Statistics show a strong connection between depression and drug and alcohol addiction. According to The National Bureau of Economic Research (1), people who have been diagnosed with mental illness consume 69% of the nation’s alcohol and 84% of the nation’s cocaine. When someone is recovering from an addiction, depression after addiction can become a major obstacle in their path to recovery.
Let’s take a look at why this happens and how you can get the help that you need to battle depression and recover from your addiction.
Why Do People Going Through Recovery Get Depressed?
When the effects of drugs and alcohol wear off and people struggle with how their addiction impacted their lives. This can often leave them feeling empty and depressed. Many people begin to use drugs or alcohol to fight the demons within, some of them involving depression.
As people are under the influence of drugs and alcohol, they get a false sense of security and pleasure. Drinking alcohol releases endorphins in the brain that help people feel good. (2) When you take that away, you also take away those endorphins. Without those endorphins, people can begin to feel depressed.
Drugs have a similar effect on the brain, affecting reward systems, making the user feel good. (3) When this is no longer happening, depression sets in because they’re no longer getting that high that they became accustomed to.
What are the Effects of Depression?
Depression affects nearly 26 percent of all adults and impacts the body in many different ways. (4) These include:
- Feelings of Sadness and Loneliness
Often when people are depressed they feel hopeless and can’t turn their feelings around.
Depression can keep them awake at night because the mind can’t calm down and relax.
- Cardiovascular Problems
People who are depressed have a higher risk of cardiovascular disease due to constricted blood vessels and are more likely to die from a heart attack.
- Weight Fluctuations
Depression can cause individuals to overeat. Others take it to a different extreme by starving themselves and robbing their bodies of necessary nutrients.
- Aches and Pains
When people are depressed they can also experience aches and pains that don’t improve with medication. If someone is recovering from an addiction, they may not be allowed to take many types of pain relievers.
- Low Energy Levels
Depression can lead to fatigue and low energy levels.
- Suicidal Tendencies
When people are depressed, they tend to have a preoccupation with death and also have a higher rate of suicide.
- Memory Problems or Trouble Making Decisions
Because individuals are not feeling themselves, they may have trouble making decisions and even remembering simple things.
If you are experiencing any of these feelings or problems, it’s important to seek help so that you can get the treatment you need.
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How to Fight Depression After Sobriety
Fighting depression after sobriety is about finding activities that make you feel good inside and out. For some, this means exploring new hobbies like painting or hiking. For others, it means spending time doing yoga or meditating to quiet the mind.
Playing sports in a team environment or learning a new skill can also help people fight depression after sobriety. It can also help to discover new activities that don’t involve drugs or alcohol.
Eating healthy and exercising regularly can leave your body feeling energized and can release feel-good endorphins that can help you fight depression. Having a trusted friend or family member who you can talk to about your feelings can also help you deal with depression after sobriety.
Getting Treating for Addiction and Depression After Addiction
It’s estimated that nearly one-third of all adults who have a substance use disorder also suffer from depression. (5) If you are trying to recover from an addiction and are also battling depression, Ocean Hills Recovery can help.
At Ocean Hills Recovery, we offer a variety of therapy and rehab programs including inpatient drug rehab. This type of rehab lets patients focus on their recovery without the distractions of the outside world. Through individual and group therapy sessions patients learn how to rebuild their lives without the use of any substances.
Whether it’s an inpatient or outpatient rehab program, all patients learn how to develop healthy lifestyles. This could include exercise and finding new hobbies which can help to fight depression. If you want to get on the path to recovery, call Ocean Hills Recovery today or send us a message online. Our team is here 24/7 to help you start the next chapter in your life.
About the author:
Nicole earned her doctoral degree in Psychology with an emphasis on marriage and family therapy at California School of Professional Psychology. Her doctoral thesis was a grounded theory study exploring the role of alienation and connectedness in the life course of addiction. She specializes in treating addiction and trauma. She is certified in DBT and EMDR, two of the most highly regarded evidence-based methods in psychotherapy. Dr. Doss is a strong LGBT advocate and provides open and affirming support to her LGBT clients.
Dr. Doss’s earlier education included graduating cum laude from the University of California, Irvine in June of 2007 with a Bachelor’s degree in Psychology. While there, she received honors recognition by Psi Chi and Golden Key honor societies.
Nicole has been working with alcoholics and addicts in our California drug and alcohol rehab center as an advisor and counselor for many years. She is passionate about providing quality counseling and care to her clients. Her main focus is on integrating the 12 Step and disease models of addiction with experiential therapeutic theory. She is married to Greg; they have two adorable sons together and an energetic yellow Labrador Retriever.