Depression and Addiction’s Dangerous Cycle

Every now and then, people experience the blues. After a stressful day at work, relationship issues or a traumatic experience it is normal for people to feel a little bit down for a period of time. However, depression is a very different thing. According to the American Psychiatric Association, depression is a common and serious medical illness that negatively affects how you feel, the way you think and how you act. Depression causes feelings of sadness and/or a loss of interest in activities once enjoyed. It can lead to a variety of emotional and physical problems and can decrease a person’s ability to function at work and at home. In addition, depression and addiction often go hand-in-hand.

How Depression and Addiction are Linked

Many people who are suffering from this may turn to substance abuse in order to numb their feelings of depression. Drinking alcohol or taking drugs may help someone temporarily experience feelings of euphoria, however, the feeling doesn’t last long. The depression that comes back to follow is worse than before, resulting in heavier substance use to numb it.

The more substance you use, the higher your tolerance becomes. The higher your tolerance becomes, the more severe your addiction will be – and ultimately – the worse your depression becomes. This results in a dangerous, uncontrollable cycle that can lead to overdose or death.

Signs of Depression

Symptoms of depression can range from mild to extremely severe and debilitating. Symptoms must last at least two weeks for a diagnosis. There are many medical conditions that can mimic symptoms of depression, so it is important to rule these out first.

  • Feeling sad
  • Feeling worthless
  • Difficulty making decisions
  • Feeling guilty
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Loss of interest in activities once enjoyed
  • Changes in appetite
  • Changes in sleeping patterns
  • Insomnia
  • Fatigue
  • Increase in inadvertent physical activity, such as hand-wringing or pacing
  • Thoughts of death or suicide

Signs of Addiction

If you think you have become addicted to a substance as a result of your depression, ask yourself the following questions:

  • Are you unable to slow, or control, your use of substances?
  • Do you experience cravings or feel the need to use in order to feel normal?
  • Have you suffered any negative consequences, such as loss of a job or relationship, due to your addiction?
  • Do you use at inappropriate times of the day, such as in the morning or while working?
  • Over time, have you found yourself needing more and more of a substance to create a high?
  • Have people in your life begun expressing concern over your use, physical appearance, change in social circle or noticed a change in your priorities?

Answering yes to any of the above questions means that you are suffering from an addiction and a substance abuse disorder. Getting help now is essential so that your addiction does not get any worse. The more severe the addiction is, the lower the chances are for long term recovery. It becomes more and more difficult to stay sober as time goes on. It also becomes more and more difficult to handle the symptoms of worsening depression as time goes on. The time to stop this dangerous cycle is now.

When to Get Help

Addiction always stems from some form of a root cause. This root cause can be a traumatic experience, such as a car accident, abuse or the death of a loved one. It can also involve growing up with a family member who suffered from addiction, such as a parent. A root cause can also be a co-occurring disorder, such as anxiety or depression. If you are noticing that your substance use has gotten out of control and your depression has worsened, it is time to seek help.

Dual Diagnosis

When someone is suffering from both addiction and a co-occurring disorder such as depression, the treatment that will best help is dual diagnosis treatment. Treating both the addiction and depression at the same time is essential because treating one without the other will not result in a successful recovery. This is because one co-occurring disorder will exacerbate the other, and the cycle of depression and addiction will start again. If you are looking to receive help for both of your co-occurring disorders, make sure you find a treatment center that will give you dual diagnosis treatment.

About Pinelands Recovery Center

Depression is a difficult disorder that affects millions of people. You are not alone in how you are feeling. This is especially true if you are suffering from addiction as a result of your depression. In fact, addiction is a symptom of severe depression. The good news is, both disorders are treatable. You don’t have to live in the dangerous cycle of depression and addiction anymore. We can help you.

Pinelands Recovery Center of Medford is widely known as one of New Jersey’s finest, most respected addiction treatment facilities. With comfortable 30-bed accommodations and 24-hour professional staff, we can offer clients a serene, relaxing environment amid the lush piney woods. This stress-free setting with its sense of warmth and welcoming enables you to feel comfortable and confident about your clean and sober life ahead.

We will establish clear goals, both general in nature and specific to your needs. We continue to monitor those goals, to make sure that our clients are progressing and buying into their recovery plan. We thrive on assisting clients in feeling connected to the recovery community, share and demonstrate effective coping techniques, help clients to modify attitudes and patterns of behavior and everything else you will need to be happy and productive living a sober, healthy life.

We ensure that clients complete their planned concrete tasks, encourage hope, optimism and healthy living. Our recovery program is not a revolving door treatment program; it is a recovery model designed to help clients go on to lead productive, happy lives. For more information, visit