Neither depression nor substance abuse is a happy diagnosis on its own, but what happens when you’re dealing with both at the same time? Perhaps the addiction is in the past, but you still feel that temptation towards the drink when new hurts arise. Or maybe you’ve been walking the path of recovery for some time, and a sudden loss or an unexpected life change is threatening to knock you off the wagon.
When you are dealing with your substance abuse and depression still looms near, how can you get the help that you need?
Co-occurring Disorders: Depression & Addiction
Co-occurring mental health and addiction issues are not uncommon. Studies reveal that they are much more common than once considered, and knowing what we do about the underlying mechanisms of addiction, it’s not hard to see why.
Being diagnosed with multiple conditions is becoming more common as the way the industry approaches assessment and our diagnostic tools evolve. Assessment professionals are trained to expect and screen for co-current diagnoses, rather than remaining faithful to the traditional yet outdated way of understanding substance use disorders. As more people receive a proper diagnosis, their therapy and even medications can be reconsidered and reevaluated for individualized treatment programs that consider both of these factors concurrently.
Dual diagnosis programs have evolved specifically for those dealing with co-occurring conditions. The most common pairings that those with Substance Use Disorder and other related addiction-based conditions also suffer from are Depression, Anxiety, PTSD, Bipolar Disorder, and/or Borderline Personality Disorder. By validating the experience of those with co-occurring disorders and treating the symptoms of each concurrently, the success rate for these high-risk cases increases.
The Root of it All
But let’s talk more about how this compilation of disorders develops. If someone struggling with addiction and substance misuse also struggles with depression, the results as we all know too well could literally end with death. Most often depression has been around before the active addiction but when experienced simultaneously, and without an effective recovery plan in place, the two can snowball out of control so fast. Because of false perceptions about their ability to handle it on their own, nearly 60% of people with depression do not seek medical help. Many feel that the stigma of a mental health disorder is not acceptable in society and may hinder both personal and professional life.
We are starting to see this change. As more people are open about the root of their addictive behaviors and choose to be honest about the kind of treatment they need, depression is becoming less stigmatized. Being honest and aware of recurrent mood disruptors is not a weakness but rather a strength, allowing one to be more prepared for these mental health episodes when they arise. Delaying medical treatment for fear of embarrassment or shame will only make things worse down the road.
When we look at why people say they use and misuse substances, we often see it provides a false sense of escape from reality along with a sense of pleasure. People will use and misuse their substance of choice to escape the depths of their depression and perhaps the truth of their situation. When the high is gone, the depression hits even harder with a side of guilt and regret – often followed by the urge to use again. This vicious cycle has to be interrupted in order to break the pattern.
When someone is ready to admit they need help and seek treatment, it is beyond important to be honest with the program about other diagnoses and symptoms. When the clinical staff is knowledgeable about common co-occurring mental health diagnoses, a patient can get the right help at the most critical times in recovery. When proper attention is given to the details, prevention and aversion of relapse become more likely.
Recover From Substance Abuse and Depression at MindMD
Getting into the right treatment center is going to take putting it all out on the table. When an ideal recovery program is in motion, someone with symptoms of depression will have the support team, tools, and resources available in the darkest moments of recovery. The urge to give up and/or use again can be the strongest in the depths of a depressive episode. Being aware and surrounded by others who are aware will be key to proper intervention.
Choosing a treatment program experienced with dual diagnoses, like MindMD, can literally mean the difference between failing and succeeding. Our specialized team is trained in patient-centered, responsive care. Our holistic approach incorporates inclusion in a clinically sophisticated refuge for those seeking to break the cycle of addiction. Contact us today to speak to a professional if you or someone you know is struggling with addiction.