Research Paper: Substance Abuse Associated With Depression

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Substance Abuse Associated With Depression

How is Substance Abuse associated with Depression?

The dissertation is a research-based paper to evaluate the association between substance abuse with depression. Depression is considered to be one of the common mental illnesses present in a significant percentage of the United States population. A wide range of studies have clearly exposed the fact that substance abuse is closely related to depression and comorbidity with depression amongst the general population. Depressed people usually turn out for substance abuse to alleviate their pain. A number of theories have been identified to determine the causes that lead to substance abuse addiction and depression. However, the outcomes of comorbid depression and substance abuse treatment have clearly exhibited positive results (that is decreased depressive symptoms with lower levels of substance abuse) amongst the patients.

Table of Contents

Depression and Substance Abuse


Comorbidity with Depression

Relationship between Substance Abuse and Depression

Theories of Substance Abuse and Comorbidity of Depression

Association between Substance Abuse and Depression

Effect of Substance Abuse on Depression

Outcome of Comorbid Depression and Substance Abuse Treatment


Depression and Substance Abuse


Depression in today's time has become one of the most widespread mental disorders amongst the general population from all over the world. Depression leaves a devastating impact on the daily lives of the human beings. This debilitating disorder has been observed to be more common in women as compared to men. The most common symptoms that are found in people suffering from the syndrome of depression include the feeling of sadness, emptiness, hopeless, and discouragement. These people are usually represented as tearful because of lack of confidence that is caused by the development of the feeling of worthlessness and guilt (Wasserman, 2011).

The people encountered with the problem of depression are generally observed to have decreased interests in most of the daily activities, disrupting sleeping patterns, problems with concentration level and critical thinking, exhibit fatigue, and even have issues related with their appetites and weight (in both ways: increase and decrease). If these symptoms are monitored over a period of two weeks on a constant basis, then the individual is considered to be suffering from major depression. This indicates the fact that the individual has depressed mood, which is very different from the normal mood of the individual in general circumstances. In fact, the people with extreme level of depression have often been analyzed to develop suicidal thoughts and tendencies to a great extent (Wasserman, 2011).

The change in the mood of the depressed person also highlights the fact that the individual is associated with poor functioning in various aspects of his life such as social, occupational, educational, personal, or any other significant functions, which are being negatively damaged and hurt. In addition, depression has also been analyzed to leave drastic impacts on the latter lives of the people, where they might have to encounter with impaired relationships, dissatisfaction with their own lives, criminal activities, substance abuse, and so on (Wasserman, 2011).

On an overall basis, depression is considered to be one of the most widespread mental illnesses in the United States that has affected a large population of the country at a very early stage of their lives, which has led to only negative consequences (Wasserman, 2011).

Comorbidity with Depression

Depression is a major mental disorder that has been categorized to various types that can be found in a person. Depression and anxiety can indeed be comorbid, which means that these two disorders are occurring at the same time with overlapping symptoms. In other words, comorbidity with depression signifies that the individual is suffering from more than one disorder or illness. These multiple disorders can occur at the same time, or one after another in the same person (Gotlib & Hammen, 2008).

It has been observed that people suffering from depression are more likely to have increased rates of comorbidity with other mental illnesses and disorders. Indeed, these depressed individuals are also having substance abuse disorders with depression. The people who are likely to suffer from comorbidity with depression have relatively exhibited elevated levels of impairment as a result. Moreover, the severity and recurrence of depression have been monitored to a high extent amongst the people experiencing comorbidity with depression (Gotlib & Hammen, 2008).

Relationship between Substance Abuse and Depression

Theories of Substance Abuse and Comorbidity of Depression

Genetic theory is one of the theories that utilize a biological model to determine the factors that lead the individual towards substance abuse. The biologically inherited aspects are taken into account in this theory to determine the causes of the development of substance abuse within the individuals. This clearly indicates the fact that if the parents of the individual are associated with the disorders of depression and substance abuse, it is more likely that the child develops the same disorders, from a very early stage of his life (Rendon, 2006).

