Depression Often Co-Exists with Addiction & Substance Abuse

Woman thinking about how Substance abuse can cause COVID vulnerability

“Depression is the inability to construct a future” ~ Rollo May

The National Institute of Mental Health states that 16.2 million adults in the United States have experienced depression. They estimate 3.1 million US adolescents have suffered from depression. It is a national problem for many!

Consequently, many seek to drown our depression in alcohol, drugs, sex, gambling, overeating, spending or other largely destructive pursuits. Self-medicating is never wise, but often the easiest escape readily available for those experiencing painful feelings of disillusionment, despair, and hopelessness.

Depression is an underlying issue for many unbecoming behaviors. We need to recognize and honor that someone we love or know, may be under-functioning due to their personal hell of wading through overwhelming melancholia.

We might even consider that our substance abusing child, spouse, family member, friend or employee is so overwhelmed by these feelings of depression that they are not fully representing who they can be when feeling well. Empathy and understanding are needed for anyone seeking to climb out of the pit of emotional suffering.

Depression can be overwhelming, but there is hope and help available. We encourage depression sufferers to consult a therapist and a physician for treatment. Both counseling and medication may be needed to overcome or manage depression.

Man sitting by the reiverIn cases where alcohol, drugs or other substances are being abused, it may be necessary to seek professional treatment at an addiction treatment center.

Most programs are well aware of the many co-occurring issues that come along with substance abuse.

It is important to inquire about the program’s capacity to treat depression or other underlying mental and emotional disorders. Finding the right fit can be essential for a drug addict or alcoholic’s ultimate best outcome.

There is no shame in seeking help. The future can be different, better and well worth undergoing substance abuse treatment.


About the author:

Jacquelyn Ekern

Jacquelyn Ekern, MS, LPC founded Addiction Hope® in January 2013, after experiencing years of inquiries for addiction help by visitors to our well-regarded sister site, Eating Disorder Hope®.

Many of the eating disorder sufferers that contact Eating Disorder Hope also had a co-occurring issue of addiction to alcohol, drugs, and process addictions (such as gambling, sex, shopping, etc).

Because she believes in holistic recovery that addresses all of the destructive patterns or behaviors engaged in by the individual, it became clear that it would be helpful to also have a site that deals foremost with addiction, for those that suffer from addiction as a primary concern.

Jacquelyn Ekern is a licensed therapist and she is President of Ekern Enterprises, Inc. which operates both the Addiction Hope and Eating Disorder Hope organizations and websites.

Jacquelyn enjoys art, working out, walking her golden retriever “Whisky”, reading, painting and time with family.

The opinions and views of our guest contributors are shared to provide a broad perspective of addictions. These are not necessarily the views of Addiction Hope, but an effort to offer a discussion of various issues by different concerned individuals.

We at Addiction Hope understand that addictions result from multiple physical, emotional, environmental and genetic factors. If you or a loved one are suffering from an addiction, please know that there is hope for you, and seek immediate professional help.

Published on March 8, 2019
Reviewed by Jacquelyn Ekern, MS, LPC on March 8, 2019
Published on

About Baxter Ekern

Baxter Ekern is the Vice President of Ekern Enterprises, Inc. He contributed and helped write a major portion of Addiction Hope and is responsible for the operations of the website.