While substance-induced mood disorders are relatively rare conditions, they can cause a considerable disruption in a person’s life. Being able to recognize the signs and symptoms of these disorders can help you find the right type of treatment for yourself, or for someone that you care about.
What Are Substance-Induced Mood Disorders?
Mood disorders are a category of mental health concerns that include bipolar disorder and various types of depressive disorders. The causes and risk factors for these disorders typically include a variety of genetic and environmental concerns.
When a person develops symptoms of one of these disorders as a result of substance abuse (including either intoxication or withdrawal) or medication, their condition would be described as a substance-induced mood disorder.
The fifth edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5) includes entries for two types of substance-induced mood disorders:
- Substance/medication-induced bipolar and related disorder
- Substance/medication-induced depressive disorder
Some people who develop substance-induced mood disorders also struggle with addiction, but being dependent on alcohol or another drug is not a requirement for one of these diagnoses.
Signs and Symptoms of Substance-Induced Mood Disorders
The signs and symptoms of a substance-induced mood disorder will be similar to what a person exhibits if they have bipolar disorder or a depressive disorder. The primary difference will be that the symptoms first occurred after the person become intoxicated, while they were going through withdrawal, or when they began to take a certain medication.
For substance/medication-induced bipolar and related disorder, symptoms can include:
- Elevated or expansive mood
- Excessive energy
- No apparent need for sleep
- Impulsivity and recklessness
- Taking on multiple tasks
- Inflated self-confidence, to the point of grandiosity
The symptoms of substance/medication-induced depressive disorder may include:
- Pervasive sadness
- Low energy and motivation
- Disrupted sleep patterns
- Significant changes in appetite
- Difficulty concentrating and focusing
- Loss of interest in and lack of joy from most activities
- Recurring thoughts of death and dying
- Thoughts of suicide
As established in the DSM-5, these symptoms must begin to occur during or shortly after a person uses a medication or substance, or while they are going through withdrawal. Once the individual stops using the medication or substance, or when they complete withdrawal, the symptoms typically begin to subside.
Of course, if a person has become dependent on the drug that caused the mood disorder symptoms to develop, ending their use of that substance may not be a simple matter.
Who Is at Risk of a Substance-Induced Mood Disorder?
Compared to other mental health concerns, substance-induced mood disorders are somewhat uncommon, but they still impact hundreds of thousands of people.
For example, the DSM-5 reports that the lifetime prevalence of substance/medication-induced depressive disorder among adults is 0.26%. This means that, among the current U.S. adult population of about 258.3 million people, about 671,000 people will develop this disorder.
A substance-induced mood disorder could be triggered by the abuse of virtually any mind-altering substance, including:
- Cocaine, amphetamine, meth, and other stimulants
- Heroin, morphine, and other opioids
- LSD and other hallucinogens
Also, the following are examples of prescription medications that can cause a person to experience symptoms of a substance-induced mood disorder:
- Mood stabilizers
- Anxiolytics (anti-anxiety medications)
Treatment Options for a Substance-Induced Mood Disorder
As we noted earlier, one important step in the process of recovering from a substance-induced mood disorder is quitting one’s use of the drug that brought about the symptoms. If the individual has become addicted to that drug, they may need professional care to help them end their substance abuse as well as to manage their mood-related symptoms.
Treatment for a substance-induced mood disorder can involve several elements, including medication, therapy, education, and various support services. It can also occur at one or more levels of care (such as partial hospitalization, intensive outpatient, or traditional outpatient programming).
Given the breadth of options that are available, how can you know which elements and levels are right for you?
It’s virtually impossible to make a correct decision like this on your own. But when you receive care at a center that conducts thorough assessments and develops individualized treatment plans, you can work with your caregivers to determine the path that’s best for you.
Factors that can influence your care for a substance-induced mood disorder include:
- Your age and gender
- Your substance abuse history
- Which types of mental health symptoms you have been experiencing
- How your life has been impacted as a result of the substance-induced mood disorder
- If you have been living with untreated trauma or other mental health concerns
- If you have previously received treatment for similar challenge (and how you responded to that treatment)
- Your immediate and long-term goals
These factors, plus the information that’s gathered during your intake assessment, should allow your treatment team to craft a personalized plan that will put you on the path toward improved health.
Begin Treatment for Substance-Induced Mood Disorder in Atlanta
Peachtree Recovery Solutions offers a customizable array of services for adults in the Atlanta, Georgia, area whose lives have been disrupted by substance-induced mood disorders. Treatment options at our center include multiple outpatient programs, an evening IOP, and gender-specific programs for men and women.
At Peachtree Recovery Solutions, we understand that everyone who develops a substance-induced mood disorder has unique needs and goals, and we are committed to providing a truly personalized treatment experience for everyone who turns to us for help. Throughout a person’s time with us, they will be in a safe environment under the care of a team of skilled and compassionate professionals.
To learn more or to schedule a free assessment, please visit our Contact Us page or call us today.