Diagnosing a substance-induced mood disorder involves determining whether or not the illness is contributed to or caused by drug or alcohol abuse. Patients with symptoms of the disorder prior to engaging in substance use may be dealing with a co-occurring condition — something that isn’t uncommon.
The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration reported in their 2014 National Survey on Drug Use and Health that an estimated 43.6 million Americans ages 18 and over experienced some form of mental illness, and 20.2 million adults suffered from a substance use disorder. Of these, more than 7 million people suffered from a mental health disorder and a substance use disorder.1 Some patients are relieved of their mood disorder once they’ve completed detox and begin rehab. These are usually clear cases of substance-induced mood disorders.
According to the National Alliance on Mental Illness, 1 in 5 adults experience mental illness in the United States each year.2 Almost 40 percent of individuals with an alcohol or drug disorder also meet the diagnostic criteria for a psychiatric disorder.3 In some cases, a person’s disorder is not independent, but rather caused directly by their substance abuse. Major depressive disorder, bipolar disorder, and seasonal affective disorder are commonly diagnosed mood-related conditions that are often seen in substance abusers.
It is important to note that disorders like these are generally present prior to substance abuse, and their symptoms often lead users down the path of drugs and alcohol in an effort to deal with or altogether avoid fluctuating moods or other symptoms.
- Alcohol-induced depressive disorder
- Phencyclidine-induced depressive disorder
- Inhalant-induced depressive disorder
- Opioid-induced depressive disorder
- Sedative-induced depressive disorder
- Hypnotic-induced depressive disorder
- Anxiolytic-induced depressive disorder
- Amphetamine-induced depressive disorder
- Other stimulant-induced depressive disorder
- Cocaine-induced depressive disorder4
A vast number of drugs are commonly associated with changes in personality, mood, and temperament in users. Likewise, any substance that alters a person’s mind is capable of triggering mood swings and flaring tempers or depressed moods that aren’t consistent with the user’s normal behavior when they’re sober. For example, someone who uses cocaine may experience a heightened sense of elation initially that causes them to feel manic and excited, which is soon followed by a crash, wherein the user is generally lethargic and sleepy. Disrupted sleep patterns, a side effect for many substance abusers, can cause flaring tempers, decrease patience, and increase irritability in anyone. Stimulants can cause mania that encourages impulsive over-spending, over-eating, and recklessness in the user — all destructive behaviors. Some will feel the opposite of mania and experience a great deal of depression; others will struggle with a complex combination of the two. The side effects of each drug, combined with the psychological and physical characteristics of the user can result in a somewhat unique set of symptoms for each person struggling with substance abuse mood disorder.
The Need for Help
Don’t give up. Patients with substance-induced mood disorders can generally expect to start feeling relief within hours or days after their last drug use. Temporary relief can be provided with prescribed benzodiazepines or antidepressants, but the primary task at hand is to bring you or your loved one into healthy balance by the end of treatment.
The caring staff at Black Bear Lodge fully comprehends how getting through each day with a mood disorder affects your life. We know you struggle to manage your feelings and understand the embarrassment of not being able to. Our admissions coordinators are available 24 hours a day to answer your questions and help you find treatment. Call us at 706-914-2327 today.
1 “Mental and Substance Use Disorders.” Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, 20 June 2014.
2 “NAMI.” NAMI: National Alliance on Mental Illness, Apr. 2018.
3 “Mood Disorders and Alcohol/Drug Use.” Psych Central, 17 July 2016.
4 Hartney, Elizabeth, and Steven Gans. “How Substance Abuse Impacts Your Mood.” Verywell Mind, 6 Oct. 2017.