What A Substance-Induced Disorder Looks Like

October 10, 2019

Mood disorders are very common mental health diagnoses. Experiencing a mood disorder can be characterized by a distortion in mood that makes functioning difficult. A person may be very sad, depression, happy, angry, and may struggle to maintain a mood state. At any age, people who experience mood disorders may be more likely to engage in self-harm or suicidal behavior as a result of their disorder’s impacts on their brain chemistry, relationships, and their lives. Two of the most well-known mood disorders are depression and bipolar disorder.

Many mood disorders can also be influenced by substance use. Prolonged substance use or even initial substance use can induce mood disorders. These are disorders not to be taken lightly. If you believe that you are experiencing a mood disorder you may intervene by seeking treatment including mental health therapy, medication, and primary care supports. If you believe that you’re dealing with a substance-induced disorder, you should also access these services in addition to detoxification support and ongoing support to reduce or refrain from substance use.

There are many services available to provide support in reducing substance use. Depending upon the drug someone uses and how long they have been using may impact the treatment that they access. Understanding the way that substances can influence mood disorders can be very helpful.

Alcohol-Induced Depressive Disorder

Alcohol commonly induces symptoms of depression or mood disorders. This is concerning because of how commonly consumed alcohol is. Additionally, it is extra worrying because of the number of young people who regularly consume alcohol even when they are under the legal drinking age and their brains may not have finished developing.

The most infamous substance-induced disorder that occurs or is triggered by alcohol is… depression. Symptoms of depression include sadness, loss of interest in activities, much time spent drinking alcohol, inability to reduce use of alcohol, erratic sleep, fatigue, suicidal thoughts, or guilt.

Many people drink alcohol so that they can avoid feeling depressed. Alcohol provides a feeling of sedation for many people that makes it appear attractive to use. This may temporarily make them feel happy, joyful, and less depressed. In the long run, however, this is unlikely to last.

In the long run, alcohol most often induces depression or mood disorders. A person will often experience financial struggles as related to consistent and significant use of this substance. This can make them feel sad, depressed, anxious, and other difficult feelings. Alcohol also reduces the effects that medication for depression or mood disorders will have. This can induce more depression for many people.

Treatment for alcohol-induced depression includes a combination of treatment for the patient’s depression, such as Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy (CBT) and support to reduce or altogether stop using alcohol. CBT will offer individuals coping skills and explore the beliefs they have about their substance use to ultimately reject the need to use.

Opioid-Induced Mood Disorders

Opioids are primarily used for pain relief. Common drugs in this category include the synthetic fentanyl, oxycodone, hydrocodone, codeine, morphine, and others. The illegal drug is heroin. All of these drugs are highly addictive and can lead to poor health outcomes. One outcome it commonly leads to are a variety of substance-induced mood disorders as studies show that just over half of opioid prescriptions are prescribed to people with depression and other mood disorders.

Like alcohol, many people take opioids to avoid feeling their depression. It returns by inducing depression and other mood dysregulation. Opioid use (and abuse) causing a substance-induced disorder isn’t a new theory as these chemicals can induce anxiety, bipolar disorder, and other psychological conditions.

While we already discussed some of the symptoms of depression, the symptoms of anxiety include hypervigilance, irritability, restlessness, fear, feelings of doom, palpitations, and others. The symptoms of bipolar disorder include transitioning between mania, or a state of high-energy and goal-oriented attitudes, to a depressed state. Bipolar disorder prompts individuals to be unable to have touch with reality, to function, and to maintain stability.

These outcomes suggest that when using opioids, with a prescription or not, an individual should be regularly and closely monitored. They may become easily addicted to the substance as well as develop a substance-induced disorder.

Withdrawing from opioids can be very difficult and treatment, often inpatient, is necessary for many people. For some, using medically assisted detoxification can be helpful. This is when a doctor may prescribe medication such as Suboxone to reduce the effects of detox and make it more manageable.

Cocaine-Induced Depressive Disorder

Cocaine is one of the more expensive drugs to attain, and thus can often attract a different subset of the population than more affordable drugs would attract. These people may be more able to plan for treatment or have health insurance in the event than their substance use begins to affect their life greatly. While this generalization is not always true, it is one trend noticed in the substance use community. Unfortunately, though, many people struggle to admit they need treatment or are unable to identify the way that the drug is impacting them.

Cocaine can induce many kinds of mental health disorders, as most drugs can. Cocaine can induce delirium, where an individual has a reduced level of consciousness or awareness, are unable to pay attention, have a change in their ability to think or even their ability to talk. This kind of onset can come on suddenly after consuming cocaine. It can come on within hours.

