Interested in starting your healing journey? Speak with an admissions counselor now
We're Hiring!
Apply for Jobs Now

Understanding the Relationship Between Depression and Addiction

Depression is a mental health condition that causes low mood, feelings of hopelessness, and in severe cases, self-harm and suicidal thoughts. This condition is characterized as a mood disorder because it primarily affects a person’s mood. Unfortunately, depression is common, affecting about 17.3 million American adults.

When someone struggles with depression, they are at an increased risk of developing a substance use disorder. Out of individuals with major depressive disorder, 16.5% suffered from alcoholism and 18% had a drug addiction.

If you or a loved one has both depression and a substance use disorder, you must receive treatment for both conditions at the same time. Thankfully, dual-diagnosis rehab programs combine mental health and addiction treatment services.

Understanding the relationship between addiction and depression and how they are treated can motivate you to seek the help you need.

What are the Signs of Depression?

According to the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH), depression “causes severe symptoms that affect how a person feels, thinks, and handles daily activities, such as sleeping, eating, or working.”

Clinical depression is a mental illness that can wreak havoc on your life. It might cause you to stop enjoying activities you once loved. Additionally, many people experiencing a depressive episode isolate themselves from friends and loved ones.

If you suffer from depression, you might experience the following symptoms:

  • Feeling sad, anxious, or empty
  • Feelings of hopelessness and pessimism
  • Frequent irritability, frustration, and restlessness
  • Feeling guilty, worthless, or helpless
  • Loss of interest in pleasurable activities
  • Decreased energy or fatigue
  • Trouble concentrating, remembering, or making decisions
  • Changes in appetite and weight
  • Trouble sleeping or oversleeping
  • Thoughts of death, self-harm, or suicide attempts

People with depression must seek help from mental health professionals. Interventions like talk therapy and long-term medication can help you regain control over your life.

What are the Symptoms of Addiction?

Addiction is a disease that causes you to become unable to control how much drugs or alcohol you consume. Once you are addicted to a substance, everything else in your life becomes less important. You will experience intense and uncontrollable cravings to abuse drugs and alcohol.

The common symptoms of addiction include:

  • Consuming a substance in larger amounts or for longer than you intended
  • Desiring to cut down or quit the use of drugs and alcohol but being unsuccessful
  • Spending a lot of time obtaining and using substances
  • Experiencing uncontrollable cravings to use drugs or alcohol
  • Becoming unable to complete responsibilities at home, school, or work because of substance abuse
  • Continuing to use a substance despite facing social issues
  • Losing interest in previously enjoyed activities to abuse more substances
  • Repeatedly getting into risky situations while abusing substances, like driving under the influence
  • Continuing to use a substance despite facing physical or mental health problems
  • Needing to increase the dose of drugs or alcohol to experience the desired effect
  • Dealing with withdrawal symptoms when you cannot use a substance

If you suffer from alcohol or drug abuse, an addiction treatment center can help. Behavioral therapies are often used to replace substance abuse with positive coping mechanisms.

How are Depression and Substance Abuse Connected?

Depression and addiction have a complicated relationship. Sometimes, it can be difficult to determine which condition came first. While some individuals begin abusing drugs as a form of self-medication, others develop depression because of substance abuse.

For example, depression can cause a lot of uncomfortable and even scary feelings. Someone might begin abusing a substance to numb those emotions. Over time, they depend on that drug to function in their daily lives.

On the other hand, certain substances can lead to the symptoms of depression. Alcohol, benzodiazepines, and even marijuana are known to lead to low mood, detachment from emotions, and more. Becoming addicted to these substances can cause someone to develop depression.

How are Depression and Addiction Treated?

When you suffer from both depression and addiction, you must seek treatment for both conditions. Leaving one illness untreated could cause a relapse in the other down the line. Thankfully, dual-diagnosis rehab centers combine treatment for depression with addiction recovery services.

  • Initial assessment and individualized treatment planning
  • Medical detox with medications to soothe withdrawal symptoms
  • Individual therapy and group counseling to learn to manage the symptoms of depression
  • Evidence-based behavioral therapies to help you overcome addiction
  • Medications to balance chemicals in the brain that depression is affecting
  • Holistic treatments like massage, exercise, and art or music therapy
  • Relapse prevention planning and aftercare services

The goal of dual diagnosis rehab is to ensure you recover from both depression and addiction before you return home. In other words, these programs will help you learn how to avoid substance abuse and healthily manage your depression.

Find Help for Depression and Addiction

If you or a loved one suffers from co-occurring addiction and depression, it’s time to seek help. At Mandala Healing Center, we provide compassionate and clinically proven treatment for dual-diagnosis clients.

Contact us today to learn more about our dual-diagnosis rehab program for depression and addiction.