Depression is everywhere, and has been related to the ‘common cold’ of emotional problems, however disturbance of mood and anxiety are common symptoms for many people who struggle with substance use disorders. Symptoms of depression often occur as a result of excessive alcohol or drug use and the worries and sad feelings that accompany the progression of an addiction.
Mood and anxiety disorders can be caused by substances through the biochemical changes made to the brain. For some, the symptoms of these negative states are replaced with a sense of well being as people describe a sense of hopefulness and a renewal. Alcohol is a depressant drug as opposed to cocaine which is a stimulant. Both drugs however damage the brain pathways enough to contribute to a difficult addiction recovery without care for the separate symptoms of depression. Researchers have completed many studies regarding which came first, the use of drugs and alcohol or the depression. Regardless of which came first, it is effective to treat both.
Depression can occur at any time in a person’s life and it is accompanied by varied symptoms such as sadness, difficulty concentrating, loss of interest in activities and in life, self-criticism, physical complaints, feelings of hopelessness, difficulty making decisions, irritability, withdrawal from other people and sometimes they feel worried, nauseated, experience heart racing and sometimes sweating.
There are many factors that contribute to depression and the most effective treatments for recovery are a combination of cognitive behavioral therapy, group support, nutrition, exercise and psychopharmacology as needed. Untreated depression contributes to domestic violence and child abuse, divorce, job loss, poor health and suicide.