The Dangers of Drug-Induced Depression

The Dangers of Drug-Induced DepressionThe Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders considers substance-induced depression to be the “prominent and persistent disturbance of mood that occurs during use of a drug.” Drug use and depression are closely related, and one often causes or contributes to the other. Antidepressants, anticonvulsants, central nervous system drugs, such as benzodiazepines and opiates, and many more substances all may include depression as a side effect of use.

Drug Use and Existing Depression

Drug Induced Diseases, by Sheila Botts and Melody Ryan shares that “[t]he estimated lifetime prevalence of depression in the general population is approximately 17%.” These individuals living with depression may be tempted to turn to drugs or alcohol to self-medicate the associated symptoms, but non-medical substance use can make depression worse. The University of Washington’s Alcohol & Drug Abuse Institute shares that “while marijuana may seem to help ease depression before the effects of the drug wear off, after that, smoking marijuana may make depression worse. Those who use marijuana have been shown to have higher levels of depression and depressive symptoms than those who do not use marijuana.” Other drugs similarly appear to treat depression symptoms but only mask them temporarily while contributing to the underlying issue.

The Dangers of Drug Use and Depression

Drug-induced depression causes many problems. Individuals who need to take medications for health reasons may be tempted to discontinue use of needed drugs, if they are experiencing depression. They may take additional substances to combat the side effects of the drugs they are on, and combining drugs reduces the effectiveness of each while increasing the potential for overdose or harmful interactions. Depression also leads to increased feelings of pain or real physical illness, meaning individuals who take a depression-inducing drug for medical or recreational purposes may find themselves taking additional painkillers to combat the physical effects of depression. Even if drug interaction or overdose does not occur, Botts and Ryan write, “depression or severe depressive symptoms may increase the risk of suicide or suicidal ideation. Up to 15% of patients with [major depressive disorder] die as a result of suicide.” Depression is a serious mental health concern, and using drugs rather than treating the underlying issues only worsens the problem. Addiction and depression are chronic diseases that require professional treatment.

Find a Happy and Drug-Free Life

If you or a loved one is struggling with depression and addiction, help is available. Talk with one of our admissions coordinators today to learn about your options for intervention, treatment and recovery. We are here 24 hours a day, and all calls are free and confidential. Take this opportunity to live a happy and drug-free life; call today.

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