Depression and Addiction: What You Need To Know

in Addiction
Published Jan 25, 2021
depression and addiction

Depression is one of the most common mental health disorders in the United States. The National Institute on Mental Health (NIMH) reported that an estimated 17.3 million Americans have experienced at least one major depressive episode in their lifetime. There is also a strong link between depression and other mental health disorders, with substance use disorder and mental health disorders affecting nearly 8 million Americans.


What is depression?

While depression is one of the most common mental illnesses, it is oftentimes the most misunderstood. NIMH defines depression as a mood disorder that causes distressing symptoms, which influence how a person might think and feel or how they handle daily activities.

Key features of depression include:

  • Loss of interest or pleasure in hobbies or activities
  • Isolation
  • Decreased energy or feeling fatigued
  • Changes in appetite
  • Changes to sleep, such as waking early in the morning or, conversely, oversleeping
  • Restlessness or irritability
  • Feelings of worthlessness or helplessness
  • Aches or pains that are unexplained and have no physical cause
  • Increased risk of suicide

Of the several types of depression, the two most common ones are major depression (having most of the above symptoms for two weeks or longer, negatively affecting your day-to-day life), as well as persistent depressive disorder (having these symptoms for two years or longer).

Other types of depression include:

  • Perinatal depression, which can occur during or after pregnancy
  • Seasonal affective disorder which generally comes at the start of fall or early winter, then going away during the spring or summer
  • Psychotic depression, which happens when a person experiences severe depression and a form of psychosis at the same time
  • Bipolar disorder, which involves manic and depressive behaviors
  • Disruptive mood dysregulation disorder, which typically occurs in children and adolescents
  • Premenstrual dysphoric disorder, which relates to women and, more specifically, depression surrounding the time of menstruation


What causes depression?

While we do not have a definitive answer yet, scientists continue to study the causes of depression. The most recent research suggests that there is a combination of factors that include genetics, biology, environment, and psychological reasons. Depression can also occur alongside other disorders and illnesses, such as substance use disorder, diabetes, cancer, heart disease, and Parkinson’s disease, to name a few.


Addiction & depression

According to NIMH, approximately 21 million Americans suffer from substance use disorder, with 38% of them experiencing other mental illnesses like depression, too. Interestingly, men accounted for more than half of those struggling with a substance use disorder.


One study found that depression itself can increase the risk of chronic illnesses like substance use disorder, with approximately one-third of clinically depressed people engaging in substance misuse.


Suffering with mental illness and another disorder, like addiction is known as “comorbidity.” Sometimes, comorbidity can make treating each individual disorder more challenging; however, there are medical detox centers and addiction treatment centers that specialize in, and have
the resources to handle, co-occurring disorders.


The bottom line is that it is critical for addiction treatment specialists to study their SUD patients’
full psychiatry history and use it to achieve optimal treatment planning and solutions that are as unique as the individual patients themselves.


Coping with addiction & depression

If you, or your loved one is suffering with depressive symptoms and substance use, it is generally recommended that you/they seek specialist care. That may include medical detox at a specialist center that can also handle depression, and/or medication.


You can find mental health providers at the National Institute of Mental Health and behavioral health providers (including addiction treatment) at SAMHSA.

Additional resources

Gallus Medical Detox Centers has the experience and resources to treat comorbidity. We are certified ASAM Level III 7D Medically Monitored Inpatient Detoxification Facilities and accredited by the Joint Commission, reflecting our expertise and clinical excellence.


Our centers offer the comfort of a residential addiction treatment center, but with the clinical expertise that is far superior to most medical detox centers. We know that each patient has unique medical and personal needs, which is why we provide a personalized service that emphasizes medical safety, outstanding professional expertise, and evidence-based protocols—all without sacrificing our patients’ dignity and comfort. You can find out more information about our treatment options here.


At Gallus Medical Detox Centers, we bring compassion to the commotion. Peace to the pain. Empowerment to the powerless. If you or someone you know needs support with addiction problems, bring us your battle. Call us today and take the best, first step towards recovery: (702) 704-1432