Problem drinking and drug abuse happen more often in people suffering from depression than in the rest of the general population. While this is a common combination, it is also a very dangerous duo. Sometimes depression can lead to drug addiction, while other times the addiction leads to depression. Regardless of which came first, both disorders need to be treated simultaneously for a full recovery.
Two Connected Disorders
Depression and substance abuse are linked on many levels:
– Depression can trigger drug or alcohol use as a type of self-medication.
– Neurological factors causing depression can also predispose someone to addiction.
– Drugs or alcohol can precipitate depression by altering brain chemistry.
– The effects of intoxication or withdrawal can be similar to a depressive disorder.
Associated on Many Levels
The two disorders feed into each other in multiple ways. Alcohol is a nervous system depressant, which triggers lethargy, sadness and hopelessness. Also, those who are also suffering from depression might reach for drugs and alcohol to lift their spirits or simply numb the pain. Since they are so deeply connected, the treatment plan must be for both conditions in order to have a successful outcome. If the treatment plan is not for both:
– The individual is more likely to drop out of conventional treatment programs before they finish.
– He or she is more likely to relapse.
How Likely is Dual Diagnosis: The Statistics
It has been found that a third of people with depression have a problem with alcohol. In addition to that, men with depression are three times more likely to develop a dependency on alcohol, while women are four times more likely to become alcohol-dependent. This abuse can worsen a depressive disorder and increase the risk of outcomes such as:
- Stronger addiction to drugs and alcohol
- Psychiatric hospitalization
- Suicide attempts
- Accidental or intentional overdose
Treatment Together is Key
Because each disorder intensifies the symptoms of the other, comprehensive treatment of both is often necessary. At Footprints, we offer the benefits of individual therapy for addiction combined with many other proven addiction treatment techniques. We also offer treatment for co-occurring mental health disorders like, PTSD, depression and anxiety. If you are suffering from addiction and depression, contact us today to start your dual treatment and begin your recovery process.