What is the relationship between Depression and Substance Misuse in Recovering Heroin Addicts?

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What is the relationship between Depression and Substance Misuse in Recovering Heroin Addicts?

Introduction

Depression is a common mental health disorder that remains under-diagnosed, is often stigmatised by society, and can have a significant impact on a person’s quality of life. Misuse of substances such as heroin and resulting addiction can lead to significant disruption of a person’s life and often involves a long road to recovery. This study will review the literature on Depression and Substance Misuse to investigate the possibility of a relationship between the two, and how it can affect a heroin addict’s recovery process. With this information it should be possible to assess if action relating to mental health disorders should be taken to help improve the chances of recovery from addiction.

Method

A selection of online journal databases such as Medline and EMBASE were searched with specific criteria- “Substance Misuse”, “Heroin” and “Depression” to find corresponding articles to investigate the issue further. The articles that were found were then critically assessed for their suitability in the study by examining abstracts and checking them with CASP criteria to determine their usefulness for the investigation.

Results

4 articles were found that were then examined; some key statistics and qualitative information were then compiled into a series of tables to assess various aspects of the articles, and to contrast them against one another.

Conclusion

The articles showed that the rate of depression is much higher in people seeking drug rehabilitation in comparison to the population norms, but also that the rate of depression decreases over time while participants were in treatment for Heroin addiction. Potential complications caused by depression during the recovery period were only speculated on.  It can be argued that there has not been enough investigation into the relationship between depression and substance misuse, despite high rates of depression being a clear outcome of the studies. Basic assessment on admittance to treatment could potentially improve the recovery process quite significantly for future patients, although further exploration is needed.

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