Learn About When Addiction and Depression Collide
Depression can be like a black hole, sucking all the life and hope out of a person’s life. Addictive substances like drugs and alcohol may provide temporary relief from the darkness, but these too eventually drain a person physically, mentally and emotionally.
Although it may not seem like it, there is hope. At Reflections Recovery Center, our compassionate staff is specially trained to help people who struggle with co-occurring disorders – a mental health disorder and a substance use disorder.
Treating two disorders at once is more complex than treating addiction alone, but with the right people on your team, recovery is possible.
Is It Depression, or Addiction, or Both?
First, it’s important to realize that there are several different types of depressive disorders, and each manifests in different ways.
The different disorders that are classified under depression include:
- Major Depressive Disorder (often simply called depression) – intense, prolonged feelings of depression
- Persistent Depressive Disorder (also known as Dysthymia) – milder symptoms, but experienced daily over a long period of time
- Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) – a depressive state that occurs yearly around the same time, tied to the change in seasons
- Bipolar Disorder – similar to general depression, but with added symptoms such as periods of hyperactivity and intense mood swings
- Psychotic Depression – severe depressive episodes that often lead to suicidal thoughts
- Perinatal Depression – depression during pregnancy
- Postpartum Depression (PPD) – depression after giving birth
- Premenstrual Dysphoric Disorder (PMDD) – PMS symptoms that are so severe they disrupt a woman’s daily life and lead to feelings of depression
- Perimenopause-Related Mood Disorders – mood swings and depression symptoms caused by fluctuating hormones in the years before menopause
More women than men suffer from depression, in part because some mood disorders – like a few of the ones listed above – are triggered by the fluctuation of hormones that occur during the menstrual cycle, childbirth and menopause.
What Are the Causes and Symptoms of Depression?
Depression can be brought on by traumatic events, environmental situations, life-changing events and substance abuse. But, sometimes there is no clear trigger. Some people have a higher risk of developing a depressive disorder due to genetics.
Some of the typical symptoms of depression include:
- Persistent feelings of sadness and/or hopelessness
- Apathy, lack of interest in daily life
- Mood swings
- Poor appetite, leading to weight loss or gain
- Disrupted sleep patterns
- Social isolation
- Lack of concentration
- Low self-esteem
- In some cases, thoughts of suicide
Many of the symptoms of depression – particularly changes in mood, sleep and appetite – are also symptoms of addiction. With both conditions, the body is out of balance in certain areas, which then throws other bodily systems out of balance. Introducing alcohol, drugs and/or medication into the mix, especially without medical supervision, can further complicate the situation.
It can sometimes be difficult to tell when symptoms are being caused by addiction or depression. For this reason, it’s important to get a professional evaluation from medical experts specially trained in diagnosing and treating co-occurring disorders.
The Connection Between Depression and Addiction
Roughly 50 percent of individuals with mental disorders are also affected by some form of substance use disorder.
Those who suffer from depression may self-medicate using alcohol or illegal drugs, which over time become habit-forming and begin to have unwanted physical and psychological side effects.
Prescription medications that are prescribed for depression can also be addictive, especially drugs such as Prozac, Zoloft and Lexapro. The human body builds up a tolerance to antidepressants over time, so increasingly larger doses are needed to achieve the same result.
The effects of addictive substances can worsen the symptoms of depression, which of course drives the individual to further drug use. The result is that both the depression and addiction spiral out of control.
When this happens, it can feel like there’s no escape. Thankfully, proper treatment can reverse this trend, put you back in control, and even help you find ways to enjoy life again.
Compassionate, Integrated Treatment for Co-Occurring Addiction and Depression
Integrated treatment is a research-proven model in which the client receives treatment for both the mental illness and the substance use disorder at the same time, from the same professional team. The treatment is customized for each individual based on the type of mental illness (e.g., depression), the addiction (e.g., alcohol, benzos, etc.) and the physical and mental needs of each client.
If you are admitted into our rehabilitation center in Prescott, AZ, our treatment team will take the following steps:
- Review medical history of mental illness, including any medications currently or previously used
- Perform a physical evaluation
- Perform a psychological evaluation
- Create a customized dual diagnosis treatment plan
Our highly qualified specialists will create a treatment plan tailored specifically to your needs. We utilize proven best practices, yet we don’t use a cookie-cutter approach. Each client is unique, so we make adjustments that will ensure the highest possibility of successful long-term sobriety while effectively managing the mental illness over time.
To help you manage depression on an ongoing basis after leaving treatment, our practitioners will suggest holistic and clinical solutions that allow you to keep the mental disorder under control without having to revert to unhealthy ways of managing the depression symptoms.
Only You Can Take the First Step. We Can Take It From There.
Whatever your circumstances are today, you can find your way to a better life. Let us help you get there safely and more quickly. This may be the light at the end of the tunnel you’ve been waiting for. Only you can agree to treatment. Our passionate team of recovery specialists have the expertise to help you find the path to a life you truly want to live.