Hope for the depressed addict

Depression is one of the most common mental disorders in the United States—and when joined with substance abuse, it’s a particularly harmful combination. Fortunately, there is hope for those who deal with both depression and addiction.

Understanding Depression and Addiction

Contrary to what you may have believed, being diagnosed with depression does not mean that you are weak. Clinical depression is a mood disorder, not a character flaw. It is not your fault that you have depression, and it is not something you can just snap out of. Your depression may be caused by a combination of genetic, biological, environmental, psychological, and social factors.

Addiction is a similarly complex condition. It is a chronic medical disease involving interactions among brain circuits, genetics, the environment, and your own life experiences. Being addicted to drugs or alcohol does not mean that you lack willpower or self-control. Drugs alter the brain in ways that can make quitting feel impossible.

Which Came First?

Perhaps your depression led you to self-medicate, turning to alcohol or other drugs for relief. But the initial comfort did not last. Alcohol itself is a depressant, leading to sadness and fatigue. Instead of feeling better after substance use, you feel even more depressed than before.

It’s also possible that your addiction caused you to become depressed. After a substance abuse high, the brain is depleted, leading to feelings of worthlessness. You may also experience depression from the shame and remorse of prolonged drug and alcohol abuse.

If you’re unsure which one came first for you—addiction or depression—trained therapists can help make that determination in order to develop a treatment plan tailored to your individual needs. Whichever one came first, both issues are now feeding each other. You can’t properly address one without addressing the other.

Dual Diagnosis Rehab

When you’re dealing with depression and addiction, it’s imperative to receive treatment for these co-occurring disorders. “Co-occurring disorder” or “dual diagnosis” simply refers to a coexisting mental illness and substance use disorder. Dual diagnosis treatment provides an integrated approach that treats both conditions simultaneously, boosting the success rate of recovery.

At a dual diagnosis rehab, providers specialize in treating both substance abuse and mental illness. They understand the complexity of the interactions between disorders, and are trained to manage both. Licensed mental health professionals will work with you and your care team to determine the best medications and therapies to produce a positive outcome.

Detox and Treatment

When you’re given the dual diagnosis of addiction and depression, it’s important to begin treatment with detox. Your body needs to be purged of substances before you can adequately address any mental health issues.

After you complete detox, dual diagnosis treatment can begin. That may include a mix of individual and group therapies, as well as medications such as antidepressants. At a high-quality rehab center, treatment goes well beyond finding coping strategies—it addresses the deeper issues that caused the depression as well as the addiction. Holistic therapies that can help you find healing may include art therapy, music therapy, and EMDR therapy.

Long-Term Treatment

Long-term treatment is ideal for the dual diagnosis of addiction and depression. There is no quick fix for either condition, but there is hope. Many clients see success with a combination of therapy and medication over the long term. Such ongoing care is essential to help prevent relapse and protect against chronic suicidal thoughts. Long-term treatment can provide the tools you need to keep fighting for your health and sobriety each day.

If you are dealing with depression as well as addiction, you are not alone. These co-occurring disorders are common, and they are treatable. With the proper care, you can learn how to beat addiction and live a healthy, satisfying life.  

Are you struggling under the weight of depression and addiction? Contact our trained admissions counselors at 888-984-5288 to find hope at Beachside Rehab’s luxury treatment center.

Photo by Dmitry Schemelev on Unsplash