Behavioral model is another significant theory that focuses and analyzes the learning behavioral patterns, situational factors, and antecedent actions of the individual that leads to substance abuse. In other words, the substance abuse is a learned pattern by the individual that is developed or adopted through different patterns of reinforcement (Rendon, 2006).

Social and cognitive learning theory (that is based on the factors of peer pressures, psychological dependence, and so on) perhaps plays a significant role in the development of the habit of substance abuse within the individual. The changes within the social, cognitive, and psychological functioning occurring within the life span of the individual is the primary source of concern for the experts in this theory. Psychosocial effects such as poverty and isolation are considered to be contributing factors to depression especially those individuals who are associated with substance abuse (Rendon, 2006).

Individual differences are also significant theory that lay key emphasis on the reasons that makes particular individuals more susceptible to addiction of substance abuse than others. In this theory, the interaction and relationship between biological, environmental, and psychopathological aspects are considered (Rendon, 2006).

Association between Substance Abuse and Depression

The theories have apparently elucidated the fact that several components profoundly results in substance abuse. In fact, the prevalence of substance abuse in the United States has reached to an alarming position, which indicates the fact that it has become one of the significant problems all over the country. The issue of substance abuse has been reported extensively as one of the prime negative aspects contributing to depression (Kilpatrick, Ruggiero, Acierno, Saunders, Resnick & Best, 2003).

Numerous sources of information have brought the fact into the limelight that depression and substance abuse has a very close relationship with each other amongst the people of the United States. These two conditions have been widely observed to be occurring together amongst a significant proportion of the country's population (specifically amongst the young adults of the nation), which demonstrates the fact that they are highly comorbid. Both disorders (substance abuse and depression) are interrelated to each other, which mean that depression can lead to substance abuse or substance abuse can contribute to depression (Kilpatrick, Ruggiero, Acierno, Saunders, Resnick & Best, 2003).

Depression is attributable to substance abuse or drugs consumption like marijuana, cocaine, alcohol, and so on because these are likely to create a direct impact on the brains of the people. In simpler words, the brain functioning is deteriorated making the individual powerless with decision making process. Taking into account the other side of the spectrum, depression also leads to substance abuse because according to a general observation it has been noticed that the people suffering from depression are likely to intake drugs or turn into substance abuse with an attempt to self-medicate their pain. This usually happens because these people are not ready to accept that they are in the condition of depression, due to which they turn to substance abuse to essentially change how they feel. In this phenomenon of changing their feelings, the individuals in many cases succeed on the short run, but, they do not realize that they are worsening their problem of depression especially in the long run (Kilpatrick, Ruggiero, Acierno, Saunders, Resnick & Best, 2003).

Findings from clinical studies have exposed the fact that apart from tobacco and caffeine, alcohol, cannabis, cocaine, and amphetamines are few of the substances that are most frequently abused all over the United States in case of patients suffering from comorbid depression and psychotic disorders. According to the statistical records presented by research studies, it has come to notice that higher rates of substance abuse is the result amongst the people who have been reported with episodes of severe depression, when compared with the people who are not suffering from this syndrome. The research studies have also concluded that increasing number of teens and young adults are more involved in this experience of substance abuse as a self-medication in order to relieve their pains (Pettinati & Dundon, 2011).

Wide ranging studies have apparently exposed the fact that a significant threat with respect to the development… [END OF PREVIEW]

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Cite This Research Paper:

APA Format

Substance Abuse Associated With Depression.  (2013, November 28).  Retrieved December 7, 2019, from

MLA Format

"Substance Abuse Associated With Depression."  28 November 2013.  Web.  7 December 2019. <>.

Chicago Format

"Substance Abuse Associated With Depression."  November 28, 2013.  Accessed December 7, 2019.