depression and addiction

DEPRESSION AND ADDICTION

Since 2020, Florida has been among the top 10 states for an increase in anxiety and depression. Reports say that the state’s rates of these disorders increased by 12.7% since the beginning of the pandemic. Rates of depression skyrocketed across the country as well, with 2021 reports showing that one-third of Americans now have clinical depression or anxiety. Since the effects of these high depression and anxiety rates are still manifesting in different ways, many Americans are still susceptible to developing depression and addiction.

Many Americans are susceptible to developing depression and addiction because many people that suffer from depression start abusing substances to cope. Thus, along with the rise in depression has been a rise in substance use disorders and addiction treatment demand. 

Because of how many Americans struggle with depression today, it’s important for as many people as possible to have a proper understanding of what depression is. It’s also important that people can recognize the signs and symptoms of depression so that they are aware if they or someone they love is suffering from this mental illness and thus needs treatment for it. 

People that are aware that they or their loved ones are suffering from depression should also be conscious of whether or not they are abusing substances. If so, such people may be suffering from depression and addiction. 

It’s also important to understand how depression and addiction affect each other. That way when receiving treatment for their depression and addiction, people will look for a dual diagnosis treatment program and make sure to treat the two conditions simultaneously rather than try to treat the two conditions one after the other. 

What Is Depression?

Although depression includes feelings of sadness and hopelessness, it’s much more than that. Depression affects how people think, act, and cope with their daily lives. When people develop negative emotions, and those emotions persist, they can turn into clinical depression. They may create a variety of other symptoms as well. There are several medical treatments that can help treat the physical and emotional symptoms of depression.

What Are the Types of Depression?

Depression comes in many forms, and the signs and symptoms of this mental illness can vary based on a variety of factors. Depression comes in many forms, and the signs and symptoms of this mental illness can vary based on a variety of factors. For example, a person’s age, health history, and recent events can all impact the signs and symptoms of depression that a person experiences. 

Below are some common types of depression:

  • Dysthymia – otherwise known as persistent depressive disorder, lasts two years or more
  • Unipolar major depression – It involves persistent feelings of sadness or hopelessness.
  • Substance-induced mood disorder – It occurs after a person stops using a drug or alcohol or during the course of use.
  • Disruptive mood dysregulation disorder – It occurs in teens and includes extreme outbursts.
  • Medical condition depressive disorder – It occurs as a result of another medical condition’s effects.
  • Premenstrual dysphoric disorder – It occurs in women who have extreme mood swings prior to menstruating.

There are other depressive disorders as well, such as minor depression. With the many types of depression, it is easy to see why this kind of mental illness can affect nearly anyone. Life’s situations can turn into major stress, and when that stress leads to depression, it can cause serious risks.

There are four categories of depression. They include existential, situational, biological, and psychological. Existential depression often occurs as a result of a goal failure, an anticipated event going wrong, or something similar to one of those two things. Psychological depression is linked to negative emotions, unrealistic expectations, and other negative feelings. 

Biological depression is due to hormonal or chemical imbalances in the brain and body. Situational depression often happens as a result of a temporary hardship and eventually subsides. It is possible for situational depression to develop into a lasting condition that requires medical intervention though.

What Are the Effects and Signs of Depression?

There are several common signs of depression listed in the DSM-5, which is the main diagnostic source for clinical psychologists and psychiatrists.

Below are some common signs of depression:

  • Losing or gaining weight
  • Feeling depressed in the morning and throughout most of the day
  • Lacking energy and feeling tired every day
  • Feeling slow or restless frequently
  • Constant feelings of pessimism or hopelessness
  • Feeling guilty or worthless nearly every day
  • Having difficulty remembering details, focusing or deciding
  • Frequent thoughts of suicide or death
  • Inability to sleep or sleeping too much on a regular basis
  • Not feeling pleasure or interest in daily activities

There can also be other feelings associated with depression. Some people often notice that certain times of the day, month, or year trigger or worsen depression symptoms. Certain locations, situations, or people can also trigger depressive feelings in people. Working with a trained professional to identify the complex issues an individual faces while suffering from depression is essential for the treatment of this mental health disorder.

What Is Addiction?

When most people think of addiction, they think of the outward signs, effects, or behaviors that are associated with the disease. When most people think of addiction, they think of the outward signs, effects, or behaviors that are associated with the disease. Many people may know someone who steals, lies, or acts differently after developing an addiction. 

Addictive behaviors can be offensive to people who don’t completely understand addiction. It’s important to learn why addiction affects the brain.

If a person steals, lies, or does something else offensive or hurtful to feed an addiction, it’s because of a loss of control in judgment. This loss in judgment partly occurs because of the fact that addiction affects how the brain sends signals. This, in turn, affects everything from how people perceive sensations to how they act. 

