Depression is a mental health condition that causes feelings of sadness, emptiness, and overall gloom on a long-term, daily basis. If you suffer from this condition, you may have a difficult time coping with your emotions, leading to the development of negative coping mechanisms such as drug or alcohol abuse. Depression can also make you more likely to also struggle with a co-occurring substance use disorder.
Studies show depression is 3 to 4 times more prevalent among people with a substance use disorder. When you struggle with both depression and addiction, it can be difficult to recover. Because of the complexities of both conditions, you need to attend a dual diagnosis treatment program that can address both illnesses at the same time.
Understanding the Relationship Between Depression and Addiction
Depression is a serious mental health condition that causes feelings of sadness, irritability, emptiness, and an inability to function in your daily life. This is a common mood disorder that can affect how you think, feel, and behave. Without proper treatment, the feelings associated with depression can become overwhelming, causing you to seek outside forms of relief.
When you seek ways to relieve your depression without professional help, you may find yourself self-medicating through the use of drugs or alcohol and ultimately developing a substance use disorder as a result of untreated depression.
There are many other ways depression and addiction are related, for example:
- Common risk factors that contribute to both disorders, like genetics, environment, stress, and trauma.
- Chemical imbalances can contribute to both depression and addiction.
- A substance use disorder may lead to the development of depression because misusing drugs or alcohol can lead to changes in the brain that affect mood regulation.
One of the most common ways that substance abuse leads to the development of depression is through regular alcohol consumption. If you struggle with alcoholism you are 3.7 times more likely to develop a major depressive disorder. This is because, over time, alcohol abuse lowers your brain’s natural levels of serotonin and dopamine (the chemicals responsible for happiness and mood regulation).
Should I Get Treatment for Depression and Addiction at the Same Time?
If you struggle with co-occurring depression and addiction, you should always receive treatment for both disorders simultaneously. Let’s say you only receive treatment for your substance use disorder and leave your depression unmanaged. Over time, the symptoms of your depression will cause you to want to return to self-medicating the root of your problems, leading to the re-emergence of your substance use disorder.
There are many reasons why it’s important to receive treatment for both conditions at the same time. Another reason is the overlapping symptoms that occur between your depression and addiction. Both conditions can cause feelings of emptiness, and loneliness, as well as lead to behavioral symptoms like isolation, poor hygiene habits, self-harming behaviors, and suicidal ideation.
If you were to only treat one condition, the overlapping symptoms could easily lead to a relapse in either condition. For example, only treating your depression and leaving your addiction issues unchecked could cause a relapse in the symptoms of depression. As you continue abusing substances, your brain continues to be depleted of happy chemicals, leading to the relapse of your mental health condition.
For these reasons, you need to get treatment for both depression and addiction at the same time. Dual diagnosis treatment centers in California are designed to treat co-occurring disorders like depression and substance use disorder.
Dual Diagnosis Treatment for Depression and Addiction
Dual diagnosis treatment includes the integration of evidence-based addiction treatment practices and mental health treatment models. In other words, dual diagnosis treatment includes traditional addiction treatment methods like detox, individual therapy, and group counseling, with depression treatments such as medications and therapy.
Programs like Sheer Recovery use a 6-bed model, which means that no more than 6 patients are treated at a given time. This ensures that you receive the one-on-one care you need and deserve, providing you with ample time to receive the comprehensive services you need to make a full recovery.
Correction of Chemical Imbalances
If your depression stems from a chemical imbalance, you need to receive correctional treatments to help balance the chemicals in your brain. This could mean the use of medications if needed.
When you have depression, you most likely suffer from a depletion of serotonin which could be a natural chemical imbalance you were born with or an imbalance that stems from your drug abuse. SSRI medications increase the reuptake of serotonin and can improve symptoms of depression.
As soon as you enter the program, an evaluation will be conducted to determine how long you need medication or if you need it at all.
Treating Mental Health Conditions With Therapy
Once the chemical imbalances are corrected, you will begin therapy. Types of therapy frequently used to treat comorbid depression and addiction include:
- Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT)
- Dialectical behavior therapy (DBT)
- One-on-one therapy
- Aftercare planning
At Sheer Recovery, our 6-patient model will provide you with plenty of time in therapy. Rather than treating 40-50 patients at a time, we focus on 6 clients. This allows us to really get to the root of each of our patient’s problems, ensuring that you will recover from both your depression and your substance use disorder.
Find Help for Co-Occurring Depression and Addiction Today
If you or a loved one suffer from depression and addiction, it’s time to seek help. Dealing with both conditions puts you at a higher risk of severe symptoms like self-harm, drug overdoses, and suicidal thoughts. Because of this, it is important for you to seek professional dual diagnosis treatment as soon as possible
Contact Sheer Recovery today to speak with a qualified admissions coordinator and start your recovery.
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