Co-Occurring Disorders: The Link Between Depression and Addiction

Medically Reviewed by Peace Valley Recovery Editorial Staff,
Last Updated: January 2, 2022

The National Institute on Drug Abuse has stated that a significant number of people who have addictions also suffer from co-occurring disorders. Depression is one of the most common mental health issues driving people to self-medicate with drugs and alcohol.

According to their statistics:

  • 7.7 million adults suffer from co-occurring substance abuse and mental health disorders.
  • Among the 20.3 million adults with substance abuse problems, 37.9% of them also have a mental illness.
  • Among the 42.1 million adults with mental health issues, 18.2% of them also have substance abuse disorders.
  • More than half (52.5%) of these individuals never get the addiction treatment or mental health care they need.
  • 34.5% of them only get treatment for their mental health.
  • 3.9% of them only get treatment for their substance abuse problems.
  • And 9.1% of them received help for both conditions.

Less than 10% of people are receiving the help they need for both mental health and substance abuse. This could be why as many as 60% of people relapse after having gone to rehab.

Here, we want to focus on depression and how it can lead a person to use substances as a form of self-medication. Fortunately, dual diagnosis treatment can provide the treatment and support people need to be successful in recovery long-term.

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What is Depression?