Treating Depression and Addiction Together
As stand alone disorders, addiction and depression are themselves serious mental health conditions. When combined as a dual diagnosis, depression and drug or alcohol addiction can become life threatening. The effects of abusing alcohol and certain drugs can escalate a major depressive disorder by exacerbating the symptoms and increasing the likelihood of suicide ideation or behaviors. There is a strong connection between depression and alcoholism. About one in five adults with an alcohol addiction also suffer from clinical depression, according to an article on the subject in the Psychiatric Times.
Mental health disorders such as depression are very prevalent as a comorbid condition to a substance use disorder. It is still not known which condition presents first because the two disorders become entangled, making it difficult to know which condition caused the other one. Some may use drugs or alcohol to self-medicate the difficult symptoms of undiagnosed depression, subsequently developing a dependency on the substance. Others may be suffering from a substance use disorder and acquire the mental illness as a result of abusing the drug. Whatever the causality, locating help for depression and addiction recovery is an important step in seeking the help needed for the dual diagnosis.
Depression and Addiction as Co-Occurring Conditions
An individual suffering from a depressive disorder may look to alcohol or drugs as a way to mask their intense emotional pain and feelings of emptiness. As tolerance for the drug increases, so does frequency of use and dosage, often culminating in a full-blown addiction. This only adds to the feelings of distress caused by the depression, especially as negative consequences resulting from the addiction begin to pile up. Too many people are caught up in this vicious cycle and desperately need help for both the depression and addiction recovery.
Exploring the root issues that might have contributed to the depression is key to overall recovery. While many factors can cause depression, including genetics and biology—things outside one’s control—feelings of despair and sorrow may be directly related to unresolved childhood trauma, the death of a significant person, divorce, loss of a job, or other events needs to be examined during therapy.
Treating Depression and Addiction Recovery Together
In order to treat both disorders, a comprehensive program that addresses the mental illness and the addiction needs to be sought. Because drugs or alcohol were used to soothe the symptoms of depression, once sober the individual may find it unbearable to live without the numbing properties of the substance. These challenges elevate the difficulty of treating a dual diagnosis, finding that perfect balance between medication for the mental illness, an effective mode of psychotherapy, peer support, and any adjunct therapies that will treat the combined aspects of both conditions.
This integrated approach can help the individual battling the dual diagnosis learn how to manage stress with new coping tools learned in therapy, and relaxation techniques learned through yoga and mindfulness exercises. Antidepressant medications are a central component of the treatment plan for this dual diagnosis. In many cases, these drugs can enable individuals the ability to live normal, fulfilled lives while they continue to participate in 12-step meetings and individual and group counseling.
Phoenix Rising Behavioral Healthcare Helps Depression and Addiction Recovery
Phoenix Rising offers a comprehensive outpatient program for individuals battling both depression and a substance use disorder. Depression and addiction recovery depends on professionals who are experienced and skilled at treating the dual-diagnosis client, as is the expert staff at Phoenix Rising.
An outpatient program offers the client the flexibility they need to carry on with most of their regular activities, such as work, attending school, or caring for family, while devoting a specified number of hours to participating in the counseling sessions each week. If preferred, Phoenix Rising can arrange for sober living accommodations. A drug and alcohol-free living environment adds a layer of structure and accountability that can be helpful in sustaining sobriety in early recovery. For more information about the program, call us today at (877) 299-5694.