is not something a person can easily snap out of, and substance abuse and depression can easily become an escape for anyone who struggles with both problems. If you are suffering with depression and have been self-medicating with alcohol or drugs, you are only exacerbating your depression and also creating new problems. You should speak with your doctor or therapist to find out about healthier ways to manage your depression. And you should also be aware of the facts about substance abuse and depression:

  1. Approximately 15 million Americans experience depression annually and 33% of these people will attempt to self-medicate with alcohol or drugs.
  2. Dysthymia is a form of depression that lasts for two years or more. Symptoms will vary with episodes of major depression to less serious depression.
  3. A person with psychotic depression has severe depression plus some form of psychosis. The person can experience delusions and hallucinations that often occur as a theme (sickness, guilt, etc.) that is expressed in a depressed manner.
  4. Depression and substance abuse statistics show that alcoholics have a higher rate of depression than the general public. Statistics reveal that the partnership of depression and alcohol addiction can adversely affect the alcoholic and his family, with a rise in child abuse and neglect, spousal abuse, divorce and criminal behavior.
  5. Substance abuse is a form of self-medication to a person who suffers with depression, but drugs or alcohol can exacerbate depression and make episodes more severe, frequent and intense.
  6. Clinical depression is a progressive illness that can become severe without the proper treatment. Some effective treatments include behavioral modification, support groups, therapeutic interventions, motivational therapy, trauma therapy and medications.
  7. The National Institute of Health states that some people with depression have brains that are structurally different from people without depression. People with serious mood disorders have MRI brain scans that reveal differences in the areas of the brain that regulate metabolic functions, mood, cognition and more.
  8. Persons who were physically or sexually abused, or neglected, in childhood can also develop depression. Any traumatic experiences in childhood can cause emotions to be suppressed, and later be expressed as depression or other disorders.
  9. Addiction and depression facts and statistics reveal that at least half of persons who attempt suicide suffer from depression.
  10. Substance abuse can negatively affect therapeutic interventions, and also medications that are used to treat depression.
  11. Substance abuse and depression must be treated simultaneously for treatment to be effective. Inpatients at drug rehab centers must be closely monitored if they suffer with substance abuse and depression, especially if they express suicidal thoughts or acts.

Signs and Symptoms of Depression

If you are experiencing a few of these signs and symptoms consistently for two weeks or more, you may have depression:

  • Anxiety, sadness, hopelessness, restlessness, self-hatred
  • Helplessness, worthlessness, guilt, irritability, pessimism
  • Fatigue, low energy, changes in appetite and sleep, loss of interest in activities
  • Aches, pains, headaches, cramps
  • Difficulty concentrating and making decisions, poor memory,
  • Thoughts of death, suicidal thoughts and acts

Evidence-based treatment programs for substance abuse and depression are shown to have a positive and effective impact on patients. If you need help with an alcohol or drug addiction, and also suffer with depression, you can get the help you need to get well. Various therapies and medications can help you manage your depression and retain your sobriety, so that you can begin to have a happy and healthy life.

If you or a loved one needs help with abuse and/or treatment, please call the WhiteSands Treatment at (877) 855-3470. Our addiction specialists can assess your recovery needs and help you get the addiction treatment that provides the best chance for your long-term recovery.

About the Author

is a proud alumni member of WhiteSands Treatment. After living a life of chaos, destruction and constant let downs, Mark was able to make a complete turnaround that sparked a new way of life. He is serious about his recovery along with helping others. At WhiteSands Treatment, we offer support to you in your homes or when you are out living in your daily lives.