Despair and Drug Addiction

Despair and Drug AddictionDespair is defined as the absence of hope. It is an emotion often associated with sadness or depression, the first being a temporary low mood while the second is chronic and long-term in nature. Sadness, depression and despair can leave a person emotionally exhausted or numb, and he or she may turn to drugs to mask or suppress these negative feelings. Drug use may also cause feelings of despair, as users view themselves as trapped by addiction and without hope for a drug-free future or any future at all.

Emotions and Addiction

Understanding why a person first uses a drug is critical to understanding his or her addiction and how to treat it. As David Deans says in “Drug Addiction” (California State University, Northridge), “treating drug addiction is next to impossible unless the motivation and reward for the first repeated use is identified.” If the original motivation for use was to block feelings of despair, that despair must be addressed and addicts must learn to replace that emotion with positive feelings and coping mechanisms. Strong emotions and mental health concerns are often at the base of any addiction, and the National Institutes of Health lists the following risk factors for drug abuse or addiction:

  • Having depression, bipolar disorder or anxiety disorder
  • Having low self-esteem
  • Having problems with relationships
  • Living a stressful life, financially or emotionally

Despair may be an aspect of any one of these factors. Mental health issues come with side effects that include strong feelings of hopelessness or helplessness. Mentally ill individuals may also feel hopeless because they struggle with one of these concerns. Low self-esteem and problematic relationships leave individuals feeling despair about their abilities, while stress may lead them to feel overwhelmed with no hope for the future. Addressing the mental health issues and emotions that are related to despair and contribute to drug use can help prevent or treat addiction.

Hope for Addiction Recovery

In The Experience of Meaning in Life (2013), Joshua Hicks and Clay Routledge share that “it is hopelessness that often leads from alcohol abuse to chronic addiction.” Hicks and Routledge suggest that addiction recovery involves developing feelings of hope and purpose in life. Addiction treatment programs help patients develop an image of a positive and drug-free life. They address underlying concerns that contribute to drug use and feelings of despair, and they create a clear path to a positive and hopeful life. Our admissions coordinators will connect you to the treatment programs that offer help and hope to anyone who needs it. We are here 24 hours a day, and all calls are free and confidential. No addiction situation is hopeless. You can achieve a positive and drug-free life, and you can start doing so today.

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