MOOD DISORDERS AND ADDICTION

The clinical definition of the term “mood disorder” is a disturbance in a person’s mood, which is, or eventually becomes, the underlying cause of a detrimental physical or mental condition. One of the most well-known mood disorders is clinical depression. Clinical depression is often the underlying cause for a host of physical maladies, including, extreme fatigue, joint and muscle pain, and more. Mood disorders such as clinical depression also often co-occur with substance addictions.

Individuals suffering from mood disorders are frequently misdiagnosed as hypochondriacs or attention-seekers, but mood disorders are very real. Other examples of well-known mood disorders outside of clinical depression are bipolar disorder and seasonal affective disorder (SAD).

What Causes Substance-Induced Mood Disorders 

A mood disorder is classified as substance-induced if its roots can be traced directly back to the physiological effects of a specific substance. It’s not uncommon for individuals to suffer from mood disorders at the same time that they suffer from substance use disorders. 

Mood Disorders and Substance Addiction

When people suffer from substance use disorders and mental health disorders like mood disorders simultaneously, they suffer from co-occurring disorders. An example of a co-occurring mood disorder and addiction is cocaine addiction and manic episodes. Oftentimes, substance addiction can intensify mood disorder symptoms. Detoxing from substance use can also intensify mood disorder symptoms due to the effects of withdrawal. 

Treating mood disorders is just as important as treating substance addiction. This is especially true when individuals suffer from mood disorders and substance use disorders simultaneously.  

Treating substance addiction without treating its co-occurring mood disorder can cause individuals to relapse more easily. This is because when mental health disorders like mood disorders co-occur with substance use disorders, both disorders trigger, or act as a catalyst, for the other one. Therefore, if a person treats his or her substance addiction without simultaneously treating his or her mood disorder, the lingering mood disorder will cause the individual to desire to abuse substances again. 

What Causes Mood Disorders?

Many things can cause different types of mood disorders to develop. One thing that makes some people more susceptible to developing different types of mood disorders is genetics. Therefore, people that have a parent or grandparent that suffers from mood disorders, are more likely to develop mood disorders themselves. 

Another common cause for the development of different types of mood disorders is an imbalance in chemicals in the brain. This can be due to genetics or chronic substance abuse. Trauma and stress are also common causes for the development of mood disorders. For example, constantly being stressed out due to one’s professional or personal life can cause people to develop depression. Trauma is also a common cause of mood disorders such as depression. 

Who’s At Risk of Developing Mood Disorders

People with close family members that have suffered from mood disorders are at a higher risk of developing mood disorders themselves. Stresses in life can also trigger the development of different types of mood disorders. Women are more susceptible to developing mood disorders than men. In fact, women are almost twice as likely to develop depression as men. 

Suffering from one mood disorder often also makes individuals and the people around them more susceptible to developing other types of mood disorders. For example, people who are close to people with depression are more likely to develop bipolar disorder and vice versa. 

Mood Disorders vs. Personality Disorders

Not all mental health disorders are the same. Mood disorders are just one category of mental health disorders. Another common category of mental health disorders is personality disorders. Mood disorders differ from personality disorders in that mood disorders relate to people’s relationship with their emotions. Personality disorders, on the other hand, relate to the non-normal thoughts, behaviors, and patterns that people have. 

Examples of mood disorders include depression, seasonal affective disorder (SAD), and bipolar disorder. Examples of personality disorders include schizophrenia, antisocial personality disorder, borderline personality disorder, and obsessive-compulsive disorder. 

Common Types of Mood Disorders

There are a handful of different types of mood disorders that people tend to suffer from the most. Some of these common mood disorders are in our list of mood disorders below. 

Major Depression

Major depression is a mood disorder that’s characterized by feelings of sadness and hopelessness that persist for at least two weeks straight. Individuals that suffer from major depression also go through times when they lose interest in activities that they once enjoyed. To overcome major depression, most individuals attend mental health treatment programs. 

