Depression and Addiction: How to Deal With a Dual Diagnosis

Depression and addiction have a complex relationship, and the disorder can happen together. Though, depression is most common among those who are battling an addiction to alcohol or drugs, any substance use may trigger or enhance feelings of loneliness, sadness, and hopelessness linked with depression. It is also estimated around 1/3 of people with depression will also have a drug and alcohol addiction. But those suffering from depression have a low level of emotional course, which does not go quickly. However, clinical depression is a severe mental health issue that has severe consequences for people suffering from it.

Depression and Addiction: How to Deal with a Dual Diagnosis
*This is a guest post and all opinions are those of the author. This post may also contain affiliate and/or paid links. Rest assured that we only work with companies and individuals that we trust. While some of those companies and individuals may work in the medical field, this post is not intended to be a substitution for medical advice. Always speak to your doctor if you have concerns about your mental or physical health.
Depression and Addiction: How to Deal with a Dual Diagnosis
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Depression affects millions of people and keeps them from living happily with a healthy lifestyle. While many individuals who experience highs and low depression symptoms throughout their life, clinical depression can last for weeks, months, or even some years. People coping with depression find themselves moving towards drug or alcohol use as a solution. Although those substances will temporarily ease the emotional pain, they can become addictive.

The more a person consumes drugs and alcohol, the more their body becomes dependent. Over time, drug and alcohol addiction will boost the symptoms of depression and which can lead to health problems. However, the treatment of addiction is possible through drug and alcohol rehab centers that help eliminate the habit.

Dual diagnosis: Depression and Addiction

Substance abuse is widespread among individuals who are suffering from a depressive disorder. And alcohol is a central nervous system depressant; using alcohol will trigger depression symptoms like sadness, hopelessness, and lethargy.

Moreover, many individuals coping with depression will reach for drugs or alcohol to enhance moods or numb painful thoughts. As a result, depression and addiction abuse will feed into each other, and it will boost the heighten the condition of both, making each worse.

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When an individual is suffering from depression and addiction, a dual diagnosis can be made by any combination of a mental issue and an addiction to drugs or alcohol. A dual diagnosis which includes depressive disorder, is among the more common forms of the problem.

Depression will stand at a higher risk of accidental injury, self-harm, and sometimes suicide. Moreover, depression also restrains the immune system, which weakens the body, making you more exposed to physical illness. When you add drugs or alcohol, the risks increase significantly to your physical and emotional health.

Understanding Depression

Individuals with depression find themselves facing a battle every day. Many elements of addiction will overlap the symptoms of depression, which makes it necessary that people get the care and treatment for both disorders.

People with both depression and addiction may mimic a lack of lifestyle habits that include-
    • Ignoring social activities or hobbies
    • Refusing any acknowledgment of an addiction problem
    • Recognizing negative issues with personal relationships
    • Detaching themselves from the society

For every individual suffering from depression, it is enticing to feel that high occurs with taking drugs or alcohol. In the long run, this substance abuse to ease depression signs will even cause more harm to one’s life.

Types of depression

There are two significant types of depression- endogenous depression and situational depression. However, the signs of both types of depression are similar, and in many cases, its treatment is also equal. But a significant difference does exist in both the depression types.

Endogenous depression

Endogenous depression is the one in which a biological predisposition of depression is present. Usually, there is a family history of depression that reveals a genetic tendency towards depressive illness. While this depression can occur with or without any particular stress, intensifying pressure will cause a more acute depressive episode.

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Situational depression

This type of depression can occur without a genetic or biological predisposition to depression. Situational depression is triggered usually by a single incident like job loss, illness, or any other problem. However, this type of situational stressors is not always present in the lives of those who have a biologically depressive illness.

Symptoms of Depression

The signs of depression vary depending on its type. However, a co-occurring disorder involves alcohol, and addiction to other substances can increase those symptoms’ seriousness. People who suffer from depression will have around a ten percent lifetime suicide risk. But when depression is combined with addiction, the risk can arise.