Cocaine can also induce anxiety. A person can have panic attacks, intense anxiety, increased heart rate, shaking, sweating, lack of breath, and intense fear. They may obsess over unwanted thoughts or engage in compulsive behavior to avoid those thoughts.

Some of the long term impacts of chronic cocaine use include depression, irritability, lack of motivation, anxiety, hallucinations, and psychosis. These are conditions that most often require treatment to reduce the impact. Supports include therapy such as CBT, talk therapy, psychotherapy, and other modalities. Other treatment options could include medication or inpatient/outpatient treatment.

Cocaine treatment looks different depending on the approach that individuals choose. Many choose inpatient treatment programs, which give them access to mental health counseling, art therapy, support groups, 12-step programs, relapse prevention, and discharge planning. Other individuals will do similar treatment plans but from home in a less restrictive environment. Inpatient treatment programs can be extremely expensive and difficult to access.

If an individual is experiencing dangerous symptoms that put them or others at risk, they should seek treatment immediately.

Inhalant-Induced Depressive Disorder

Whip Its | Substance-Induced Disorder | Hillcrest

Inhalants are substances that we breathe in, spray into our mouth, breathe from a bag, “huff” from an inhalant-soaked rag, or inhale from a balloon. There are many different substances that are taken this way, including solvents, aerosols, gases, and nitrites. Many of these are found in household products, medical products, or industrial products. For example, paint cans, gases, or sprays.

Inhalants are unfortunately popular among young people. This could be because they are easily accessed in that parents may not be locking up these products.

Inhalants have many impacts on the brain including a short-term pleasurable sensation. This makes it highly addicting, especially for young people who may be struggling with puberty and emotions. Individuals will often have symptoms including slurred speech, loss of appetite, inattentiveness, irritability, and lack of coordination.

Inhalants can induce symptoms of mood disorders. Inhalant induced mania has required treatment for many young people. Mania, as discussed earlier, involves a person experiencing a heightened state of arousal, goal-directed energy, the inability to concentrate, lack of sleep, and other generally excited symptoms.

Treatment for any induced mood disorder will look similar to treatment for the disorder that isn’t induced by mood, with the addition of treating the addiction as well. Treatment for inhalant use includes individual, group, and likely family therapy. Often the individuals abusing this substance are under 18 years of age because it is easy to access. Treatment should also include relapse prevention, a 12-step program, and skills-based therapy that addresses the skill of learning not to use despite wanting to use.

Cannabis And Mood Disorders  

Cannabis is extremely common. Depending on what state you live in, you can purchase it legally if you’re over the age of 21. You can even grow it legally. Do not assume that just because it is easily accessible that it is equally as safe.

Cannabis leads to depression, anxiety, and other mood related symptoms. Some research shows that cannabis users are more often diagnosed with depression than non-cannabis users. While there isn’t clear evidence that cannabis actually induces depression, it is likely to exacerbate symptoms and is being used by people who may be depressed at their baseline. There is also research that shows that cannabis use can cause someone to experience anxiety at a higher rate than non-cannabis users.

Cannabis is found to directly trigger mental health symptoms such as psychosis. It can cause someone to feel detached from reality and have symptoms consistent to schizophrenia. Many report feeling extremely paranoid during and after use. These symptoms can persist despite having withdrawn from the drug. Early and frequent use in young people is directly linked to diagnoses of psychosis later on, as well as childhood trauma, and other genetic factors. Those who have smoked marijuana are at a 40% higher risk of developing schizophrenia than those who have not.

Treatment for cannabis and marijuana use includes psychotherapy that teaches individuals to identify behaviors that lead to their use and to correct them. It also often includes developing a program to reward behavior after not using. For example, purchasing a specific outfit after a set number of days sober. This strategy can work for many different kinds of addictions and is not limited to marijuana use.

Regardless of what drug someone is using, it has potentially harmful effects on the body. The drug could be purchased over the counter or on the street, but the user is still responsible for understanding the impact it could have. Many drugs can induce mood disorders, that require treatment. Many can induce psychotic symptoms that should be immediately addressed. Treatment options are available to both detox from the drug and address any psychiatric symptoms it may have caused.

Treatment for a substance-induced mood disorder differs depending on both the type of mood disorder a patient is undergoing and the kind of drug they find themselves using more and more often. There’s no one-size-fits-all approach to treating a substance-induced mood disorder, however, as every teen’s body is different. Parents whose teenagers are dealing with one need to find a facility that can treat them thoroughly and with an individualized approach.

It’s important that you know that you have options. You can get your teen the help they need for their substance-induced disorder here at Hillcrest. Our facility is capable of working with teenagers to discover the underlying causes of this addiction and steer them towards the road to recovery. Reach out to Hillcrest today to find out how we can help you and your teen!