Mood Disorders and Addiction

Our work in addiction recovery has shown us that many people who are addicted to drugs and alcohol have underlying mood disorders, such as generalized anxiety disorder and major depressive disorder. These mental health conditions cause behaviors that interfere with recovery, and we can help you with new skills that replace the need to self-medicate with drugs and alcohol.

What are Mood Disorders?

The category of mood disorders includes several specific mental health conditions, such as bipolar disorder [LINK], depression [LINK], panic disorders [LINK TO ANXIETY], obsessive-compulsive disorder and post-traumatic stress disorder. Mood disorders are closely linked to a person’s vulnerability to becoming addicted to drugs and alcohol. Without professional support, a person may perceive substance use as a viable solution for the symptoms and isolation caused by the mood disorder.

What are the Signs of Mood Disorders?

Some of the most common signs of mood disorders are:

  • Ritualistic behavior
  • Repetitive behavior
  • Phobias
  • Sudden feelings of deep fear in safe settings
  • Physical symptoms, such as rapid heartbeat, tightness in the chest and problems breathing
  • Hopelessness
  • Fatigue
  • Confused thought processes
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Rapid talking
  • Bouncing around subjects when speaking
  • Hyperactivity
  • Depression
  • Exaggerated responses to normal situations
  • Irritability

What are the Risk Factors for Mood Disorders?

Family and social environments affect individual people in different ways. No specific risk factors guarantee that a person will or will not acquire a mood disorder, but some of the more common environments that are linked to mood disorders are:

  • Substance use, violence and abuse in early childhood
  • Unrealistic expectations from parents and teachers
  • Criticism for self-identity and personal pursuits

How are Mood Disorders Diagnosed?

Diagnosing mood disorders requires specialized training and education. Our mental health professionals conduct a series of screenings to determine if you have a mood disorder, as well as the nature of the disorder.

How Do Mood Disorders Affect Addiction?

Mood disorders may develop over several years because of unhealthy family environments and other experiences. The person may have no outlets for discussing their emotions and situation. The lack of communication and modeling of healthier options is the genesis of mood disorders. Because the person has inadequate coping skills, drugs and alcohol appear to offer viable escapes and coping mechanisms.

When a person with a mood disorder begins to use drugs and alcohol, the effects may be significantly different than what they experience sober. Experimentation transitions to regular use, and the brain continues to reinforce the behavior until the person is addicted. Unfortunately, drug and alcohol use often worsen mood disorders, so the person may be driven to use more of the substance or try new substances.

What Treatment is Available for Mood Disorders and Addiction?

Diagnosing your mood disorder is an important first step. You work with one of our mental health professionals during an assessment phase. The diagnosis is the foundation of your treatment plan for the disorder, as well as your addiction. The journey is one in which you learn new life skills and ways to manage your mood disorder while becoming less reliant on drugs and alcohol.

Mood disorders are common among individuals who are addicted to drugs and alcohol. Working with our mental health professionals and addiction counselors gives you the tools you need to live a life of sobriety. Contact us today to speak with one of our addiction specialists and schedule an assessment.

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