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Mood Disorders’ Influence on Addiction

Everyone wakes up on the wrong side of the bed once in a while. Most people can eventually bounce back from having a rough day. However, those who develop mood disorders experience severe changes that affect their ability to lead a normal, productive life. Two of the most common such disorders are depression and bipolar disorder. Other problems that fall under this category include seasonal affective disorder and dysthymia, a chronic type of depression that lasts two years or longer.

Symptoms of a Mood Disorder

What’s the difference between having a mood disorder and being out of sorts every now and then? A mental health professional may diagnose you with a mood disorder if your feelings are disrupting your day-to-day life. Some signs that you may have depression or another type of mood disorder include:

  • Feeling empty or hopeless
  • Losing interest in school, work or formerly enjoyable hobbies
  • Disrupted sleep schedule – either sleeping too little, or too much
  • Lethargy or overall low energy
  • Thoughts such as, “The world would be better off without me”

The Link Between Addiction and Mood Disorders

Medical researchers have identified a variety of causes leading to mood disorders, including genetics and an imbalance in brain chemicals. They have also determined a connection between mood disorders and the chances that someone will go on to develop a substance abuse problem. Depression, in particular, can make people vulnerable to wanting to self-medicate with drugs and alcohol to dull the symptoms they are experiencing. Others may gradually develop a dependency on the prescription medications they take to help them manage bipolar or another mood disorder. When someone develops an addiction alongside a mental illness, health professionals call it a dual diagnosis. People with mood disorders are twice as likely to struggle with a substance use disorder (SUD), and people with SUDs are about twice as likely as those without to have a mood disorder.

Successfully Treating Mood Disorders and Addiction

Substance misuse often exacerbates mental illness symptoms, while having a mood disorder can increase the chances that people will turn to drugs and alcohol in a misguided attempt to feel better. An appropriate treatment plan for dual diagnosis is the way to reclaim your life from the cycle of substance abuse and depressive behavior. Mood disorders are not always permanent. Some last only a short while, while others can ebb and flow at different points throughout your lifetime. Regardless, it’s crucial to get mood disorders and addiction treated at the same time if you want to have the best possible chance of reaching sobriety. At Spearhead Lodge, we tailor our dual-diagnosis treatment approach to each client’s specific needs, using proven methods such as cognitive behavioral therapy, dialectical behavioral therapy and eye movement desensitization and reprocessing. Providing these treatments in a single-gender environment enables our program participants to focus solely on the unique challenges of getting their lives back after receiving a dual diagnosis. If you think our unique programming is a good fit for yourself or a young man in your life, contact us anytime.