Two of the leading causes of addiction are depression and anxiety. Often, these mental illnesses cause individuals to start self-medicating. Dealing with symptoms of mental illness can make people feel lost, confused, scared and sometimes hopeless. If this describes you, it’s important to remember that you’re not alone. The issue is that substances often make the symptoms worse and don’t solve the problem, so it’s important to get help.
Depression and Anxiety
Depression and anxiety are actually normal feelings for a person to experience. They help us get through our day to day life. Without depression or anxiety, we wouldn’t know when to feel sad or when we should be afraid. Fear is a very important tool that’s helped us survive for millions of years, but it can become a problem. Anxiety triggers let us know when we should stay and fight or run away from danger.
When we experience anxiety, the symptoms put us in a better situation to fight or flee. Our ancestors, who were hunters and gatherers needed to know when it was a good choice to stay or run from animals or other humans. The reason why this is such a strong part of the brain is that the ones who survived made the correct decisions. If you struggle with anxiety, it happens because the symptoms don’t go away when the danger is gone.
Symptoms of anxiety can include:
- Increased heart rate
- Racing thoughts
- Dilated pupils
Depression and Anxiety are Debilitating
The issue with anxiety is that we’re no longer running away from dangerous animals. This part of the brain triggers due to modern-day scenarios like getting to work on time or making new friends. When you have severe anxiety, it’s difficult to talk to people or function in everyday life. Your thoughts morph into fears and sometimes it just feels easier to isolate and stay at home.
Depression, on the other hand, is due to neurotransmitters that aren’t functioning properly. Feel-good chemicals, like serotonin, come from firing neurotransmitters, but those with depression don’t experience this. The different chemicals help with feelings of joy, motivation, and optimism.
Depression and Anxiety Leading to Addiction
If you struggle with high anxiety, all you may want to do is calm down and relax. When dealing with depression, you may want to feel happy, but numbness can also be an issue. Those with depression often feel numb and turn to substances just so they can feel something. As with all substances, eventually, this “solution” becomes the primary source of life’s problems.
Long-term substance abuse can increase symptoms of anxiety and depression in a cyclical pattern. Individuals may start drinking or using drugs as a way to manage anxiety, but develop new problems that cause more anxiety. When using substances for depression, the reaction from substances with a lack of neurotransmitters can begin to make depression worse. The brain thinks the body needs more alcohol or drugs to feel well but is actually just deepening substance dependence.
Getting Help for Your Depression or Anxiety
Crestview Recovery provides drug and alcohol addiction treatment to help you begin a much better life. Through our program, you’ll see that you can get sober and begin managing your anxiety and depression in a much better way. We have a variety of different therapies including:
- Individual therapy
- Behavioral therapy
- Trauma therapy
- Holistic therapy
Give us a call at 866.262.0531 today to make the first step towards a new life.