Mood disorders and drug and alcohol addiction frequently go hand in hand. Anxiety and addiction, bipolar disorder and addiction, and depression and addiction often coexist. It’s essential that these get treated simultaneously. However, depression and addiction can be an especially difficult and dangerous combination.

Depression and Addiction Can Be Lethal

Untreated depression can be a huge problem regardless of addiction being coexisting or not. Way too many people forgo treatment for depression because the stigma exists that depression isn’t real or that it can be fixed on its own. Untreated depression can cause a severe decline in life quality, and it can also cause people to have suicidal tendencies.

When addiction joins depression, there is often a steep decline in a person’s well-being. Drugs and alcohol can temporarily seem to help the problem but, eventually, it becomes even worse because of addiction. A person will eventually be unable to function without their substance of choice.

Many people who are depressed and abuse drugs and alcohol have suicidal tendencies. This can range from destructive behavior like cutting and burning to actual suicide attempts. Sometimes, people will purposely overdose on drugs or alcohol as an attempt to commit suicide. These actions don’t always lead to death, but without treatment, there are bound to be more attempts, and each attempt brings the person further towards succeeding.

Depression, Addiction, and Suicide

It happens all too frequently that a person commits suicide while they are under the influence of a drug or alcohol. In famous cases, you can look at legendary actor Robin Williams. Who knows if he would have actually carried out a suicide attempt if he had been sober.

It is hard to accurately determine the number of suicides because people often commit suicide by overdose. Without a suicide note or concrete evidence, it is impossible to know how many of the nearly 50,000 annual overdose deaths are actually suicides.

According to the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention:

  • 25 million Americans suffer from depression
  • 50% of people who successfully commit suicide have major depressive disorder
  • When alcoholics are depressed, the former number climbs to 75%
  • In 2014, there were over 40,000 suicide deaths
  • Depression is one of the most treatable mood disorders

With all this information, it is vital for people with depression to get help and stop self-medicating. Alcohol and drugs will only serve to inevitably make things worse. The best thing to do if you feel like you are suffering from depression is to talk to someone you trust and get professional help. Non-habit-forming medications can exist that will ease your symptoms and improve your quality of life. Abusing drugs and alcohol should never be an option because it will only make things worse.

Depression and Addiction: Otherwise Known as Dual-Diagnosis

People who are suffering from both depression and addiction have what is called a “dual diagnosis”. When an individual has a dual diagnosis, it means that he or she has two or more co-occurring disorders.

Although co-existing conditions don’t always include addiction, within the world of substance abuse treatment, the term “dual diagnosis” refers to a combination of addiction and another mental health disorder.

Unfortunately, many people who are currently dealing with depression are also suffering from alcoholism or drug abuse. It’s common to see this dual diagnosis among those who are struggling with substance dependence and addiction problems.

Sometimes, the symptoms of depression can be emotionally debilitating, causing problems in people’s everyday lives and disrupting normal routines. Here are some of the common symptoms of major depressive disorder:

  • Hopelessness
  • Lack of motivation
  • Fatigue and tiredness
  • Irritability and agitation
  • Feelings of uselessness
  • Drastic behavioral changes
  • Intense feelings of sadness
  • Changes in sleeping patterns
  • Withdrawal from family and friends
  • Loss of interest in hobbies and activities

Many of these symptoms, such as fatigue and loss of motivation, can cause people to have problems at work and at school. It may cause individuals to perform poorly in these settings as it becomes difficult to focus and concentrate when energy and motivation are lacking.

In severe cases of depression, people may suffer from intense symptoms like hallucinations and suicidal thoughts. Living with the symptoms of depression, feeling their effects day in and day out can be overwhelming.

Often, depression is present before the development of addiction. In fact, in many cases, depression is one of the contributing factors that lead to addiction problems. For many individuals, major depressive disorder causes intense feelings of hopelessness and sadness. As a result, people often turn to alcohol or drug use to find peace.

This method of dealing with the effects of depression may seem helpful but it actually leads to more problems. Again, substance use can worsen the effects of clinical depression. So, it’s important to develop healthy ways to work through the symptoms of depression.

Getting Treatment for Depression and Addiction

Living with co-occurring disorders is far from easy. It’s challenging and can make daily life very difficult. If you’ve been suffering from substance abuse and clinical depression for a while, no doubt, you have often felt alone in your struggle. These issues may have left you feeling helpless and hopeless. Perhaps you’ve started to believe that there’s no way out.

We’ve got good news for you. Not only are you not alone, but you can also find your way out of the darkness of depression and addiction. Through a professional dual diagnosis program, you can overcome the effects of depression and alcoholism or drug abuse in your life.

At Discovery Institute, we understand the challenges of dealing with substance abuse. It’s not easy to overcome this problem. And, even once treatment is over, many people have trouble staying free from addiction. Relapse happens more often than many people realize. But, if you choose to get the right kind of help, you can prevent relapse from happening in your life.

In many cases, treatment focuses mainly or solely on addiction recovery. Although it’s important for people to overcome addiction, it’s necessary to also deal with the underlying causes and co-occurring disorders associated with the substance abuse problem.

If treatment fails to deal with these other elements, it’s likely that the individual will run into issues with his or her other disorders and lack the skills to deal with them in a healthy way. This often results in addiction relapse.

But, here at Discovery Institute, we work to approach addiction as well as all of the elements surrounding it. Through our dual diagnosis treatment program, we help our clients to overcome substance abuse and deal with things like depression, anxiety, stress, and much more.

So, if you’re looking for a facility that will help you become and remain free from addiction, please reach out to us today by calling (855) 706-9275.

References:

https://www.addictioncenter.com/addiction/depression-and-addiction/

https://www.northpointrecovery.com/blog/depression-and-addiction-are-they-linked/

https://www.mentalhealthfirstaid.org/external/2018/02/depression-addiction-understanding-dual-diagnoses/

https://americanaddictioncenters.org/treating-depression-substance-abuse

Reviewed for Medical & Clinical Accuracy by Dr. Jeffrey Berman, MD

Dr. Jeffrey Berman, MDDr. Jeffrey Berman is a psychiatrist in Teaneck, New Jersey and is affiliated with Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital. He received his medical degree from State University of New York Upstate Medical University and has been in practice for more than 20 years. He also speaks multiple languages, including French and Hebrew.

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