Why Does Addiction Make Me So Unhappy?
If you feel very unhappy, it’s likely because of the impact that drugs have on the brain.
Many drugs work by increasing dopamine, which is the brain’s main “feel-good” chemical. Large amounts of dopamine cause large amounts of euphoria, which is what causes the “high” feeling when people use drugs. It feels good in the short term, but the brain simply wasn’t built to handle that much dopamine at one time. Eventually, the brain will adjust to this overload by getting rid of dopamine receptors. This means that for a while, your brain won’t be able to respond to normal amounts of dopamine like it used to. This is why you may often feel sad and tired. The good news is that your dopamine receptors can heal and regenerate. Give yourself time to let your brain heal, and treat yourself with kindness and compassion while you’re waiting.
If you’re dealing with an addiction, call 800-492-QUIT for help.
Depression and Addiction
Depression often exists alongside addiction. If you’ve used drugs or alcohol to make yourself feel better from extreme sadness, loneliness, or lack of enthusiasm, you might have depression in addition to your addiction. This is called a dual diagnosis. If you do have depression or another mental illness that causes mood swings, you should seek treatment that addresses this mental health issue as well as the addiction. Your mental health matters, and it will have an impact on the effectiveness of your treatment. If you think you might qualify for a dual diagnosis, let your doctor know as soon as possible. You may be able to take medication and seek therapy for your condition.
10% of Americans deal with depression.
Addressing the Root of the Issue
If your addiction started as the result of depression or life circumstances, part of your treatment should involve addressing the root of the problem. If you don’t work through the situations that made you so unhappy in the first place, you may go back to your original addiction or find a new one to try to make yourself feel better. You should look for treatment that helps you find better ways to address your unhappiness. Often, this treatment involves talking to a therapist. A therapist can help you find ways to deal with your sadness that don’t involve turning to drugs or alcohol. You might also join group therapy sessions or even casual support groups. These options can help you find a community of people who deal with the same types of issues that you deal with, and the support can help you feel less alone.
Taking Control of Your Happiness
Once again, happiness is a subjective thing. Only you can decide what happiness means for you. Therefore, while you’re waiting for your brain and body to heal from your addiction, you may want to explore the hobbies and activities that made you happy in the past. Trying out new activities is a great option, too. Take this time to re-examine what makes you happy. Some other things you might consider includes the following list:
- Keeping a gratitude journal
- Making more time for friends and family
- Getting more exercise
- Praying and/or meditating
All of the above activities can give your endorphins a boost, which will make you feel happier. Try a few different things, and find out what works for you.
Start by Getting Treatment
Before you can start seeking happiness in treatment, you have to find your treatment. If you haven’t found the right treatment program yet, Rehab Info can help.