Substance Abuse Related to Depression

Depression is a mental health disorder that affects the mental state wellbeing of a person. It is a mental illness very commonly found in an adult age groups. Whereas, excessive use or depending on addictive substances such as alcohol and drugs refers to Substance abuse (web). The statistics of people diagnosed with depression and substance abuse can be seen as a growing problem in the society. According to the government estimate, 20% of the American adult is diagnosed with a mental disorder such as depression caused by substance abuse (Does Substance Abuse Cause Depression? 2011). There are many factors that could lead to depression such as substance abuse, genetics, conflict, abuse, serious illness, loss of a loved one etc. In the scenario of substance abuse related depression, there has been a lot of discussion to whether substance abuse causes depression or depression leads to substance abuse. According to the American Medical Association, 53% of the depressed people are drug users and 37% of the depressed people are alcoholics (Does Substance Abuse Cause Depression? 2011). According to the proven sources, it delivers the understanding that there is the connection between immoderate use of addictive substances and depression which can be diagnosed by following the process of the assessment, symptomatic features and related treatment.

To diagnose the mental issues whether it is associated with prolonged intake or misuse of substances proper clinical assessment is necessary. Identification of psychological disorder requires analysis of the individual’s psychological to physical background. People can seek medical care or psychological treatment whenever they are not feeling better. As part of the process, when a person is diagnosed with psychological disorders such as depression, anxiety which mostly pose threat to an individual’s life. To prevent such life threatening situation, the individual is then prescribed with drugs to treat mental illness. The categories of drugs can be anti-depressants, anti-anxiety and others. Moreover, substance abuse related depression can be occurred by the misuse of substances such as legal drugs, illegal drugs, and alcohol. These drugs affect the emotional, pleasure, and feeling aspects of a person’s brain. Large amounts of dopamine are released in the person’s brain, providing a “”high”” feeling for the user (Effects of Drug Abuse and Drug Addiction Effects | Gateway Foundation Rehabs., n.d.). The change in state of the person’s mind interferes with a person’s decision making ability and also develops strong cravings for the use of substance.

There are two phases that a person can undergo substance abuse related depression. The first phase is when a person is actively using the substances, the person’s state of mind changes to euphoria, and he/she does not want to engage in any work or other activities. The second phase is when the person does not have access to these substances.They suffer from withdrawal and depression as they become emotionally unstable. Apart from that, researcher depending on study says “”diagnosis of alcohol dependence had also experienced a lifetime history of major depression”” relates to the fact “”substance use disorders have an increased risk of developing mood disorder”” which affects the human body respectively. (J, 2003)

The one of the most commonly abused substances or depressant is the alcohol. This substance is popular among adult in order to socialize, enjoyment and others. The consequences of an alcohol depend upon the individual and their quantity of the alcohol intake. If the person becomes highly dependent on this substance then it can be diagnosed as alcoholism, substance use disorder or addictive disorder. The researchers found that the person who is diagnosed with “”depression and comorbid substance use disorders”” impose bodily threat such as “”suicide attempts and longer episodes of depression”” (J, 2003). Moreover, other similar studies of individual with dual diagnosis of “”major depressive disorder and co-occurring alcohol use disorder”” tend to have the “”similar findings”” (J, 2003). Additionally, when the person has mood disorders such as depression have risk of developing substance use disorder (J, 2003).

Simultaneously, the problem of self-diagnosis or self-medicating or taking prescription drugs without doctor’s prescription can be dangerous. It is mostly found influential among the young generations referring to adolescences are also found highly involving into misusages of prescription drugs (Prescription Drug Treatment, n.d.). The resource says that young generation has “”access to these medications online and in their parents’ cabinet”” can be addicted to prescription drugs and have “”ready access to right recovery resources”” (Prescription Drug Treatment, n.d.). So, if a person is diagnosed with addictive disorder or psychotic disorder then susceptible to prescription medication can occur. For the proper identification of drug abuse, “”National institute of Drug Abuse”” provides “”screening and assessment resources for adults & adolescences”” on drug abuse (NIDA, 2018). It’s an effective method to distinguish drug abuses, however, not everyone could be exposed to these diagnostic procedures.

