How Oppression Contributes to Depression and Substance Use

How Oppression Contributes to Depression and Substance UseDepression 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?

There are many meanings represented by the word “oppression”:

  • Being emotionally dominated or abused by another person
  • Being bullied
  • Being a victim of injustice
  • Being held back personally, socially, professionally, financially, etc
  • Being unjustly controlled by another (slavery, human trafficking, etc)
  • 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, frustration and, yes, depression.

Why Does Depression Lead to Substance Use?

Depression affects the same part of the brain that is most directly impacted by drug and alcohol abuse. A depressed person may be unable to feel any positive (or negative) emotions and may be unmotivated to leave the house, to talk to friends or loved ones or to engage in any social activities. For some, the effect of drugs or alcohol in the brain allows them to feel some relief for a short 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 be unable to stop using substances.

Successfully Treating Depression and Addiction

Due to the close connection between depression and addiction successful treatment requires a comprehensive and fully integrated approach to the physiological and psychological aspects of the disease. The most effective treatment programs develop customized therapeutic regimens for each patient based on his unique individual needs. Some of the most important elements of these holistic treatment plans involve some or all of the following elements:

  • 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
  • Education
  • Coping skill development

For many depressed people also struggling with addiction the most effective form of treatment is inpatient or residential care. These 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. Our staff members can answer your questions and can connect you with the most effective addiction and depression treatment available. Don’t let the lingering effects of oppression to continue to victimize you or someone you love. We can help. Call now.

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