does addiction cause depression

Many people ask: Does addiction cause depression? The unfortunate answer is that it can, depending on the individual. Drug addiction and depression often go hand-in-hand. For many people, addiction causes depression, and for others, depression leads to addiction. This can create a vicious, repetitive cycle where addiction exacerbates depression, and depression exacerbates addiction.


What are the Causes of Addiction?

When many people ask, “does addiction cause depression?” they want to know for themselves or a loved one showing signs of depression. 

Both addiction and depression result from changes in the brain affecting the way the body processes things like emotions and actions. But what are the causes of depression and drug addiction?


Genetics can play a significant role in how likely you are to develop an addiction once you try any substance, including drugs, alcohol, or even sugar or caffeine. Addiction can be traced to your genetics. Scientists have uncovered over 400 locations in your human genome that can influence your risk of addiction. 


Your environment can also influence whether you develop an addiction. Your environment might include where you live or grew up. You are more likely to struggle with addiction in a chaotic home, a violent home, or a home in which others are suffering from addiction. Living in a community that has an attitude of openness and acceptance toward drug use or alcoholism can influence this as well, and so too can the people around you.


Any exposure to trauma can impact your physical and emotional health. Adverse traumatic experiences, especially in childhood, can lead to higher levels of addiction. Even as an adult, witnessing violence or being the victim of any type of abuse, having an incarcerated family member, struggling through a divorce, or dealing with mental illness in the family can contribute to a higher risk of addiction.

Mental Health

The most significant link, however, is between your mental health and addiction. Drug addiction and depression might start in that order with addiction first, but struggling with any type of mental health disorder, including depression, puts you at a higher risk of developing an addiction. If you also have a history of trauma, an unsupportive environment, and a genetic predisposition, that risk increases significantly.


What are the Symptoms of Addiction?

The symptoms of addiction look different from one person to the next but typically involve spending money on substances even when you can’t afford them and taking more than you intend or should take, especially with prescriptions. 

It can also manifest as having intense urges, feeling dependent on that substance, engaging in risky activities while under the influence, avoiding friends and family in exchange for getting high or drunk, and failing to follow through with personal or professional obligations.

Addiction and Depression Facts:

  • Dual diagnosis disorders are a term used for when multiple conditions are impacting a person simultaneously. The most common dual diagnosis disorders include Substance Use Disorder and a mental health condition, such as depression or anxiety.
  • Depression frequently co-occurs with substance abuse because they have a bi-directional relationship, meaning people who abuse drugs and alcohol are more likely to suffer from depression, and people who suffer from depression are more likely to abuse drugs and alcohol.
  • Roughly one-third of adults who struggle with addiction also suffer from depression.
  • Among adults who have major depression, 16.5% have an alcohol abuse disorder, and 18% have a drug abuse disorder.


Does Addiction Cause Depression?

Yes. Addiction can cause depression. There is often a relationship between the two. 

Depression leading to Addiction

In some situations with drug addiction and depression, depression comes first. Individuals who suffer from a depressive disorder might experience feelings of isolation, hopelessness, and a lack of motivation. They try to dull the pain or feel better on their own by self-medicating. Self-medication with drugs and alcohol can provide short-term, temporary relief, but it can lead to addiction, and addiction can intensify depressive symptoms.

Addiction leading to Depression

In some situations, people experience depression due to drug abuse, but addiction comes first. Drugs and alcohol are chemicals, and they could significantly impact the composition of the brain. Long-term addiction can change the way the brain regulates mental functioning and emotions, leading to chemical imbalances that cause severe depression.


Is There Treatment for Addiction and Depression?

Yes! At Water Gap Wellness Center, we provide comprehensive dual diagnosis and mental health treatment near New Jersey. At our Tri-State rehab facility, we focus heavily on treating the entire person, targeting your mental and physical health simultaneously.

We provide comprehensive, structured rehab programs to help you manage your diagnosis while also moving through the initial steps of your recovery process. Whether you need partial hospitalization or an intensive outpatient program, our talented and caring staff is here to help you overcome the stigma and get the help you deserve.

Let Water Gap Wellness Center help you get treatment for addiction and depression today.

About WGWC

Water Gap Wellness Center offers expert and compassionate treatment for mental health and substance abuse at our Pennsylvania facility, just outside New Jersey, a short drive from New York. Contact us to learn more about how we can help you today. 

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