Depression and Addiction
The Center for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that about 10% of Americans suffer from clinical depression. Clinical Depression is a serious disorder that adversely affects its victims and their families. People who suffer from the disorder find it difficult to lead normal lives. It impairs activities such as work, studying, sleeping, eating, enjoying family and friends and participating in activities. This type of depression can occur once in a person’s life or it can occur several times, and it can follow from one generation into the next one.
People with clinical depression have marked low moods that are often prevalent most of the day, and especially in the morning. Symptoms of clinical depression include: fatigue, guilt, feelings of worthlessness, insomnia or excessive sleeping, low energy, impaired concentration, restlessness, lack of interest in activities, change in body weight and recurring thoughts of death or suicide. The most common treatment protocol for clinical depression is anti-depressant medications and psychological counseling.
There is a wide array of available anti-depressant medications and other medications may also be added to enhance the anti-depressant’s effects. There can be risks of dependence on the medications and also an increase in depression and suicidal thoughts and behavior. Patients may also try to self-medicate by abusing their medication or adding other drugs or alcohol with it. This type of behavior can create addiction, an increase in physical and psychological problems and even death by overdose.
A dual diagnosis is when a person is addicted to a substance and also has a co-occurring mental disorder. The Journal of Clinical Psychiatry reports that one in three people who suffer from depression also struggle with substance abuse. Substance abuse is common among people suffering from mental disorders because the mental disorder serves as a gateway to using drugs and alcohol.
People who suffer with clinical depression may also experience their life falling apart. They may have lost their job or someone they love because of their disorder. Their dark moods and other symptoms of the disorder become overwhelming at times and they look for an escape. Drugs and alcohol will numb their grief for awhile but it will take its toll on their physical and mental health. Addiction and clinical depression exacerbate each other and specialized treatment is necessary.
When an addict who has clinical depression stops using drugs or alcohol the depression will rise to the surface. The dark moods that were buried in addiction now re-emerge in sobriety. This can be a difficult problem for the recovering addict to handle along with withdrawal symptoms, and that is why integrative treatment is necessary to address both the addiction and the clinical depression. If just the physical addiction is treated the patient will most probably relapse quickly to rid them self of the dark moods.
A medically supervised detox process can also be accompanied with anti-depressant medications to fend off depression. An integrated dual-diagnosis treatment plan combines a supervised medical detox process, psychological counseling and an aftercare treatment program. An integrated treatment program is effective because it incorporates counseling, education, peer support, and relapse prevention for both substance abuse and depression.
This type of treatment teaches the patient the nature of their depression and how they can effectively recover from their depression. It motivates the patient to make changes in their life and equips them with practical skills to fend off negative thoughts. The patient will learn how to change negative thought and behavior patterns into positive healthy ones. Changing thought and behavior patterns helps to change the addict’s addictive behavior and prevent a relapse.
Anti-depressant medications are at the forefront of treating clinical depression along with psychological therapy. With the proper encouragement and support from family and peers, anyone who has a dual-diagnosis can kick their addiction and manage their disorder.