Depression is a serious psychological disorder that often has significant physiological underpinnings. Contrary to popular misconceptions, a depressed person is not necessarily simply sad. Depression involves an imbalance of critical brain chemicals that manage mood, emotional processing, memory function, impulse control, and optimism.
A depressed person often can’t feel anything at all. They are emotionally numb. Many depressed people unconsciously self-medicate with drugs and alcohol. There are many different causes of depression, including being oppressed by others.
What Is Oppression and How Does it Cause Depression?
- Being emotionally dominated or abused by another person, cultural group, or political group
- Being bullied by others
- Being a victim of injustice
- Being held back personally, socially, professionally, financially
- Being unjustly controlled by another (as in slavery or human trafficking)
- A sense of emotional or spiritual dullness or pressure
Oppression traumatizes a person over time. It strips a person of his human dignity and identity. The result is deeply felt pain, and frustration. This can lead to depression, and in severe cases with ongoing threats to safety, it can even lead a person to experience the effects of PTSD.
Why Does Depression Lead to Substance Use?
Depression affects the same parts of the brain that are most directly impacted by drug and alcohol abuse. A depressed person may struggle to feel any positive (or negative) emotions and may be unmotivated to leave the house, talk to friends or loved ones, or to engage in any social activities. A depressed person may also feel irritable or angry. He or she may experience physical aches and pains, and may have difficulty sleeping properly or functioning as well as expected in everyday life.
For some, drugs or alcohol may offer relief from depression for a short period of time. The brain then craves this relief in a way that is more powerful than rational or conscious thought. Even as the effectiveness of this self-medication fades, the depressed individual will often struggle to stop using substances. If a physical dependence to a drug or alcohol sets in, that person may need rehab treatment to get better.
Successfully Treating Depression and Addiction
Due to the close connection between depression and addiction, successful treatment requires an integrated approach to address all aspects of both illnesses. The most effective treatment programs develop customized therapeutic regimens for each patient based on his unique individual needs.
- A comprehensive diagnosis of all aspects of the individual’s mental health
- Individual counseling of various techniques and types
- Group gatherings for peer counseling and support
- Closely monitored medical treatment
- Supervised detoxification
- Development of coping skills and relapse prevention skills
Residential rehab treatment is often the most effective form of treatment for depressed people who also struggle with addiction. Residential programs can last 30 days or more and allow both the staff and the patient to focus extended, coordinated time on the healing process.
24-Hour Depression Helpline
If you have experienced depression as the result of oppression, or for any other reason, and are also wrestling with drug or alcohol addiction please call our toll-free helpline right now at 855-317-8377. Our staff members can answer your questions and can connect you with the most effective addiction and depression treatment available.