CleanSlate Blog

Depression and Substance Use Disorder: Why These Diseases Often Go Hand-in-Hand


Depression is one of the most common mental health conditions nationwide. It affects more than 16 million Americans each year and nearly 30% of affected individuals also struggle with substance use disorder.

Out of the millions of Americans who suffer from depression, only 35% seek treatment. Many people try to avoid or hide their feelings out of fear of stigma or judgment. This can lead to self-medication and relying on substances to cope. Eventually, substance use can become a crutch and turn into an addiction. 

It can be difficult to distinguish when depression starts and substance use begins, as both diseases feed on each other. Increased substance use may improve your mood at first, but eventually it will worsen depression symptoms.

Trying to ignore symptoms of depression is not a solution. If you’re noticing changes in your mood and behavior, consider these common warning signs of depression:

  • Feelings of loneliness
  • Loss of interest in activities you previously enjoyed
  • Appetite changes or weight fluctuation
  • Reckless or erratic behavior
  • Changes in sleep patterns, such as fatigue or insomnia
  • Short temper and irritability
  • Low self-worth
  • Feeling hopeless

National Depression Screening Day is October 7. Talk to your doctor about getting screened and potential treatment options if you’re struggling. There is no shame in reaching out for help. It may save your life. 

CleanSlate patients are cared for by a provider throughout their recovery journey who screens regularly for mental and behavioral health symptoms. If you or a loved one is struggling with addiction and mental health, CleanSlate can help. Visit to find a center near you. 

Picture of Claudie H. Jimenez, M.D., M.S.

Claudie H. Jimenez, M.D., M.S.

Dr. Claudie Jimenez is CleanSlate's Medical Director for the states of Indiana and Kentucky. CleanSlate is a leading national medical group that provides outpatient medication treatment for the chronic disease of addiction, primarily alcohol and opioid use disorders.

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If you or someone you know suffers from the disease of addiction, please call 833-505-HOPE to speak with a professional.

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