Since depression symptoms will continue to get worse over time without treatment, having depression can increase your risk of suicide. Self-medicating depression is also a risk, as 15.6% of people with depression develop an alcohol misuse disorder, while another 18% of people with depression eventually have a substance abuse disorder.
Depression impacts more than 16 million adults in the United States and is the second most common mental health disorder in the country. While depression is highly treatable, and reversible in its early stages, it is also the leading cause of disability in the United States. Depression causes severe episodes of sadness that interfere with your daily life. Everyone experiences sadness. But when you suffer from depression, negative emotions are more intense, lasting for weeks or even months.
What is Depression?
Depression is a mental health disorder that causes you to experience prolonged periods of depressed moods that can make you lose interest in hobbies and activities. Depression can also cause anger and mood changes, as well as:
- Significant changes in appetite
- Sleeping too much or experiencing insomnia
- Feeling hopeless
- Decreased energy
- Suicidal thoughts
Symptoms of depression can range from mild to severe, with serious symptoms preventing you from living a normal life. When you struggle with depression, you can isolate yourself from others and avoid interacting with friends, family members, and loved ones. Persistent thoughts of guilt, worthlessness, and hopelessness are also common. With depression, you can also struggle with thoughts that you’d be better off dead, which is why suicide is such a serious risk.
Depression symptoms last for at least two continuous weeks and impact your daily life. Symptoms may prevent you from going to work or school, which can cause significant issues in your personal, financial, and employment life. Without treatment, self-medicating depression is a common coping mechanism that can lead to a substance abuse disorder, addiction, or alcoholism.
What is Self-Medicating Depression?
Many people who struggle with depression have a serotonin deficiency. Serotonin is a pleasurable neurotransmitter that induces positive emotions. Depressive episodes can make it easy to view self-medicating depression symptoms as beneficial. Since drugs and alcohol are neurotransmitter inhibitors causing your brain to release more neurotransmitters than it should, psychoactive substances can temporarily alleviate your depression symptoms.
Over time, drugs and alcohol ultimately worsen your depression symptoms, making self-medicating depression symptoms a potentially dangerous crutch. Not only do drugs and alcohol put you at significant risk of a fatal overdose, but they also impair your judgment and destabilize your mental health. Self-medicating depression can also make your symptoms more severe, requiring a higher level of treatment.
While depression is reversible in its early stages, ignoring symptoms and avoiding treatment can lead to disabling consequences. Since self-medicating depression can damage your physical, emotional, and spiritual wellbeing, it’s important to reach out for help when you first start dealing with symptoms of depression.
Depression treatment is noninvasive and highly effective. Evidence-based treatments, like cognitive and dialectical behavioral therapy, can improve your problem solving and decision-making skills. Medications, like anti-depressants, can alleviate symptoms and make it easier to manage your depression. Another important way to manage your depression is to avoid using drugs and alcohol. While co-occurring conditions are common, they can make recovery more difficult.
Finding Help for Depression Today
Depression can make you feel isolated, hopeless, and alone. Severe depression can cause disabling symptoms that can make it difficult to live a fulfilling and stable life. Self-medicating depression is also dangerous, as coping with drugs and alcohol can make matters worse. If you are struggling with depression and are ready to get help, call us today at 855.259.1624.