Dysthymia

Dysthymia is a type of mood disorder that causes people to experience chronic, low-grade depression and irritability. Therefore, people who suffer from dysthymia tend to do so for at least 2 years.

Bipolar Disorder

Bipolar disorder occurs when an individual goes back and forth between experiencing bouts of depression and bouts of mania or elevated mood. 

Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD)

Seasonal affective disorder is a form of depression that occurs during periods of time when there is minimal sunlight outside due to the current seasons. For example, a person who suffers from seasonal affective disorder may experience depression during the wintertime. 

Substance-Induced Mood Disorders

Substance-induced mood disorders are mood disorders that are triggered by excessive use of substances such as alcohol, prescription medications, and illegal drugs. Individuals who develop substance-induced mood disorders usually suffer from the co-occurring disorder of mood disorders and addiction.

Mood Disorders Related to Various Health Conditions

Some health conditions can also trigger the development of mood disorders. For example, major injuries and infections, chronic diseases, and even major illnesses such as cancer can lead to the development of depression. Some health conditions even require extensive use of prescription medications that can then trigger mood disorders such as depression and bipolar disorders. 

Symptoms of Mood Disorders

Most types of mood disorders are depression-related. Therefore, many of the common symptoms of mood disorders are those that people that suffer from depression often experience. The most common symptoms of mood disorders include:

  • Ongoing Sadness

  • Feelings of emptiness

  • Hopelessness

  • Helplessness

  • Low self-esteem

  • Excessive guilt

  • Suicidal thoughts

  • Loss of interest in activities that one once enjoyed

  • Trouble sleeping

  • Changes in appetite

  • Excessive weight gain or loss

  • Decreased energy

  • Strained relationships with family and friends

  • Trouble concentrating

  • Inability to make decisions

  • Physical issues such as headaches, stomachaches, or tiredness that don’t improve with treatment

  • Increased sensitivity

  • Irritability

  • Increased aggressiveness

Statistics About Mood Disorders and Substance Addiction

Like many forms of mental health disorders, mood disorders can trigger excessive substance abuse and vice versa. Therefore, mood disorders often co-occur with substance addiction. In fact, according to Science and Practice Perspectives, 20%-67% of the individuals that seek treatment for alcoholism experience depression. 

According to Science and Practice Perspectives, 61% of people who seek treatment for cocaine abuse and addiction also suffer from mood disorders. Furthermore, 56% of people that suffer from bipolar disorder also suffer from a lifetime of substance addiction. In fact, studies have found that bipolar disorder is the most common mood disorder to co-occur with substance use. 

What Causes Co-Occurring Mood and Substance Use Disorders?

Many factors can bring on the co-occurrence of mood disorders and substance abuse. Some of the more common factors that cause people that suffer from mood disorders to also have a tendency to suffer from substance abuse include:

1. Self-Medication

Many people that suffer from mood disorders feel the need to medicate themselves in some way to help numb their condition, take the edge off, or change their moods. To do this, many people turn to substances that are easily accessible such as alcohol or prescription medications. 

Some individuals may even turn to illegal substances such as cocaine to help elevate their mood. Unfortunately, such self-medication often worsens the symptoms of mood disorders over time and leads to addiction. 

2. Early Onset

When individuals are predisposed to mood disorders or substance use, one of these conditions can precipitate the early onset of the other. This is often the case when it comes to people that suffer from substance-induced mood disorders. 

3. Genetics and Family History

Genetics can affect the likelihood of individuals developing mood disorders or substance use disorders. This is because genetics increase a person’s susceptibility to either of these conditions. Often, this is especially the case when individuals are predisposed to mood disorders and substance use through family members. Genetics and family history often impact whether or not individuals develop substance-induced mood disorders. 

4. Environmental Factors

Other environmental factors outside of just family history can help trigger mood disorders, substance disorders, or substance-induced mood disorders. For example, if a person that is genetically more susceptible to developing mood disorders such as depression chooses to hang out with individuals that abuse substances, that person is likely to start abusing substances, which will then trigger that person’s susceptibility for mood disorders.

