As a chronic illness, depression is likely to foster addictive behavior. This is especially true when considering the symptoms of depression. Feeling despondent, hopeless, having trouble sleeping, and other symptoms are often masked by drug or alcohol use.
The issue with this is that once a person starts using drugs and alcohol to deal with depression, they may become addicted and regularly rely on these substances. In reality, self-medicating with drugs and alcohol won’t help depression; they actually worsen the symptoms and cause individuals to enter a downward spiral to try to use more substances to cope.
In these situations, dual diagnosis treatment may be appropriate. Dual diagnosis programs treat all disorders concurrently so that each issue can be addressed holistically.
Depression can be a secondary illness to other issues such as bipolar disorder, PTSD, eating disorders, and more, which means those with depression are even more likely to become addicted to drugs or alcohol and seek a substance abuse treatment program.