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Does Addiction Cause Anxiety and Depression?

August 9, 2016

It is not uncommon for those who battle addiction to struggle with other mental health disorders, as well—including trauma, and, most commonly, depression and anxiety. These are called co-occurring conditions, and though there may be some overlap between the symptoms, the underlying conditions remain distinct from one another.

Why do these disorders so commonly co-occur, though? Is it fair to say that addiction causes anxiety and depression? Not exactly—though the cause-and-effect relationship here can certainly be complicated.

What is more likely is that these conditions all revolve around an abnormality of the brain—something unusual in the brain’s chemistry or topography. Addiction can actually change the brain over time, rewiring it and degrading its functionality, which can in turn cause problems with various mental health disorders, like anxiety and depression.

There are also cases that boil down to self-medication. The symptoms of anxiety and depression may precede the addiction, in these cases, and cause such severe symptoms that the individual reaches for drugs or alcohol to provide relief. What begins as an effort to soothe the symptoms of anxiety and depression can spiral into a deeper problem with substance abuse and ultimately with addiction.

Regardless of the specific cause-and-effect relationship, having co-occurring conditions provides some diagnostic challenges. The symptoms of one condition can effectively mask symptoms of the other, which makes it harder to identify the true underlying issue. This makes it important to seek treatment in a dual diagnosis facility, where each condition can be isolated and treated, the underlying, root problem addressed.

Addiction can sometimes come with some nasty companions—but even in these cases, hope is attainable, recovery achievable. The first step is to seek the proper, dual diagnosis intervention. Reach out to learn more about dual diagnosis today.

Share this post with anyone you know who is battling with co-occurring conditions.

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