Substance-induced mood disorder

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About a Substance-Induced Mood Disorder

Taking a drug or using a substance can make a person think, feel, and behave differently. Similar shifts in mood can be caused when a person stops taking a drug or using a substance. These changes, if felt for long periods of time, can be diagnosed as substance-induced mood disorder. Such substances may include stimulants (cocaine, methamphetamine, methylphenidate, dextroamphetamine), depressants (alcohol, THC, narcotics), or other psychoactive drugs. These substances are known to activate regions  in the brain with excessive dopamine to stimulate feelings of euphoria, pleasure, and can even lead to what is felt as a spiritual experience. This is the same area of the brain that stores memories, leading to cravings and even addiction. Depending on genetic and other environmental factors, use of these substances can trigger symptoms of psychosis (hallucinations, paranoia, delusions), mania, panic, anxiety, or depression. Long-term dependence of these substances with abrupt abstinence may also trigger the above symptoms. Oftentimes people struggling with substance use may have underlying unaddressed mental health issues that become exacerbated by the substances. Regardless of why substances are used, there are often accompanied emotions with this condition such as guilt, shame, and isolation.

Why There Is Hope for a Substance-Induced Mood Disorder

Substance-induced mood disorders have a good prognosis if they are caught and managed early. The brain is shown to have remarkable plasticity (ability to adapt and change), which provides hope for patients and family members. Abstinence is an essential tool with substance-induced mood disorders. Allowing the brain time and space to heal from the damage of substances is key for whole-body healing. Psychotherapy, addiction management, medication stabilization, and other imbalances can be applied to also provide each person with a better, more hopeful future.

Helping A Loved One and Early Intervention for Substance-Induced Mood Disorders

As a loved one of someone who may be abusing substances, it can be difficult to speak up or intervene. There is often denial or even deceit as a result of shame. It is important to approach family members with a non-judgmental, loving approach that establishes boundaries and concern for their habits.

How We Treat Substance-Induced Mood Disorders

When asked about current medications and drug use, it’s very important to be upfront with healthcare practitioners about all the legal substances, illegal substances, supplements, naturopathic medicines and vitamins the person is currently taking. This is especially crucial when it comes to developing a successful and safe treatment plan for substance-induced mood disorder. Sobriety from all controlled substances is especially important while in treatment. This helps the dopamine tracts re-circuit in the brain to create healthy and beneficial connections, which overall improve mood. Additionally, individual and group therapy, psychotropic medications, and supplement therapies for neurotransmitter balance can be used to specifically treat this condition. New studied with MeRT (link) have also shown to alter brain wave patterns to more rapidly help the dopamine and serotonin circuits heal.

What Does Ongoing Care Look Like for a Substance-Induced Mood Disorder?

Managing stress can help keep a person on the right track when difficult times arise. Finding healthy ways to cope, like listening to music, taking a walk, breathing exercises and yoga can help alleviate stress. A healthy diet, low caffeine intake, 7-9 hours of sleep each night and abstaining from drug and alcohol use can be beneficial in ongoing recovery. It’s important to get support from others and avoid situations where drugs and alcohol may be used. A person in recovery from substance-related issues should stay in contact with their healthcare provider or therapist for guidance through panic, feeling flat or despair. Relapse prevention and addiction treatment takes ongoing work. Pacific Solstice finds that those who experience sustainable surges in quality of life are mindful of those in their social circles. In addition, many who have endured a Substance-Induced Mood Disorder are willing to abstain from substances that are proven to alter neural pathways. Abstinence requires ongoing support groups, medical care and openness about emotions. Shame keeps Substance-Induced Mood Disorders alive. But, our Team is adept in replacing shame with relationships and reality testing that cannot be altered by psychosis, intrusive thoughts, suicidal ideation or delusions.