Why You Need to Treat an Addiction and Depression at the Same Time

depression and addiction

When someone suffers from an addiction, they are more likely to have a mental illness. Depression and addiction are co-occurring disorders, which means that they frequently happen at the same time. Because these disorders can fuel each other, the best treatment centers offer dual diagnosis treatment for mental illnesses and substance abuse disorders.

What Is Depression?

Among men with alcohol use disorders, an estimated 24.3 percent will develop major depression at some point in their lives. Women have a 48.5 percent chance of developing depression if they have alcohol use disorder. Depression is extremely common among people with substance abuse problems, so it is important for patients to get screened for mental illnesses when they begin their treatment program.

To get an accurate diagnosis, you have to start by learning the answer to, “What is depression like?” While people may have slightly different experiences, there are a few depression symptoms you can expect. If you have depression, you will suffer from a consistently depressed mood. This can include no longer being interested in activities and pastimes you used to care about.

Depression can be caused by a variety of factors. There might be a biological or chemical cause, but a social situation or psychological problem can also lead to depression. Right now, researchers believe that depression is the result of changes in how the brain functions. This may be due to abnormal variations in how certain neural circuits work.

Over time, the ongoing sadness and apathy of major depression can lead to other problems. The individual’s health may suffer because they no longer feel like eating or working out. They may also suffer from changes in their sleep patterns, concentration, self-esteem, and daily activities. Once someone is diagnosed with depression, they are generally treated through some combination of talk therapy and medication.

What Are the Signs and Symptoms of Depression?

To get an official diagnosis, someone has to exhibit the following depression symptoms for most of the day for at least two weeks. Since everyone is different, you may not go through all of these symptoms. At the best treatment programs, you will be able to get an accurate diagnosis and a range of treatment options.

The following signs are some of the most common symptoms associated with depression.

  • Low energy.
  • Ongoing feelings of sadness, anxiety, guilt, and helplessness.
  • Problems concentrating or remembering things.
  • Irritability.
  • Sleep problems.
  • Suicidal thoughts or suicide attempts.
  • Restlessness.
  • Talking and moving slowly.
  • Weight or appetite changes.
  • Loss of interest in hobbies and activities.

Depression symptoms can vary from person to person. Because of this, it is important to go to a doctor to get an accurate diagnosis. Through the right treatment, individuals can begin their personal recovery process.

dependence vs addiction

How Does Depression Lead to Substance Abuse?

Initially, many people want to know the answer to, “What is depression like?” While learning this answer can help people achieve an accurate diagnosis, it is also important to treat co-occurring disorders as well. Substance abuse can worsen depression. Likewise, depression and mental illnesses can worsen a substance abuse problem.

Someone who has depression has a 10 percent lifetime suicide risk. People who have a substance abuse disorder have a similar risk level. If an individual has depression and a substance abuse disorder, their suicide risk increases to about 25 percent.

When someone is depressed, they do not care about going to work or enjoying an evening with their family. They may drink alcohol or use drugs to cope with the symptoms of depression. In research studies, depression was the largest predictor of whether someone would have an alcohol relapse.

Depression and addiction are known as co-occurring disorders because they often happen at the same time. If someone is depressed, they may drink alcohol or use drugs to feel normal. While they will end up crashing once the drugs wear off, the drugs temporarily make them feel better. If the individual keeps drinking or using drugs over time, they can eventually develop a substance abuse disorder.

How Do Drugs and Alcohol Make Depression Worse?

Unfortunately, drugs and alcohol make symptoms of depression worse. People may drink to feel better, but alcohol is actually a depressant. This means that drinking depresses the central nervous system.

Drinking alcohol increases the number of times someone has episodes of severe depression. Often, people try to self-medicate for depression by drinking or using drugs. Once the buzz or high disappears, their depression returns and is worse than before. Drugs and alcohol make depression worse by changing the chemical and biological processes happening in the individual’s body. Substance abuse rewires the mind, and it can make it harder to recover from depression.

Treatment for Depression and Addiction

Substance abuse and depression can fuel each other. Because of this, it is important to get depression treatment and addiction support at the same time. If you only get care for one problem, you are more likely to relapse later on.

At an addiction treatment center, your doctor or therapist will work with you to figure out the best treatment options. In most cases, depression is treated with psychotherapy or medication. Antidepressants modulate how your brain deals with certain chemicals that affect your mood. Once you start taking antidepressants, it usually takes about two to four weeks before they alleviate your depression.

enabling friends

Psychotherapies like cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) and interpersonal therapy can treat depression as well. In an addiction treatment center, patients can get help through group support meetings, individual therapy and other treatment programs. Brain stimulation therapy may be used in severe cases if psychotherapy and medication do not work.

Dealing with an addiction or a mental illness can be challenging, but the right help can make a huge difference. At Mission Harbor Behavioral Health, we can help you get the treatment you need. To find out more about how we can support your recovery, call us today.

The facilities at Mission Harbor are staffed with trained experts to best assist patients with their mental health issues. We are capable of dealing with any and all cases with a licensed staff, equipment, and approved techniques. Our mission is to help those who want to help themselves, and we support your decision in seeking help.

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Alcohol addiction is extremely difficult to overcome on your own.. Seek specialized help and let professionals guide you in your recovery.