Substance abuse disorders can develop on their own, but it is also extremely common for a drug and alcohol problem to be accompanied by one or more mental health disorders, a condition called a co-occurring disorder. Among co-occurring disorders, depression and anxiety are among the most frequently encountered and two of the most dangerous that drug-addicted individuals can face.

Both anxiety and depression are natural parts of the human experience and have essential roles in helping us stay safe and healthy. The ability to feel sadness and grieve is vital to maintaining overall mental health and leading a fulfilling life. Likewise, anxiety can help individuals recognize and react to threats of physical and emotional harm. However, when anxiety and depression become severe and begin to interfere with an individual’s ability to lead a healthy life, these emotions can cause significant pain and invite the risk of addiction and life-threatening problems.

Untreated mental health symptoms can often feel unbearable or even debilitating, and many people try to alleviate these symptoms by self-medicating with drugs and alcohol, which only increases their symptoms and their pain many-fold. Self-medication can lead individuals who have never had problems with drugs or alcohol before into an addiction pattern if they do not seek professional help for their underlying issues.

A drug problem on its own can feel overwhelming to tackle, especially if you try to do so on your own. Nearly all who attempt to get healthy on their own fail. Trying to treat a drug problem along with a co-occurring disorder, like anxiety or depression, can feel impossible, and you run the risk of serious health repercussions without professional help. Struggling individuals are not alone, however, and can find the help they need and hope at Bayview Recovery.

Depression, anxiety and substance abuse require professional treatment

In the modern world, anxiety can be triggered by common and everyday events like meeting new people or taking on new challenges at work; however, some individuals may feel anxiety whose intensity is beyond reasonable given the circumstances and which can even become debilitating. Severe anxiety can affect every aspect of your life, making even the most routine tasks impossible to complete without extreme pain or discomfort. These feelings may be so great that many people opt to disengage from anything that might trigger their stress, and this loss of freedom can easily lead to depression and the desire to self-medicate.

Anxiety symptoms can include:

  • Increased heart rate
  • Heavy perspiration
  • Racing thoughts
  • Heightened adrenaline
  • Dilated pupils

The most common cause of depression is chemical imbalances in the brain. Neurotransmitters in the brain responsible for feelings of happiness, joy, optimism and euphoria may fail to function healthily, and as a result, individuals find themselves unable to feel these sensations, and depression ensues. Substance use becomes a way for these individuals to feel these lost positive emotions, but it comes at a significant cost to their physical and mental health.

Depression symptoms can include:

  • prolonged sadness
  • appetite loss, weight gain or weight loss
  • loss of interest in former pastimes
  • sleep problems, including too much or too little sleep
  • chronic fatigue or lethargy

The complex relationship between depression, anxiety and addiction

Anxiety requires treatment. Sadly, many people with anxiety do not seek out the professional help they need and instead turn to drugs and alcohol to relieve their symptoms, if only temporarily. Self-medicating through drugs and alcohol may bring anxiety sufferers the calm and peacefulness they desire; however, using substances in place of medication just adds new symptoms without relieving their old ones.

Individuals who suffer from depression also add new symptoms when they begin to use substances to find relief. While substances may soothe anxiety sufferers, drugs and alcohol can provide the energetic high and sensations that they lack and desire. Inevitably, ongoing substance use increases a user’s tolerance and leads to increased substance use, dependency, addiction and life-threatening problems.

Not only does substance abuse add its own harmful symptoms which must be treated, but also it can increase depression and anxiety symptoms or even incite mental health problems which before have never been a problem. Alcohol, for example, can have a significant negative impact on depression which users may respond to by consuming more alcohol, creating a vicious cycle where both disorders become worse. Only supervised detox followed by rehab and therapy can help individuals successfully overcome these problems.

Bayview Recovery Can Help You Manage All Aspects of Your Addiction So You Can Recover and Stay Healthy

Managing addiction can be daunting on its own, and it can seem even more challenging if you also have depression or anxiety. Trying to go it alone — in almost every instance — will not succeed. That’s why Bayview Recovery is here. Our counselors not only understand the difficulties of recovering from these illnesses but also we understand the human impact they can have and the toll they can take on your life and your loved ones.

Compassion and understanding is a crucial component to recovery and one you will find embedded into our programs. From our highly-experienced and adept counselors to a facility designed around your needs and comfort, Bayview Recovery strives to provide you with everything you will need to get well and stay well. Our treatment program offers you comprehensive care with dignity and includes:

  • Individual therapy
  • Behavioral therapy
  • Trauma therapy
  • Somatic therapy
  • Meditation, mindfulness and yoga

Call Bayview Recovery at 888.570.7154 to take the first towards your recovery today.