How Depression Can Lead to Substance Abuse

How Depression Can Lead to Substance Abuse

It's not surprising that there's a strong connection between depression and drug abuse. Depression can be a debilitating illness by altering one's way of thinking and lowering their ability to enjoy life. When we are at our lowest, we find it difficult to cope and function in our lives. Looking for anything that can help make the pain and negative thoughts go away could pave the way to substance abuse.

Signs of Depression

It's important to recognize some of the signs and symptoms of depression. When one is depressed, it can lead to low energy levels, sadness for no apparent reason, and anxious thoughts — all signs of depression. We may find ourselves withdrawing from social situations and isolating ourselves from friends and family. We have less interest in the activities that we typically enjoy. For those of us struggling with depression, we often find ourselves feeling excessively tired and suddenly difficult to concentrate.

Self-Medicating and Prescription Drugs

Those of us who are struggling with depression may look for anything we can do to try and boost our mood. As a result, we may turn to drugs or alcohol for temporary relief. Substance abuse as a means of self-medicating can be especially dangerous, as we become dependent on these substances to make ourselves feel better. Self-medicating often occurs not only with street drugs but with prescription drugs, as they are legally available and easier to obtain. Self-medicating masks the true problems by giving temporary relief. Yet, this ultimately worsens depression and creates a dependency on these drugs to function.

Other Warning Signs of a Relapse

In addition to depression, there are many other warning signs that can indicate a relapse, and it occurs in three stages: emotional, mental, and physical. Along with depression, other negative emotions such as anger, irritability, and anxiety can be present. It’s common to doubt the effectiveness of the recovery process and start to idealize drug use again.

Other signs could include unhealthy sleeping and eating patterns as well as a general lack of self-care. Someone in relapse may also begin to display unhealthy coping mechanisms and start to fall into some of their old patterns, such as leaving home without any explanation or old friends coming around that are not necessarily the best influence.

It's important for us to be aware of the triggers of substance addiction. It’s vital to be open and honest with ourselves and our loved ones so that we can prevent a relapse before it's too late. Depression is difficult for anyone, but for someone who struggles with addiction, it can be very dangerous, making it a tough road to recovery. If you or a loved one is struggling with depression and using unhealthy coping mechanisms, don't wait. Get the help you need now. At Blueprints Recovery, we offer drug and alcohol rehabilitation for young men between ages 18 and 30. Contact us today so we can help you get on your way to a healthy and positive drug-free life.

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