Alcohol and drug addiction have historically always been linked to mental health problems. Mental health problems do not necessarily cause addiction. Nevertheless, some mental health problems, exclusively those which have not been diagnosed quickly, can cause alcohol and drug problems, for the person with a mental health difficulties.
Having a depressive disorder can cause a feeling of being overwhelmed by life, social isolation, sleeplessness, a feeling of psychological unconnectedness, and thus the person feeling this symptoms’, will often self medicate with either alcohol or drugs, in order to feel some relief from these feelings.
Recently a paper published in the Lancet has linked skunk cannabis misuse with a 24% increase first incident psychosis. The research was specifically aimed at people with no diagnosis of mental health problems before using the drug. Effectively, this shows a link between using a drug and a mental health problem. For some, this would not be a revelation, as often people have anecdotal evidence, knowing someone close or in the close circle of friends, who suffered a mental health problem and has used or in the past used drugs or alcohol.
One research paper by the University of Lancaster has linked the use of skunk marijuana and people who are self-medicating for symptoms of bipolar disorder. An interesting comment was made in this research saying cannabis use increase when somebody was in a positive or manic mood.
In fact, smoking marijuana can make depression worse. Temporary relief may be found in a line of coke or a drink, but when the chemicals, except the body depression can worsen to a new low. These so-called “withdraw depressions” happens after somebody has come down from using drugs or alcohol. Unfortunately, many people do not experience chronic symptoms at first. Furthermore, the depression felt from using recreational drugs and alcohol can lead people to reuse, can lead into a problematic cycle.
These symptoms can be made worse when somebody who is on prescribed medication uses drugs or alcohol. Mixing Street drugs and alcohol with prescribed drugs can be deadly, putting the person in danger.
A question often asked for people with an alcohol or drug problem is “did my drinking or drug taking cause me to have depression?” It Is often the job of a psychotherapist/counsellor to help the client find the source of the depression. Furthermore, gain insight into the possible causes of their problems. Whether that’s passed problems unresolved, or fear of failure in the future.
It is often the case client who comes to therapy for an addictive problem are able to track back to when he or she first felt depressed, and gain insight into why they turned to their drug of choice, whether that be alcohol or street drugs.
At Eleos counselling we have had many years helping clients with depression, and a drug or alcohol problem. We work in a Humanistic way to help the client come to terms with life’s hurts and the wave come to cope, if you would like to know more, please click on the link below and you will be taken to the Eleos counselling website.