Each of us has our good days and our bad days. We wouldn’t be human if we didn’t go through these periods of highs and lows in our daily routine. But, for some people, these feelings persist to the point of interfering with normal daily functioning. When a person is unable to take control and continue being productive individuals, they are diagnosed with clinical depression.  But, when depression and addiction occur simultaneously, a special approach may be needed.

Depression and AddictionCurrently, in the US, ten percent of the population suffers from depression or other psychiatric disorders, according to the CDC (Centers for Disease Control). The individuals who are more prone to feeling depressed are those who are between the ages of 45 and 64 who are out of work or those individuals who don’t have medical benefits or private health insurance. Also, women are more susceptible than men. Likewise, African Americans and Hispanics are at higher risk for depression.

Depression is also a major contributing factor in substance abuse and addiction. Many depressed people tend to self-medicate using alcohol or drugs. As time progresses, they form an addiction that only exacerbates their depression. Professional addiction counseling is strongly encouraged for overcoming this powerful combination.

Guidelines for Determining if It’s Depression or Just “The Blues

Although most of us go through periods of grief, sadness, anxiety, or frustration, these feelings usually resolve themselves in a few hours or a few days. However, many individuals are unable to shake off these feelings within a reasonable period of time. When their symptoms continue for days, up to two weeks or more, they may have more than a mere case of the blues.

There are many warning signs to watch for if you are worried that you or a loved one is struggling with clinical depression.

For instance, people who are depressed may display some, or all, of these symptoms on a daily basis:

  • Changes in appetite, weight changes
  • Increased sleeping or irregular sleep patterns
  • Vague aches and pains
  • Low energy
  • Feelings of guilt, worthlessness, shame
  • Trouble focusing on daily tasks
  • Lack of interest in hobbies
  • Avoiding other people, no desire to socialize
  • Mood swings, irritability
  • Suicidal thoughts or behaviors

It is interesting to note that many men mask their depression with irritability, hostility or anger. In any case, when the symptoms persist and interfere with the person’s ability to function in daily responsibilities, it is time to seek professional help. If the person continues on this path, they may attempt to drown their sorrows in alcohol or drugs. When that happens, their problems have only just begun. The next course of action will be professional addiction counseling in a rehabilitation program.

Treatment Programs for Co-Occurring Depression and Addiction Disorders

Co-occurring depression and addiction disorders are difficult to treat because each exacerbates the other. It’s difficult to determine which came first. For that reason, a comprehensive program that has the expertise to treat dual diagnosis patients is the best option for optimal results.

When choosing a treatment program for dual diagnosis patients, you should begin by seeking an inpatient facility that provides a variety of program options that can be adapted to the person’s specific needs. The most effective programs are those that offer detox, individual and family counseling, education, peer support, relapse prevention, and aftercare services.

The program should ascribe to the following goals:

  • Teaching practical skills for creating positive thought patterns
  • Education about the nature of depression
  • Showing clients how to change negative behavior patterns
  • Motivating the person to want to make changes in his or her life
  • Helping the patient to realize that recovery is possible

You will have a chance to choose the approach to treatment that best suits your unique situation and preferences. For instance, you can choose traditional, faith-based, indigenous/Native American, 12-Step, or Self-Help programs. Many facilities offer financial arrangements if you don’t have insurance. Also, you have options such as outpatient, inpatient, PHP, or IOP programs. The type of program that will work best for you is contingent on the severity of the addiction and any co-occurring physical health problems.

If you or a loved one is experiencing depression and addiction to drugs or alcohol, don’t hesitate to seek help right away. Neither of these issues will go away on their own. Call our toll-free number now to find out how we can help you successfully beat both of these self-defeating disorders and enjoy a lifetime of wellness and happiness. We offer a comprehensive program that allows our patients to take the time they need to overcome their addiction and depression problems. Each of our staff members has the expertise, certification, and compassion to guide and support you in achieving lasting recovery.

Contact us today if you would like more information about depression and addiction and how to find treatment for yourself or a loved one.

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