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The Relation Between Depression and Addiction

By Linda Whiteside

Medically Reviewed by: Dr. Ryan Peterson

Table of Contents

depression and addiction

Drug and alcohol addiction does not simply “happen”. For those who abuse substances, there is an underlying reason why they turn to them in the first place. One of the most common reasons that people turn to substances is they suffer from an often-undiagnosed mental condition. One of the most common (and misunderstood) mental illnesses that are seen in addicts is depression.

What Defines Depression?

Depression isn’t simply having a bad day or a small rough patch in life. Depression is a lingering condition which makes people feel hopeless, worthless and with little to no way out of a situation. You may be surprised to know that depression is a common mental condition that effects millions of people throughout the United States. It is estimated that 10 percent of Americans suffer from depression.

In its simplest terms, depression can be seen as a “blue funk” that lingers. According to the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Disorders, depression is a condition that lasts for at least two weeks and includes the following symptoms:

  • Anxiety
  • Feelings of hopelessness
  • Prolonged feelings of guilt
  • Low energy and motivation
  • Prolonged sense of worthlessness
  • Aches and pains
  • Suicidal thoughts and even suicide attempts

While depression can affect anybody, it is especially prevalent among people aged 45-64, females, and those who underemployed or chronically unemployed.

How are Depression and Addiction Linked?

The connection between depression and substance abuse is quite simple. People who are experiencing depression will turn to drugs and alcohol to try and cope with their feelings. While there are many treatments and great resources available to help people overcome depression, many refuse to seek treatment. The main reason why many don’t seek help for their mental health issues is the stigma often associated with substance abuse or mental health disorders. They simply fear that people will unfairly judge them or consider them “broken”.

The addition of substances only compounds the problem. Without thoroughly addressing the issues that underlie their depression with professional help, people who turn to substances can eventually become dependent then addicted. Not only do those people suffer from depression, they also have to wrestle with an addiction to drugs and/or alcohol. It is what is commonly known as dual diagnosis.

The Importance of Dual Diagnosis Treatment

For those who suffer from a dual diagnosis, treatment becomes more difficult. Each disorder feeds off each other, and it becomes more of a challenge to get them on the path to recovery. Because of this complexity, a traditional drug treatment program will be of little help. In the case of dual diagnosis, it is crucial that people seek professional help from a treatment center featuring specialized programs that can deal with psychiatric issues as well as addiction issues.

 Dual diagnosis treatment features psychiatric help which helps clients tackle the issues that lie at the root of their depression. Through medication-assisted treatment and therapy, patients will get the tools and support they need to overcome depression. Once that has been achieved, they are able to receive a specialized and unique drug treatment plan that will help them become truly healthy and happy.

There’s hope: Rehab For Depression and Addiction

Suffering from dual diagnosis brings hopelessness and despair. If you, a family member, or a loved one is struggling with this unique condition, you may feel there is no hope. Nothing can be further from the truth. Many people suffering from depression and substance abuse have gotten better. There are better and brighter days ahead. Sometimes help and support are needed to get better. If you or a loved one is struggling with substance abuse and/or depression we are here to help. Give us a call, we’re here to help.

Our staff fully understands the unique needs of dual diagnosis patients. Our programs are effective, proven to work, and will help you or a loved one break free from mental illness and addiction for good. Give us a call today and find peace.  

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Author

Written By: Linda Whiteside
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Licensed Clinical Professional Counselor who has been providing mental health services for over 10 years.

Medically reviewed by: Dr. Ryan Peterson
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Went to medical school at The George Washington University School of Medicine in Washington, D.C.

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