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Substance Abuse and Depression

Depression can make getting through the days quite challenging, with even the smallest tasks looking large. The downward spiral, despite the attempts to climb out of the pit, can make you feel afraid, alone, and maybe even hopeless.

In fact, some people will turn to drinking or taking drugs in an attempt to feel better or simply numb the pain. It’s not that they necessarily want to self-medicate, but feeling the pain and darkness can be overwhelming. Unfortunately, the drinking or drugging can become a habit, and instead of making the depression go away, it can intensify it.

Dual Diagnosis: Battling Addiction and Depression

If you’re struggling with both depression and substance abuse, you may feel like you’re up against a mountain. You may have tried on your own to overcome both of these issues to no avail. Or maybe you’ve made some progress with cutting back on drinking or taking drugs, but the depression is still there.

cocaine depression

Fortunately, there is help available. Dual diagnosis is a term used when someone has a mental health disorder along with alcoholism or drug abuse. This means that you have two concurring diagnoses (alcoholism and substance abuse).  In this case, treatment centers will treat both diagnoses at the same time, helping you get back on your feet sober and happier.

See, if just the substance abuse is treated, the depression can still wreak havoc in your life. At the same time, if just the depression is treated, you may still struggle with substance abuse problems. This is why attending a treatment facility that addresses both diagnoses at the same time is important.

Before we get into the types of treatment available for substance abuse and depression, let’s look at the symptoms of both:

Symptoms of Depression

Depression is quite common at varying levels. There are mild, moderate, and severe depressive states, which can be diagnosed by a clinical therapist. If you’re struggling with depression, you may notice the following symptoms:

  • Feelings of deep sadness
  • Loss of interest in things once enjoyed
  • Trouble sleeping or sleeping too much
  • Appetite changes
  • Crying often
  • Withdrawing from friends or family
  • Apathy
  • Mood swings
  • Hopelessness
  • Fatigue
  • Thoughts of suicide

Struggling with depression can feel like the world is closing in on you, and this can be frightening for you and your loved ones. To attempt to feel better, you may have turned to alcohol, thinking this would indeed help you, but the truth of the matter is that alcohol is also a depressant and can make you feel worse in the long run.

Symptoms of Substance Abuse

The following are symptoms of substance abuse, including alcohol and drug:

  • Unsuccessfully quitting the drug
  • Foregoing responsibilities
  • Getting in trouble with the law
  • Experiencing relationship issues
  • Lying about your usage
  • Hiding your alcohol or drugs
  • Building up a higher tolerance
  • Drinking or drugging more than you desire
  • Spending most of your time obsessing over using
  • Using despite consequences
  • Isolating

Exploring Treatment Options

The good news is that there are treatment options for both substance abuse and depression.  If you’re attending a treatment center, be sure they offer dual diagnosis treatment so that you’re getting adequate help for both issues.

Treatment for Depression

If you struggle with depression, there are various treatment methods available aimed at helping you to experience fewer depressive symptoms.  Behavioral therapies, such as cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) or dialectical behavioral therapy (DBT), are fairly common choices for people who have tried on their own to alleviate depression to no avail.

Sometimes medication is used for treatment as well. Antidepressants can be helpful, especially for those whose depression is due more to a chemical imbalance in the brain. Many people begin taking an antidepressant and within a short time, they notice their moods are better.

Some people stay on antidepressants for years and years, or perhaps the rest of their lives if they are working for them. Often, the combination of several therapies has the best effect on depression overall.

For those who do not want to take medicine or can’t afford therapy, other treatments are available that have been known to reduce depressive symptoms. Exercising is a great way to boost one’s mood and increase self-esteem.  Utilizing meditation and relaxation techniques also help reduce feelings of depression and anxiety. There are support groups available to offer encouragement and plenty of self-help books readily available as well.

Treatment For Substance Abuse

There are various treatments for substance abuse, including inpatient or outpatient rehabs, behavioral therapies, medications, and support groups.  Inpatient rehabs offer 24/7 help from professionals that will monitor the patient closely. The length of time that most stay at the treatment center is around 30 days although some opt to stay longer.

Outpatient rehabs work well for those who cannot pack up and live at the treatment center for the duration of their treatment. In outpatient therapy, an individual will still receive treatment when they visit rehab throughout the week for a certain number of meetings. They may attend classes and support groups as well.

Those who receive professional help from an addiction specialist tend to do better on their recovery path and stay on that path longer.  One reason is that an addiction specialist will help them dig down to get to some of the roots of why the addiction started in the first place.  They’ll be able to address emotional issues that may be going on under the surface, as well as help them create a relapse prevention plan that can help combat triggers and cravings. They’ll also help them learn better coping strategies for both substance abuse and depression.

Alcohol Rehab and Depression – Get Help Today

People from all backgrounds and walks of life can begin to experience challenges with substance abuse and/or depression. This can leave an individual feeling alone and hopeless, but know that we are here to help you get your life back. You do not have to let substance abuse or depression control your life any longer.

At our dual diagnosis treatment center, you’ll be surrounded by substance abuse professionals that will help you learn how to manage symptoms and implement helpful recovery strategies and practices in life. Call us today, and let us help you begin a new life full of hope.