Common and severe symptoms of depression:
    • Loss of interest in any work, social life, and hobby
    • A feeling of uselessness and hopelessness
    • Irritable
    • Sleeping issues
    • Weight changes and appetite issues
    • Hasty behavior
    • Hallucinating
    • Suicidal thoughts
    • Consuming drugs and alcohol to fight depression

Depression Becoming Entrance to Addiction

Depression is often known as an entry to drug and alcohol use, which becomes an addiction. People who experience depression will use alcohol and drugs to rescue negative thoughts. And if the person is consuming drugs and drinks daily, there are high chances that they will become addicted.

Signs of addiction include the following:
    • When your body turns addicted to drugs and alcohol, you will require more to achieve the same impact as at the beginning.
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    • When you decrease the drug intake and start showing signs of being nervous, cold sweats, or become agitated, or experiencing tremors.
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    • Leaving you feeling guilty or sad after you abuse the drug, even though you are using it to feel better in the first place.
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      • The craving to use will occur when you stop using the drug, recreating your cravings and withdrawal symptoms, leaning you back to the drug again.
    I tried Online Therapy for 30 Days and this is what happened
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    Recovering from Depression and Addiction

    A dual diagnosis is complex to treat because each disorder can build up the symptoms of the other. Though, people who drink excessive alcohol will not cure the effects of depression. Drinking alcohol can worsen depression symptoms. The need to conceal depression overcomes the alcohol’s side effects.

    However, to treat an individual with a dual diagnosis, a high level of complexity involves. It is well known the individuals who have a dual diagnosis won’t get the care they need in a traditional rehab program.

    The only program that will work is to handle the issues, drug and alcohol addiction, the detox process, counseling, and aftercare planning. An integrated Dual Diagnosis program will include counseling, education, support, and prevention from depression and addiction issues.

    Advice for Depression and Addiction Dual Diagnosis

    People who don’t receive the proper treatment for dual diagnoses like depression and addiction will find their chronic conditions persist and impact their quality of life. So, it becomes essential to get the help you need by finding a specialized treatment center that can help to overcome depression and addiction.

    You will have to find a center with a medical professional and addiction specialist team who understands the complex nature of Dual Diagnosis. The center should provide various crafted programs to help the patients achieve lifelong sobriety and treat all co-occurring disorders.


    Author Bio:

    Emily is a sensual blogger who explores the field of addiction recovery. She provides information and knowledge about various types of addiction treatments and recovery, through her writings.

The Truth About Postpartum Anxiety and Substance Abuse

There seems to be a common connection between postpartum anxiety and substance abuse.

Many mothers suffering from postpartum anxiety are prone to addiction and substance abuse.  It’s true that drugs or alcohol can work to help numb the pain and drown our worries.  But it’s not a permanent, nor a safe, solution.  If this is a problem that you are dealing with, know that help is always available and there are other options available for handling the crippling symptoms of postpartum anxiety. 

Here’s some information for moms suffering from postpartum anxiety and substance abuse.
The Truth About Postpartum Anxiety and Substance Abuse
*This is a guest post and all opinions are those of the author. This post may also contain affiliate and/or paid links. Rest assured that I only work with companies and individuals that I trust. While some of those companies and individuals may work in the medical field, this post is not intended to be a substitution for medical advice. Always speak to your doctor if you have concerns about your mental or physical health.

Who is at risk for postpartum anxiety and substance abuse?

Postpartum disorders and addiction have a dangerous relationship, and each of them often make the symptoms of the other more severe. In the first days and weeks after childbirth, a new mother will go through a variety of emotions and sources of stress. She may experience difficult feelings and struggle with sadness, constant worrying, and extreme sleep deprivation.

Postpartum anxiety is when a woman develops an anxiety disorder following the birth of her baby that causes a disruption in her life and affects her health and well-being. Studies have discovered that women with postpartum depression or anxiety are at a greater risk for substance abuse compared to postpartum women without a mood disorder. Likewise, women with a history of substance abuse are more likely to show symptoms of postpartum anxiety.

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Why do some mothers with postpartum anxiety abuse drugs or alcohol?

Caring for a newborn entails a great deal of work, and it is normal for a mother to experience a range of feelings including worry, unhappiness, and fatigue. If these feelings persist or interfere with a woman’s ability to care for herself or her family, she may risk developing a mood or substance use disorder.

