Mental disorders and addiction are often linked hand in hand. Sometimes it’s hard to know which occurred first. People who suffer from depression may use heroin to self medicate, but once the euphoria wears off it can leave individuals worse off, and in certain circumstances, with a greater illness to battle. Symptoms of depression can intensify when using heroin over a period of time. Within America, 15 percent of the population has suffered from depression.
Within the United States, 15 percent of the population is impacted by depression—making it the most common mental illness. Having little to no emotional sense of pleasure to form normal relationships, hobbies, and/or school or work connections—imagine if this was you. For the many individuals who contend with depression, these struggles are part of their everyday battle—one which may be worsened by heroin abuse and addiction.
Many times a mental disorder and addiction link arms, which presents a challenge when both diagnoses are severe in a person. These two separate brain disorders intermingle, greatly impacting the other, and they both need treatment. Does drug abuse create a mental illness? The specific drug may trigger a mental disorder in people who are more genetically susceptible; however, in others, it’s not the drugs that cause it, instead the substances aggravate existing symptoms.
Mental Illness And Self Medication
People who suffer from mental illness can be prone to abusing drugs as a form of self-medication. When using these drugs, the individual may feel some temporary relief from mental disorders such as depression, anxiety, stress, etc.
For example, a youth may have the beginning stages of a mental disorder and so he begins abusing drugs. Suddenly, the symptoms of the disorder heighten much quicker than they originally would have, thereby increasing the drug abuse.
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How Are Depression And Addiction Related?
The areas of the brain which are impacted by depression are extremely similar to the areas affected by addiction. Both addiction and depression are centered in the same behavioral areas, including those responsible for pleasure, motivation, reward, and neurovegetative functions. Research continues to examine the relationship involving the two. There is still not a clear understanding of the root cause of the mood differences which involve depression.
Many brain regions associated with addiction share a variety of symptoms with depression, and studies of patients with depression were reported as having abnormalities in these same brain areas. Though there has been contradictory reports as well, further research is still needed. There is also a high rate of suicide with heroin addicts.
Does Heroin Make Depression Worse?
The reward pathways in the brain, when they have little activation, can cause depression. For some who suffer from it, especially those who already abuse heroin, turning to drugs to create a leveled out feeling in brain may seem like an easy fix. When a drug, such as heroin, is used to treat symptoms like depression, it often leads an individual down a path worse than where they even started from.
Those who are prone to one mental illness, can easy obtain two such as a co-occurring drug addiction. Many of the same pathways, chemicals in the brain, and molecules from addiction are also present in mental illness—thus linking them strongly together.
It can be far too easy to judge those who are addicted to heroin or another type of drug as doing so from weaknesses of their morals or character, however, this is not the case. An addiction is a disease of the brain, one that has the potential to worsen other disorders, such as depression, or even cause it.
Some people who start off using prescription painkillers end up down the path of addiction, even progressing to heroin, even though they started off with legitimate concerns of pain.
What Is The Impact Of Addiction?
When dealing with a heroin addiction, an individual often goes through many different types of battles, such as neglecting relationships and responsibilities, random mood swings, health troubles, lying, or often buying drugs instead of paying bills, etc. These negative changes may foster addiction.
The cycle of addiction is a constant up and down—extreme pleasure and comfort, followed by the lows—which may at first make an individual just feel “normal.” However, when a person first takes heroin, the euphoria is typically unlike anything they’ve ever felt, but after awhile, the once pleasurable feelings start to level out, and again, they feel normal. Overtime, the euphoria diminishes, and eventually, the situation progresses to the point where life, and their moods, starts to feel terrible unless they have heroin.
The problem which starts to develop with prolonged abuse is that an individual needs more of the drug to not just feel the euphoria, but also the normal feelings. As this occurs, a person needs more and more heroin to feel even that—this is called a tolerance.
Soon depression settles in, even after abusing the drug—and it may not matter how much is abused—a person is often unable to shake the depressed feelings. This soon turns into a cycle of a person self-medicating their own depression. To top it off, there are additional side effects associated with withdrawal as well, including depression. Quitting can be difficult for those individuals who face depression, physical withdrawal symptoms, and cravings.
Help Is Always Here
When dealing with depression or a heroin addiction, there is help available for you. Whether the heroin addiction came first and ended in depression or vise versa, we are here to support you. Facing the duality of both of these mental illnesses can be difficult to overcome, but with our assistance you can overcome these battles. Contact us today at Vertava Health.