In order to diagnose substance abuse and psychological disorder, it is necessary to identify behaviors or symptoms in the individual. The psychological disorder as depression in a person can exist for weeks, months, or years. Whereas, substance-related disorders occur when excessive use of “”psychoactive substances”” which works to alter a mood or other psychological states (David Sue, 2017). The categories of substance abuse disorder are: intoxication, addiction, withdrawal, and physiological dependence (David Sue, 2017). The symptoms of substance abuse disorder seem similar to psychological disorder such as depression which is caused by other factors. These symptoms include feeling pessimistic, loss of interest in work and activities, appetite issues, sleeping problems, concentration problems, hallucinations, and suicidal thoughts (Smith, 2018). In addition, when the person is diagnosed with substance dependence and dual disorder has to face difficulties. These challenging symptoms are: emotional instability or mood swings, episodes of aggressive behavior, periods of severe depression with suicidal thoughts, difficulty maintain healthy relationships, unreasonable fears consume their thoughts, intense fear or panic when faced with certain situations (Prescription Drug Treatment, n.d.). The body, mind, and lifestyle of the person are affected. However, the severity of the symptom can increase with substance abuse relatively increases depression. For instance, a person suffering from substance abuse related depression could experience stronger hallucinations. It is also highly likely that the person is not motivated to engage in work or other activities in this state of mind. The suicide risk increases to 25 percent for people that are suffering from substance abuse related depression (Center, 2018).

The level of substance abuse disorder is determined on the basis of designated symptoms. The substance abuse disorder is distinguished on the basis of mild, moderate and severe (David Sue, 2017). The increase in the number of opioids which function in “”depressing central nervous system”” are considered a “”gateway drug”” (David Sue, 2017). This suggests that addiction towards pain killers increases the high risk for use of additional dangerous or lethal drugs. Likewise, prolong use of antidepressant may or might lead to depression. Therefore, it can cause serious side effect which impacts changes in physiological and psychological state. The side effects are: weight gain, sexual inability, reduced positive feelings, not feeling like themselves, feeling suicidal, care less about other people and others (Dellwo, n.d.). According to the article about “”long-term use of anti-depressants”” mentions about people who were found less depressed, however, “”30 percent”” of the people still had moderate to severe depression (Dellwo, n.d.).

Like every other mental health disorder, a treatment is required to treat the medical condition. There are many factors that have been analyzed to choose an appropriate treatment for depression. In order to cope with daily life, some people with psychological disorder might be prescribed with anti-depressant. If the individual is unknown or prescribed, it is important to learn and understand the possible side effects and encourage for immediate follow up. To address substance abuse related depression, a dual diagnosis treatment targeting both substance abuse and depression must be implemented. These treatments include individual or group therapy, psychotherapy, antidepressant medications, detoxification and 12-Step programs (Staff, 2010). Antidepressants manipulate the chemicals in the brain to control an individual’s mood (Center, 2018). To ensure a successful recovery, it is necessary that a combination of treatments addressing both disorders are undertaken. If a person is treated for depression but not for substance abuse, there is a high probability that substance abuse will trigger depression again.

Unfortunately, many of the patients do not get the proper treatment for recovery. This could be due to the fear of stigma from the society or lack of access to the treatment. However, identified person should be encouraged to talk his/her doctor or physician, involve in counselling, and peer support which can help developing “”protective coping skills”” means minimizing stress or related events (Kathleen Smith, n.d.). By focusing on these important aspects, it will also help in reducing further relapse and prevents from developing depression. Based on a research, it was stated that only 61% of people suffering from depression received either substance abuse or mental health disorder treatment and only 11% received treatment for both mental health and substance abuse (Hunter, Watkins, Hepner, Paddock, Ewing, Osilla & Perry, 2012). If a person does not get treatment for mental disorder, the symptoms could get more severe and last for many years. Therefore, in such severe cases of disorders it is extremely important to understanding for relapse prevention because lack of intervention during relapse can lead to overdose following death.

Substance abuse related depression is a serious issue that is affecting our society. This is a serious issue as depression affects the quality of life of the person, his/her work capability and family. There is a risk that depressed people will not only hurt themselves but also other people surrounding them. Hallucinations and unstable state of mind could affect their ability to distinguish between the reality and imagination. People do not get the proper treatment for recovery as they are in denial of their disorder or chooses not to get one because of the stigma they will face from society. The symptoms of depression are serious and could also lead to the death of the person. It is necessary to educate the society about the dangers of substance abuse related depression while providing easy access to treatments for recovery. Without proper treatment, the person could be under depression for many years.

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