Environmental factors such as relationship status or economic status may also leave certain mothers at a higher risk for substance abuse. Postpartum substance abuse may be a continuation of drug or alcohol use that was prevalent before or during pregnancy, or it may be the beginning of a new behavior.

Women with postpartum anxiety may use drugs or alcohol in order to:

    • Self-medicate
    • Elevate their mood
    • Relieve stress and anxiety
    • Assist in falling asleep
    • Increase Energy

Women who are prescribed opiates for postoperative pain-management or benzodiazepines for anxiety are also at an increased risk for developing a drug dependency. If you have a history of prescription drug abuse, let your health care provider so they can discuss safer alternatives during postpartum treatment. Opioids are especially addictive, making drug rehab a valuable tool for mothers struggling with dependencies after their pregnancy.

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How to treat substance abuse in mothers with postpartum anxiety

Postpartum substance abuse can limit a mother’s ability to emotionally connect with her infant, adjust to their rhythms and behaviors, and anticipate or follow their development. If you or someone you love is struggling with drug or alcohol abuse and postpartum anxiety, it is important to seek treatment that will address both issues.

Many addiction treatment therapies can also be used to treat symptoms of postpartum anxiety. There are many options for rehab including inpatient or outpatient treatment and a wide variety of support groups. If you are unsure about which treatment option is best, contact a rehab specialist who can go over the options and help you find the right treatment facility.

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) is a form of psychotherapy that focuses on changing patterns of thinking and behavior. The therapist works alongside you to anticipate problems and develop healthy coping strategies. When treating anxiety in the general population, CBT has been proven to be effective with improvement rates estimated between 34% and 68%.

Common CBT exercises for treating substance abuse in women with postpartum anxiety include:

    • Setting realistic goals and learning how to solve problems.
    • Learning to manage stress and anxiety, especially with relaxation techniques.
    • Identifying and challenging negative thoughts.
    • Keeping track of feelings, thoughts, and behaviors to be more aware of symptoms and to make it easier to change thoughts and behaviors.
    • Exploring the negative consequences of continued substance abuse.
    • Identifying high-risk situations for substance abuse
    • Developing strategies for coping with and avoiding high-risk situations and the desire to use.
I tried Online Therapy for 30 Days and this is what happened
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Mindfulness Training

Mindfulness training is the practice of awareness and attention exercises focused on accepting your present state of emotions, thoughts, and physical sensations. When mindfulness training is practiced before, during, and after childbirth, it has been shown to significantly reduce anxiety and stress.

Some of the skills taught in mindfulness training are:

    • Observation: Being mindful and paying close attention to what is going on in the world around you.
    • Description: Having the ability to say what happened and how it made you feel.
    • Participation: Becoming involved in an activity without being self-conscious about it.
    • Taking a Non-Judgmental Stance: Learning to accept things you can’t control rather than judging them.
    • Focusing on what is going on in the moment without distraction from other ideas or events.
    • Effectiveness: Doing what works instead of second-guessing yourself.

Mindfulness training can help you recognize when you are running on “auto pilot”(acting without thinking about what you are doing), as well as developing a better attitude towards yourself and others.

Talking about Substance Abuse and Postpartum Anxiety

Postpartum anxiety can make the experience of motherhood even more stressful than it already is. The risk of drug and alcohol abuse is greater for mothers who are dealing with other disorders and unfortunately, many are afraid to speak up. Drugs and alcohol may numb the pain and symptoms of anxiety, but it only offers temporary relief and does more harm in the long run. If you are suffering from symptoms of anxiety or drug and alcohol dependency, seek help from a qualified professional and get started with a recovery program. Talk with other moms about your experience or join a support group and know that you are not alone in this battle.

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If you, or someone you love is suffering from substance abuse in the postpartum period, please check out our resources and recommendations page for some sites with important information.

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Author Bio:

Ginni Correa is a Latinx writer and mental health advocate living in Orlando, FL. Her mission is to build awareness and promote resources that can help people transform their lives. She believes in the importance of ending stigma surrounding mental health and substance abuse