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depression and addiction

Link Between Depression and Addiction

Link Between Depression and Addiction

Generally speaking, when a person has clinical depression, they are more likely to turn to alcohol or drugs. The substance of their choice can be used to self-medicate so they can deal with everyday life. Likewise, many people who abuse drugs or alcohol end up developing depression as a direct result of their substance abuse disorder.

Around one-third of people who struggle with depression also have an alcohol problem. Depression and addiction can occur at any time while clinical depression is a disease that can last for weeks, months or even years in some cases. It can hinder a person’s ability to function normally, including their ability to go to work, maintain their relationships, and even practice healthy lifestyle habits.

As a result, a person with depression might turn to drugs or alcohol as a way to numb themselves and regain a seemingly happier self. At the same time, drugs and alcohol are addictive, which results in the individual becoming dependent on the substances. Over time, they can develop a substance abuse disorder that alters their brain chemistry and can actually exacerbate their depression.

Symptoms of Depression

Although everyone may feel depressed on occasion, clinical depression is different. A person struggling with depression can experience many symptoms. Those with depression generally experience five or more of the following:

  • Anxiety
  • Irritability
  • Tearfulness
  • Loss of energy
  • Aches and pains
  • Feelings of guilt
  • Sense of worthlessness
  • Weight increase or loss
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Feelings of hopelessness
  • Loss of interest in hobbies
  • Increase or loss of appetite
  • Suicidal thoughts or actions
  • Sleeping too much or too little

In general, everyone experiences feelings of depression at some point. However, when the depression has persisted for more than two months, the condition is considered clinical in nature. This type of depression also interferes with a person’s everyday tasks and ability to function normally.

Continued after infographic:

link between depression and addiction infographic

Depression is a Gateway to Addiction

Depression is also frequently a gateway to individuals abusing drugs or alcohol. When the person does not seek treatment for their medical condition, they do not get better. A substance abuse disorder can easily develop as they become addicted. It is important to understand the warning signs of addiction.

Warning signs of addiction include the following:

Tolerance: When a person regularly abuses drugs or alcohol, their body develops a tolerance for the substance. As they become tolerant, they require larger amounts of the substance to get the same effect from it.

Withdrawal: A person who is addicted to drugs or alcohol begins to experience withdrawal when they don’t get as much of the substance. They experience physical symptoms such as cold sweats, nausea, anxiety or irritation.

Remorse: A person can experience feelings of guilt or remorse when they become addicted to a substance, even as they feel they need more to feel better.

Relapse: If a person tries to stop abusing drugs or alcohol and relapses, going right back to it, this signifies an addiction problem.

Individuals with a diagnosis of substance abuse disorder and depression can find their depression worsens if they stop abusing drugs or alcohol. This signifies a person needs treatment for the addiction. Generally, without rehab for the substance abuse disorder, they are more likely to go right back to abusing drugs or alcohol.

Recovering from Depression and Substance Abuse

Treatment requires a more comprehensive rehab program than the standard for addiction when encountering a dual diagnosis. Arizona rehabilitation centers are actively focusing on the special needs of patients suffering from both depression and addiction.

It is important the suffering individuals undergo not only detox, but also intensive therapy sessions and aftercare. Effective treatment programs for dual diagnosis include counseling, education, peer support, and relapse prevention for both conditions.

The following characteristics should be sought after in dual diagnosis treatment centers:

  • Enabling individuals to recognize triggers that led to their using the substance
  • Helping individuals to identify certain behaviors so they can change them
  • Motivating individuals to make positive changes in their life
  • Giving individuals insight into better understanding depression
  • Teaching individuals recovery from both conditions is possible
  • Assisting individuals to better handle negative thoughts

A person with a dual diagnosis may also require medication therapy as part of their recovery. Antidepressants have been effective at helping people cope with their symptoms and live normal lives.

Dual Diagnosis Treatment Centers

Research continues to learn more about the link between depression and addiction. As more information is learned and outcomes are studied, the greater the impact dual diagnosis centers in Arizona can help those in need.

Utilizing a team of clinicians, long-term success is more likely when approaching both conditions at the same time. Further, by extending treatment beyond the detoxification process for the addiction along with therapy for clinical depression, patients can look forward to returning to a life of normalcy.

Traditional rehabilitation centers are much more adept at identifying individuals who suffer from two or more conditions, such as depression and addiction. If you or someone you know may be struggling with either depression or addiction, let them know specially trained professionals at Desert Cove Recovery are here to help, in addition to their friends, family, and the community they live in.