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While both have unique characteristics, there is a clear connection between depression and addiction.

Both depression and addiction are listed, respectively, in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manuel of Mental Disorders, Fifth Edition (DSM-5) as brain disorders. Depression, also known as major depressive disorder or clinical depression, according to the National Institute of Mental Health is a common but serious mood disorder. According to Johns Hopkins Medicine, “a mood disorder is a mental health class that health professionals use to broadly describe all types of depression and bipolar disorders.” The word depression is often erroneously used as a synonym for sadness. However, when used in a clinical setting, depression carries a much different meaning. Depression is characterized by persistently depressed mood and/ or loss of interest in previously enjoyed activities, impairing one’s ability to function in his or her daily life. The various symptoms associated with depression can range from mild to severe. 

Addiction, also known as substance use disorder, is characterized as habitual engagement in the use of drugs and/ or alcohol despite the negative consequences. An individual that struggles with addiction will put his or her need for satisfying a drug craving above all else in his or her life. Therefore, addiction has the propensity to affect every aspect of an individual’s life. The Journal of Clinical Psychiatry estimates one in three adults who abuse drugs and/ or alcohol suffer from depression. Individuals that suffer from depression may attempt to ease their symptoms by abusing drugs and/ or alcohol as a means of self-medicating. On the other hand, an individual that struggles with substance abuse and/ or addiction, by nature of the disease may develop depression and/ or awaken another type of previously dormant mental health ailment. It is virtually impossible to distinguish which mental health ailment truly manifests first in individuals that have a dual diagnosis. 

Relation Between Depression and Addiction

The National Institute on Drug Abuse provides data that indicates individuals with mood disorders, such as depression, are twice as likely to engage in substance-abusing behaviors than those without a mood disorder, which drastically increase one’s risk for developing an addiction. There are many common and shared side effects that can present in individuals struggling with depression and/ or addiction. They can include, but are not limited to, any combination of the following examples:

  • Irritability
  • Weight fluctuations
  • Physical aches and pains
  • Feelings of hopelessness
  • A diminished sense of self-worth
  • Inability to concentrate on and/ or complete daily tasks
  • Poor hygiene practices
  • Suicidal ideations

There is a variety of contributing factors behind one’s development of depression, many of which overlap with those behind an individual’s susceptibility for developing an addiction. Regarding both the development of addiction and depression, respectively, are influenced by factors such as environmental, brain structure and chemistry, genetics, as well as situational factors. 

Further Information and Support

Navigating the challenges that arise from living with mental illness, struggling with substance abuse, and/ or addiction can not only be all-consuming but are often impossible to effectively handle without proper support. If you are concerned for yourself or a loved one regarding mental illness, substance abuse, and/ or addiction we recommend reaching out for help as soon as possible. Bear in mind that you do not have to be on this journey alone. At {Upwell Advisors}, we offer unique, customized concierge therapeutic services to provide our clients with unparalleled support throughout every step of the recovery process. 

Feel free to reach to contact us anytime via email at [email protected] We look forward to supporting you on your journey.

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