Imaging scans even show that that the effects that addiction has on the brain remain long after a person stops using a substance. The effects of addiction can persist even after a substance is gone from a person’s bloodstream.

What Are Some Signs of Addiction?

The specific signs of addiction that a person exhibits can vary based on the type of substance that person misuses. For example, someone who misuses stimulants may exhibit a boost in energy while someone who misuses opioid painkillers may exhibit excessive sleepiness. 

Below are some common signs of an addiction:

  • Moodiness and major mood swings
  • Hiding pill bottles or having a lot of empty medication bottles
  • Being unusually secretive about one’s whereabouts
  • Neglecting hygiene, social commitments, or work
  • Exhibiting new legal or financial troubles and behaving destructively
  • Being unusually talkative or lethargic

Call 911 if someone you know who abuses substances or suffers from addiction loses consciousness, complains of chest pain, has trouble breathing, or stops breathing. These are potential signs of a dangerous overdose.

Why Do Drug Addiction and Depression Often Co-Occur?

Researchers believe that there are three main reasons why substance use disorders and depression often co-occur. One of these reasons is that common risk factors can contribute to the development of both depression and addiction. For example, genetics, stress, and trauma are all factors that can contribute to the development of both depression and addiction. 

Another potential reason why people often simultaneously suffer from drug addiction and depression is that one of the disorders triggers the occurrence of the other disorder. For example, using certain substances can cause changes to people’s brain chemistry that causes them to feel depressed. The depression that substance abuse causes may then last and worsen. It may even cause a person to develop a cycle of repeated substance misuse.

Depression can also trigger a person to abuse substances. This is because people that suffer from depression often start abusing substances to cope. Over time, such excessive substance abuse usually causes individuals with depression to also develop substance addictions.  

The choice of substances that a person with depression abuses may depend on the effects depression has on the individual. There may be other reasons as well.

Dual Diagnosis Treatment for Depression and Addiction 

As the name suggests, dual diagnosis treatment involves treating two disorders simultaneously. As the name suggests, dual diagnosis treatment involves treating two disorders simultaneously. In this case, those two disorders are depression and addiction. People that treat their co-occurring substance addictions and mental illnesses such as depression are better able to achieve and maintain their sobriety than those who try to treat their co-occurring disorders individually, one after the other. 

During dual diagnosis treatment, several substance use specialists and mental health therapists collaborate to provide complete and comprehensive treatment of both drug addiction and depression at the same time. 

During dual diagnosis treatment, spouses, family members, or partners of individuals that suffer from co-occurring depression and addiction may get involved in their loved ones’ addiction therapy to help provide support. For example, close relatives and friends may attend family therapy with their loved ones that suffer from depression and addiction. 

On top of interactive and group forms of addiction therapy such as standard group therapy or family therapy, many other therapeutic approaches are used in the treatment of depression and addiction. For example, cognitive-behavioral therapy, dialectical behavior therapy, and eye desensitization and reprocessing therapy (EMDR) are just some forms of therapy that therapists often use to simultaneously treat depression and addiction. 

During the course of time that individuals are attending dual diagnosis treatment for drug addiction and depression, substance use specialists and addiction therapists allow patients to make their own choices. Thus, dual diagnosis treatment patients must contain some motivation within themselves to achieve recovery. During dual diagnosis treatment, doctors and medical staff may also prescribe patients with prescription medications to help them manage any lingering symptoms of one or both of their co-occurring conditions. 

Why Dual Diagnosis Treatment Is Important

When substance abuse and depression occur simultaneously, it’s critical to treat both disorders simultaneously to reduce the risk of relapse. Otherwise, when treating the disorders one by one, whatever disorder isn’t being treated will trigger the re-occurrence of the treated disorder.  Through dual diagnosis treatment though, no important needs are left untreated. With proper attention, people can receive the comprehensive care they deserve through dual diagnosis treatment.

Finding Dual Diagnosis Treatment for Substance Abuse and Depression in Florida

Professional treatment is a must for anyone who struggles with both depression and addiction. Trying to detox alone can be dangerous, and trying to self-treat both disorders individually or on one’s own is ineffective. Only professionals know the right methods and approaches for adequate dual diagnosis treatment. 

Here at Florida Center for Recovery, we carefully evaluate all factors that impact a person’s development of a dual diagnosis disorder from that person’s unique needs to his or her medical or substance use history. Our professionals use all that information to create custom treatment plans for each of our patients. 

Thus, if you or a loved one is struggling with depression and addiction, the Florida Center for Recovery team is here to help. We can provide you with guidance on how to help you or a struggling loved one achieve recovery from substance addiction or a co-occurring drug addiction and mental illness. 

For answers to inquiries about the addiction treatment programs, therapies, and services that we offer here at Florida Center for Recovery, contact us today! 

References:

https://www.nimh.nih.gov/health/topics/depression/
https://newsinhealth.nih.gov/2015/10/biology-addiction
https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/1362227/

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