Substance Induced Mood Disorder Treatment.

It’s not unusual for those with substance abuse problems to also be suffering from a mental health disorder. In many cases, the two exist at the same time. Sometimes, an addiction problem can actually cause a person to develop a mental health disorder. When this happens, the individual has what professionals call a substance-induced mood disorder. Often, it’s impossible to determine how the two relate. But mental health issues and substance abuse issues can definitely feed off of each other.

In most cases of co-occurring disorders, one can cause the other to occur. If symptoms of mood disorders like depression, bipolar disorder, or a similar mental health condition arise after someone begins using a substance and end once the individual has entered recovery, it’s likely the problem substance-induced. This means it is brought about by the use of that substance, rather than some other reason.

These types of problems can be complex and confusing, particularly if you’ve never experienced symptoms of a mood disorder before. Here at Crest View Recovery Center, we have the expertise and the support to help you work through this difficult time and move forward in a healthy manner. Keep reading to learn more about substance-induced mood disorder and what such a diagnosis can mean for your recovery.

About Substance-Induced Mood Disorder

If you take or stop taking drugs or alcohol and experience change in your thinking, behavior, or feelings, it’s likely an indication of a mood disorder that the substance was inducing your mood disorder.

It’s possible for prescription medication, alcohol, or illicit drug to cause you to feel manic, depressed or anxious. It is important to take note as to whether these symptoms were present before exposure to the substance. If so, you’re not dealing with a substance-induced mood disorder.

The causes of such mood disorders can be complex. Your brain produces various chemicals, each with its own purpose and effect. When the chemicals are in the correct balance, your mood is stable. When these substances are forced out of whack for any reason, your mood, energy, and behavior can be negatively affected.

The introduction of drugs or alcohol into your system is likely to disrupt your brain’s chemical composition. Everyone’s makeup is different, so you never can tell how a particular thing might affect you. Substances that can induce problems with your mood include alcohol, LSD, cocaine, prescription medications, and even some over-the-counter medications.

How to Notice A Substance-Induced Mood Disorder

Many different symptoms can associate with these types of disorders. They mimic the symptoms of conditions that do not associate with any substance. Symptoms generally begin soon after you start taking a particular drug or alcohol. They may last as long as you keep that substance in your system, ending days after you quit taking them.

Symptoms usually fall into the category of depressive or manic, for the most part. Depressive symptoms include:

  • Feelings of sadness
  • Loss of interest in activities usually enjoyed
  • Low levels of energy
  • Changes in appetite
  • Feelings of guilt, worthless, or hopelessness
  • Inability to concentrate
  • Headaches
  • Joint pain

Manic symptoms leave you feeling on top of the world with an exaggerated positive view of yourself. You’ll notice lots of energy, the ability to go without sleep or racing thoughts. You may also become easily irritated or aggressive.

Different Types of Substance-Induced Mood Disorders

There is a wide array of mood disorders, and they only worsen with the presence of a substance. The 3 major types of mood disorders we will cover are:

  • Anxiety Disorders: Anxiety disorders affect more than 25 million Americans every year. They are caused by uncontrollable, excessive stress and worries of things out of the person’s control. 
  • Depression Disorders: Disorders that are categorized by negative thoughts and feelings that cannot be controlled by the person who is experiencing them. Malfunctions of the neurotransmitters in the brain cause these symptoms to occur.
  • Bipolar Disorder: This is a type of depressive disorder that is caused by a malfunction in the hormonal imbalance of the brain. It causes an individual to bounce from one emotion to the next at the drop of a hat. 

What is Depression and Who Does it Affect?

Depression is a mental disorder that changes the way someone thinks, acts and feels. It affects an individual’s hippocampus, amygdala and prefrontal cortex areas of the brain and causes negative feelings and thoughts by raising cortisol levels.

According to the National Institute of Mental Health’s 2017 report, about 17.3 million adults in America suffer from depression every year. That averages about 7.1% of all American citizens.

Different Types of Depression

There are seven common types of depression that can affect an individual so severely that they can require treatment to help understand and overcome the disorder. Those types include:

Major Depressive Disorder (MDD): This is what licensed professionals deem “clinical depression.”  

