People who are familiar with depression understand that the condition is much more than simply having bad days. If you have depression or know someone suffering from it, you know that the low moments are dark and long, and it can feel like there’s no way out. As a result, people often turn to alcohol or other substances to lift their spirits. However, this coping mechanism can quickly turn into addiction as people’s bodies develop tolerance.
Substance abuse and depression are intertwined issues and are so commonly associated that rehab centers, like The Nestled Recovery Center, offer programs specifically to treat people who struggle with both addiction and mental health issues, or dual diagnoses. According to the 2019 National Survey on Drug Use and Health, 9.5 million Americans had dual diagnoses, and the Journal of Clinical Psychiatry reports that one in three adults who struggle with alcohol or drug abuse also suffers from depression. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports that depression affects roughly 16 million adults each year.
Depression can develop from addiction and addiction can develop from depression, but no matter how a person developed a dual diagnosis, it’s important to know that these conditions exacerbate one another, which has an overall negative impact on a person’s health.
Depression and Alcohol
One of the most common addictions that depressed people have is alcohol addiction. Alcohol is a known depressant that initially acts as a stimulant. People turn to alcohol because it can give them feelings of euphoria and keep sadness at bay. Unfortunately, increased alcohol consumption also magnifies depression and other negative feelings like drowsiness and lethargy.
Additionally, alcohol impairs judgment and lowers a person’s inhibitions. While many people associate this aspect of alcohol with wild nights and fun memories, a depressed person who is addicted to alcohol is more likely to want to harm themselves or attempt suicide.
Depression and Marijuana Abuse
Marijuana is another drug widely known and used for its euphoric effects. While some research has shown that cannabis can be helpful in treating certain medical conditions like physical pain, seizures, or nausea, it can create health problems for individuals with depression. Marijuana may temporarily ease symptoms of depression when first ingested, but once the high subsides, it can cause a person to experience negative emotions that can worsen their mental health.
How Do These Disorders Develop?
It’s often difficult to determine the causes of dual diagnoses, as there are many factors that can be responsible. However, depression and addiction frequently involve family history. If a person’s parents struggled with alcoholism, for example, they’re more likely to develop an alcohol addiction, which can trigger depression. Along this same vein, a person whose family has a history of mental illness may develop depression and turn to alcohol or drugs.
Another factor that commonly contributes to addiction and depression is childhood trauma. A person who suffered physical, emotional, or sexual abuse as a child has an increased chance of developing depression in adulthood. Children who repress their trauma or don’t go through therapy run the risk of developing deeper wounds later in life.
Dual Diagnosis Symptoms
It’s also challenging to determine whether you have a dual diagnosis, as the symptoms of depression can be similar to the symptoms of addiction. However, there are some signs of dual diagnosis to be aware of. If you suspect that you or a loved one are battling both depression and addiction, help is just a phone call away.
Some signs of a dual diagnosis include:
- Drinking alcohol or using drugs helps you to repress traumatic memories
- You use alcohol or drugs to deal with anxiety or depression, or even stress
- The thought of quitting alcohol or drugs brings up thoughts of self-harm
We Treat Both Addiction & Mental Health Disorders
At The Nestled Recovery Center, we don’t take a one-size-fits-all approach to treat addiction. Every patient is different and has different issues and needs – that’s why we offer customized treatment plans, including plans for individuals who are suffering from both addiction and mental disorders. Our clinical team believes that both addiction and mental disorders should be treated at the same time, and we treat each of our patients with care and patience as we help them process their trauma.
Though you may feel isolated in your pain, we’re here to remind you that you’re not alone. We’ve helped countless patients like yourself and will be by your side as you take your first steps toward a life of recovery and wellness.
The Nestled Recovery Center offers a wide range of treatment programs for patients in need, including a dual diagnosis program. Learn more about how we can treat your unique issues by calling us today at (702) 299-6406, or reach out via our online form.