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
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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.
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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.