SAD AND ADDICTION – IS THERE A LINK?
The DSM V agrees that SAD is a mental health disorder (Diagnostic Manual of Mental Disorders of the American Psychiatric Association). It is a type of depression that happens when people don't get enough natural light because the seasons change and make their days shorter (and their nights longer). The changes are worse and affect more people the closer you live to the poles. SAD stands for Seasonal Affective Disorder, but the condition can also cause sadness.
This disorder has many of the same signs as depression:
- Fatigue and lethargy
- Irregular sleeping habits
- Anhedonia (inability to feel pleasure)
- Changes in eating habits
- Feelings of hopelessness
- Stress and irritability
- Lack of interest in usual activities.
There are likely to be false ideas about SAD, just like there are about any other mental health disorder. It is important to know that it is a medical condition and not a sign of weakness or lack of self-control. It's not just "feeling a bit down," but feeling misunderstood can make things worse, so it's important to get help and support right away. There are a lot of charities, like Mind and Samaritans, that have helplines that are always open. At Abhasa Luxury Rehabilitation Centre, we are always ready to talk, and we think that addiction and disorders like SAD can be treated successfully together.
SAD doesn't cause people to abuse drugs directly, but it does make some people more likely to do so. Disorders of mental health should never be ignored or hidden out of a false sense of shame. About half of the people who have problems with their mental health will also have a problem with how they use drugs or alcohol at some point.
Some people may try to treat the feelings that come from SAD by using alcohol, prescription drugs, or other drugs. Some people use stimulants to shake themselves out of their malaise and lethargy, while others use sedatives like opioids to deal with their depression.
Self-medication in this way could lead to addiction. In spite of what is meant, alcohol and drugs may make the symptoms of SAD worse. Self-medication may seem like a quick fix, but it may actually make symptoms worse and lead to a substance use disorder.
The opposite is also true: people who abuse drugs, especially alcohol, find that the after-effects often leave them feeling depressed and anxious, which only makes them want to use again.
People who are vulnerable and have SAD don't have to use drugs to deal with it. People with any kind of addiction, like gambling or smoking, are more likely to relapse when they are generally unhappy, sad, or depressed.
At this time of year, we see a lot of people with different kinds of addictions who say that the change of seasons is making them feel bad. Even though there is no proven link between SAD and any kind of addiction, both are often seen as either a cause or a result of people needing treatment. In either case, we can treat addiction and mood disorders at the same time because they are both parts of the same problem. If at all possible, a residential stay is a good choice because it gives you the chance to get focused treatment in a calm environment.
Our treatment plans are always made to fit the needs of each person. After a stay in residential treatment, they can include day care and ongoing care.
Don't be afraid to call us if you or someone close to you is struggling with SAD or drug use. We are always ready to talk and give advice on the best way to move forward.
Prepared by: Mr. Denny Prasad, Psychologist
LinkedIn Id: https://www.linkedin.com/in/denny-prasad-b55028124