The connection between depression and addiction is so close that they are considered co-occurring disorders. In the overwhelming majority of cases, these conditions go hand in hand, which means they must be treated at the same time. The good news is that many of the treatment methods are the same thus it’s possible to have an effective program that will help the patient deal with both disorders at the same time. However, it’s essential to address both these issues for a successful recovery.

Connection Between Depression and Addiction: Which Causes Which?

Every case of substance abuse is unique, but statistically, depression is more likely to be the initial problem. Note that this doesn’t mean that this mental health disorder causes one to become addicted to drugs or alcohol. However, this condition does increase the risk.

According to a study published in the Current Opinion in Psychiatry, over a third of clinically depressed people develop a substance abuse disorder as well. To get some idea about the scale of this problem you need to understand that over 300 million people worldwide suffer from clinical depression (World Health Organization). And more than aren’t likely to get any help.

Because the symptoms of depression can be very subtle, this disorder often goes unnoticed. What’s even worse is that some types of addiction treatment do not account for it. With the depression not treated efficiently, the patients are more likely to relapse. About 40-60% of drug addicts start using again.

However, a relapse does not mean that the treatment failed completely. Addiction is a mental health disorder, but it’s a highly treatable one. You can cure it and treating depression as a part of the substance abuse rehabilitation program is a major part of that success. That’s why it’s always best to undergo such treatments in professional facilities where the staff understand the complexities of co-occurring disorders, such as The Recovery Village Colorado. Diagnosing all of the patient’s mental health issues and developing a program that will be able to treat all of them is the key to curing addiction and preventing a relapse.

Why Does a Connection Between Depression and Addiction Exist?

Simply put, drugs and alcohol initially act as stimulants, which makes a depressed person resort to them with increasing frequency. However, once one comes down from the substance-induced high, they experience a severe drop in mood and onset of lethargy and drowsiness. This crash, in turn, worsens the symptoms of depression, which pushes the person to get another fix.

This vicious cycle is unending and with every repeat the period of high gets shorter. Once an addiction develops, it starts contributing to the rapidly deteriorating depression disorder. Addiction as a mental illness literally changes biochemistry of the brain, which not only makes the depression worse but also reduces the efficiency of treatment. Unless both problems are addressed at the same time, the chances of recovery are slim.

However, the most important thing you need to understand about the connection between depression and addiction is that both are mental disorders. These are not issues that will go away if you just try to think positive thoughts and exercise the strength of will. As certifiable diseases, these conditions require complex treatment that includes therapy and pharmaceutical drugs. For a better chance of successful recovery one should be monitored by a certified healthcare professional who specialized in these mental illnesses.