Postpartum Depression: Because pregnancy hormones are so different than regular hormones women experience on a daily basis, they can affect a woman’s mental health to the point of severe confusion and hallucination.

Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD): Depression, sleepiness and weight gain that occurs during months of cold weather but then goes away once the weather becomes warmer outside.

Persistent Depressive Disorder (PMDD): Also known as dysthymia, this disorder means individual experiences more “depressed days” than normal days during a 2 year period.

Bipolar Disorder: A mood disorder characterized by periods of “mania.” Individuals who suffer from this disorder can experience happiness one minute and rage the next with no explanation.

Premenstrual Dysphoric Disorder: Severe versions of premenstrual syndrome symptoms like mood swings and food cravings.

Atypical Depression: Depression that is unpredictable. Individuals may experience this type of depression until a positive event in their life is approaching and then the symptoms will go away.

What is Bipolar Disorder and What Causes It?

Bipolar disorder is a manic-depressive mental illness due to a hormonal imbalance inside of an individual. It is characterized by mood shifts and energy fluctuations that change on a day-to-day basis. The individual who has this disorder will experience bouts of mania and depression that heighten their emotions towards whatever situation is going on around them. Any event or mood change that the person experiences can cause these periods of depression. These periods can last weeks or even months at a time.

At Crest View Recovery Center, we understand that bipolar disorder does not discriminate. It affects both men and women and commonly occurs between the ages of 15 and 25. Specialists estimate that 2.9% of Americans have a bipolar disorder diagnosis. Out of that estimate, 83% of these individuals have severe cases.

A lot of people in North Carolina are uneducated about what bipolar disorder truly is. There are many instances when individuals have no idea how serious their condition is, and they go about living their daily life believing what they are feeling is normal. Because of this, many bipolar disorder cases go undiagnosed.

How Does Anxiety Affect Developing a Substance Addiction?

Anxiety is an emotion that refers to the anticipation of future concern of an event that has not taken place yet. There are many things in our lives that can cause us to experience anxiety. At low levels, anxiety is a normal condition to experience on a week-to-week basis. It becomes a problem though when a person cannot lead a normal life because of how severe their anxiety has become.

When anxiety overwhelms a person, he or she may turn to prescription drug abuse as a way to cope with their illness. This oftentimes leads to comorbidity. If someone is diagnosed with a mental disorder, they can develop a substance addiction and vise versa. 

Dual-Diagnosis and Treatment

The first step to overcoming co-occurring mood disorders and substance addictions is by acknowledging that the disorders are there in the first place. After individuals go through detoxification, our specialists will begin other treatments. These treatments will include taking medicines for the mood disorder that you are facing. These will include mood stabilizers, antidepressants, and antipsychotics. 

While the help of medication is an effective way to overcome both substance abuse and mood disorders, we also believe an extremely important therapy is holistic treatment. Instead of focusing on the physical effects of both disorders, a holistic approach will give an individual the tools they need to explore their mental and emotional needs. Both disorders are heavily influenced by negative thoughts and feelings, and this treatment shows how to give energy to something higher than oneself. 

How Crest View Recovery Center Can Help

Professional addiction treatment can be what you need to overcome the symptoms of mood disorder induced by substances. Facing substance-induced mood disorder on your own is scary. Crest View Recovery Center can help provide you with information, resources, and support. Call us at (866) 327-2505 to learn how to get started.

References

https://www.dbsalliance.org/education/depression/statistics/ 

https://www.nimh.nih.gov/health/statistics/major-depression.shtml 

https://www.apa.org/helpcenter/data-behavioral-health 

https://www.drugabuse.gov/publications/drugfacts/comorbidity-substance-use-disorders-other-mental-illnesses 

Article Reviewed by Patrice Wishon, LCSW, LCAS, CCS

Patrice Wishon, LCSW, LCAS, CCSPatrice has over 30 years experience working in social work and mental health/substance abuse counseling. She received her Master’s degree from UNC-Chapel Hill and has worked in a variety of settings, including community-based outpatient, hospital and classroom settings. Patrice specializes in substance abuse treatment, trauma and women’s issues.