Common Co-Occurring Mood Disorders and Substance Use Disorders

Certain combinations of mood disorders and substance use disorders co-occur more often than others. Some of the more common co-occurring mood disorders and substance use disorders include the following.

Alcoholism and Depression

People who suffer from depression often abuse alcohol to numb their feelings. Over time though, abusing alcohol while suffering from depression can cause extensive amounts of chemical changes in the brain that causes individuals to become dependent on alcohol to function. Once this occurs, depressed individuals who abuse alcohol are officially suffering from a co-occurring disorder of alcoholism and depression. 

There are also times when excessive alcohol abuse causes changes to a person’s brain chemistry that then trigger depression symptoms. People whose alcohol addictions trigger the development of mood disorders, such as depression, suffer from substance-induced mood disorders. 

Overcoming the dual diagnosis of alcoholism and depression is difficult. Therefore, those who suffer from these co-occurring disorders should attend medical detox followed by professional addiction treatment. 

Heroin Addiction and Depression

Heroin addiction is another substance use disorder that also often co-occurs with the mood disorder of depression. This is due to the fact that heroin addiction causes changes in people’s brain chemistry that lead to mood changes and suicidal behavior. Thus, depression is often a heroin substance-induced mood disorder. 

Many of the symptoms of heroin addiction even resemble depression. For example, many people that suffer from heroin addiction experience fatigue, self-isolation, extreme weight loss, and trouble concentrating. Due to the intensity of the symptoms of heroin addiction and depression, people that suffer from this dual diagnosis should also attend medical detox followed by professional addiction treatment. 

Cocaine Addiction and Bipolar Disorder

Many people who suffer from bipolar disorder also abuse cocaine and vice versa. Cocaine addiction, in particular, often induces bipolar disorder because cocaine addiction causes people to experience a euphoric high that could lead to mania. Such mania can then cause people to crash to the point where they’re experiencing bouts of depression and mania, i.e. bipolar disorder. 

On the other hand, people who experience bipolar disorder often look for substances to pick them up when they crash such as cocaine. As a result, many people that suffer from bipolar disorder start to also develop a cocaine addiction. 

Because of the symptoms of cocaine addiction, abusing cocaine can heighten the symptoms of bipolar disorder. Thus, individuals that suffer from cocaine addiction and bipolar disorder must also attend medical detox and professional addiction treatment to get better. 

Receive Co-Occurring Disorders Treatment for Mood Disorders and Substance Use At Florida Center for Recovery

Because mood disorders and substance abuse often go hand in hand, it’s important that addiction treatment centers offer specialized, dual diagnosis treatment programs for various co-occurring disorders. 

At Florida Center for Recovery (FCR), we understand the link between substance use and its underlying mental health conditions. That’s why we effectively address co-occurring mood disorders and substance use disorders in our co-occurring disorders treatment programs. 

Here at Florida Center for Recovery, we also provide comprehensive therapeutic programs for substance-induced mood disorders. Thus, you can rest assured that you’re in great hands while being treated for your co-occurring substance use and mood disorders. 

Our integrative treatment plans here at FCR employ a team of professionals who address addictive and psychiatric disorders on multiple levels. As a result, FCR maximizes each patient’s chances of a successful recovery. 

FCR’s integrated substance use disorder and mental health services are all offered under the cooperative umbrella of a single strategy within our treatment facility. Our innovative individualized therapies are designed to address the multidimensional aspects of the disease of addiction while teaching personal accountability in a safe, nurturing, and real-life environment.

For more information about our dual diagnosis treatment programs and addiction treatment and therapy options, contact us by phone or by web message through our website. Reach out to our facility for a better insight into our diverse comprehensive therapies. We look forward to walking with you through this new chapter of your life!

References:

https://www.hopkinsmedicine.org/health/conditions-and-diseases/mood-disorders

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