Destination Hope Blog » The Double Demons of Depression and Addiction

The Double Demons of Depression and Addiction

Depression and addiction all too frequently go hand in hand. Depression is one of the most commonly diagnosed and treated mental issues in the United States, and addictive disorders are also common co-diagnoses. When both an addiction and an underlying mental health disorder need to both be treated at the same time, in order to help the individual heal and begin the road to recovery, it’s called a dual diagnosis. Depression and addiction, together, are one of the most common types  of dual diagnosis for a number of reasons.

Why Depression and Addiction Are Common Co-Diagnoses

  1. Individuals who are depressed may attempt to self-medicate by compulsively using and abusing mood-altering substances in an effort to numb the symptoms of depression. These need not be drugs or alcohol- in fact, they may use food, sex or gambling in unhealthy ways in an effort to seek relief. Unfortunately, the addictive behavior, over the long run, ultimately fails to provide temporary relief from the symptoms of depression and will actually prolong and exacerbate the depressive period.
  2. The addictive behavior itself may cause mood instability, which can leave individuals vulnerable to depression. Addiction has been known to trigger a number of feelings that are similar to depression, including shame, helplessness, powerlessness, anxiety and sadness. The more the addiction progresses, the more debilitating these symptoms become and the more vulnerable the addict becomes to full-blown depression. Interestingly, women tend to exhibit depressive symptoms first, which leads to addictive behavior, whereas men do the opposite- they first exhibit addictive behavior, which leads them to depression.
  3. Addictive disorders, whether they be substances or otherwise, can lead to a number of negative consequences, such as relationship problems, low self esteem and employment difficulties.

Treatment Options for Depression and Addiction

The treatment for depression and addiction involves a dual approach which treats both illnesses as a primary condition. A dual diagnosis treatment program requires a carefully coordinated plan for both the addiction and the depression, helping to ease the symptoms of both and to help the individual to begin to live a healthy, balanced life free from both. Therapies carefully designed for each of the disorders, such as antidepressant medication, psychotherapy and addiction counseling, are combined into one comprehensive, manageable treatment plan, including relapse prevention strategies that take both the addiction and depression into consideration.

If you or a woman you love is having problems with drug abuse, alcohol dependency or mental illness, women’s drug rehab may be the answer.  Remember that recovery from addiction and alcohol abuse treatment means learning how to cope with intensely emotional situations, and identifying when you need help and support.  Treatment for addiction relapse, counseling and aftercare can help you do this, so please call us today.  Destination Hope: The Women’s Program is a full service addiction and women’s health treatment facility in Florida for women who suffer from substance abuse and behavioral health issues.