The majority of individuals who develop substance abuse disorders will also be diagnosed with a mental health disorder, such as depression, anxiety or bipolar disorder, at one point during their lives. Studies show that one out of every four American adults with a mental health issue also struggles with addiction. Substance abuse and mental health go hand-in-hand. Depression is one of the mental health conditions that tends to co-occur with addiction. In many instances, depressive disorders will precede substance abuse, and the individual who is experiencing undiagnosed and untreated symptoms of depression will turn to drugs and alcohol as a means of self-medication. Some cases of depression are induced by drug and alcohol abuse. Because alcohol is a depressant, for example, prolonged and excessive use can alter brain chemistry permanently and lead to depression. It is important that both depressive disorders and addiction are treated simultaneously, seeing as the symptoms of one disorder will exacerbate and feed into the symptoms of the other, ultimately worsening the symptoms of both. This kind of comprehensive treatment occurs in a dual diagnosis treatment center – a facility that provides mental health services like psychiatry while simultaneously offering traditional addiction treatment services, such as therapeutic intervention and 12 step immersion.

It can be difficult to determine which came first – depression or addiction. Does depression cause addiction, or does excessive drug and alcohol use lead to addiction? In fact, both are possible. If you have been experiencing symptoms of depression and have been struggling with a substance abuse disorder, dual diagnosis treatment is likely going to be the most beneficial and effective option. At Princeton Detox and Recovery Center, we offer integrated dual diagnosis care for those who need it. For more information on our comprehensive program of recovery, give us a call today.

More On Depression

What is depression? This specific mental health disorder is characterized by uncontrollable and all-consuming feelings of melancholy, malaise, fatigue and general dissatisfaction. Those who are suffering from depression experience much more than occasional feelings of sadness or disappointment. They do not have the ability to “snap out of it” or “pick themselves up by their bootstraps.” There is a chemical imbalance present within their brains that makes living life – even completing menial tasks – unimaginably difficult. There are several different types of depression, the most common being major depression, dysthymia, atypical depression and seasonal affective disorder.

The symptoms of each type of depression are as follows:

  • Major Depression

Major depression is one of the most commonly experienced types of depression. A recent study showed that around 7% of the U.S. population struggles with major depression. The more common symptoms of major depression include lack of energy, fatigue, extreme and unexplainable sadness, changes in sleeping patterns, agitation and irritability. In most cases, these symptoms will come on suddenly and will last for two or more weeks. If major depression is left untreated by a psychiatric professional, the symptoms will continue to crop up suddenly and unexpectedly.

  • Dysthymia

Symptoms of dysthymia are more mild than symptoms of major depression, though they last for a significantly longer period of time. Those who experience this type of depression will feel gloomy and sad for at least a year. Typically, symptoms will last for over two years. Dysthymia is a chronic depressive disorder, and if it is not adequately treated then it can lead to a host of other issues such as major depression and substance abuse. Individuals who suffer from dysthymia may turn to drugs and alcohol as a means of self-medication, though it is important to realize that while symptoms might be temporarily reduced, they will only be exacerbated in the long-term.

  • Atypical Depression

Those who suffer from an atypical depressive disorder will feel symptoms of depression like sadness and fatigue, though these symptoms might be situationally compromised. Essentially, this means that mood can be changed and happiness can be felt if the individual hears good news or experiences something pleasant. This is unusual in the sense that where other depressive disorders are concerned, mood cannot easily be changed. During the periods of depression, those suffering from an atypical disorder are more likely to engage in suicidal thoughts and self-destructive behaviors because life may feel as if it is not worth living. During these low periods it isn’t uncommon for individuals to turn to chemical substances. However, substance abuse will only lead to long-term behavioral issues and even further emotional damage.

  • Seasonal Affective Disorder 

Seasonal depression is very common in “gloomy” regions; places that experience long stints of dark and stormy weather. This type of depression is more common in the wintertime and is directly related to levels of light. Some symptoms of Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) include changes to sleeping patterns, anxiety, changes in mood, and changes in weight often linked to overeating. In order for an individual to be diagnosed with SAD, he or she must exhibit the above-listed symptoms for three or more winters in a row. Substance abuse is a common result of untreated SAD.

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Substance Abuse and Depression

Because it may seem to those suffering from depression as if their problems will never resolve or they will never truly feel happy, they often turn to drugs and alcohol in order to alleviate symptoms and numb out negative feelings. Substances might work temporarily, thus psychological dependencies can develop rather quickly. Over time a physical dependency will begin to take hold until full-blown addiction develops. When it comes to treating substance abuse and depression, a dual diagnosis treatment center is definitely an ideal choice. Dual diagnosis facilities offer traditional addiction treatment combined with professional mental health care. Although addiction treatment varies on a person-to-person basis, the formula is generally somewhat the same. Patients will undergo a wide range of therapeutic modalities, all geared towards establishing pertinent life and relapse prevention skills and helping individuals maintain long-term sobriety. When it comes to depression, there are many potential treatment options depending on the type of depressive disorder and the individual needs of the patient.

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At Princeton Detox and Recovery Center, we have a team of licensed psychiatrists on staff who will conduct in-depth and ongoing evaluations, prescribing medications to treat depressive disorders whenever necessary. We utilize a comprehensive combination of treatment methods, and believe that medication can be an important part of overall recovery. Antidepressants were initially designed to help improve brain functioning and improve mood by altering brain chemistry. Medication is often an essential part of dual diagnosis treatment, and the medications we prescribe are always non-habit forming. Prescribed antidepressants may include atypical antidepressants, tricyclic antidepressants, selective serotonin uptake inhibitors (SSRIs) and monoamine oxidase inhibitors (MAOIs). Our main goal at Princeton Detox and Recovery Center is providing each and every client with the personalized and thorough care they both need and deserve. We understand the importance of treating all existing disorders simultaneously, therefore we conduct thorough assessments after each level of recovery. While symptoms of depression may be apparent right out of the gate, they can also crop up later in sobriety. Each experience with dual diagnosis treatment will be unique. For more information on our program of comprehensive care or to learn more about the link between depression and addiction, give us a call today. We look forward to speaking with you soon, and our admissions staff will do everything that can to pair you with a treatment program that is best suited to your individual needs.

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