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The Link Between Depression and Addiction

The relationship between depression and addiction can be a vicious cycle. This is because people with depression are more likely to abuse substances to self-medicate, while in turn substance abuse increases a person’s risk of developing depression.

As co-occurring disorders, depression and addiction afflict many people. Studies have shown that nearly a third of people with a mood disorder like depression also have a co-occurring substance use disorder. Depression and addiction can be challenging to treat together, which is why a dual diagnosis is important in informing an effective treatment plan.

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What Is Depression?

Depression, also known as major depressive disorder, is a type of mental health disorder that causes a person to experience a lasting feeling of sadness and a decreased interest in daily life. Depression can make it difficult for people to complete ordinary daily activities and participate in healthy relationships and can also impact physical health. Symptoms of depression can include:

    • Decreased energy.
    • A feeling of helplessness.
    • Extreme sadness.
    • Anxiety.
    • Difficulty focusing.
    • Irritability and anger.
    • Changes in appetite, sleeping habits, and sexual activities.
    • Body aches and pains.
    • Thoughts of suicide or self-harm.

Treatment options for depression often include medication and psychotherapy, which can help alleviate the disorder’s symptoms. You may also see another mental health professional, including a psychologist or psychiatrist.

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Addiction and Depression

Because both disorders can feed off one another, an awareness of the person’s underlying mental health issues is critical if a patient is to truly overcome addiction.

Addiction is commonly connected to depression because people with depression may choose to self-medicate to alleviate the feelings of sadness or detachment. With time, this substance use can become a disorder. Addiction can also lead to depression, and disorders such as alcoholism are commonly linked to mental health disorders.

But what is addiction? Essentially, addiction is a chronic disorder in which a person compulsively seeks out a substance or activity, despite the fact it is harming them. Addiction is most often associated with substance use disorders such as alcohol or drug abuse. But other unhealthy and harmful behaviors are also classified as addictions and can require treatment if the individual is to recover. Some common types of addiction are:

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How to Treat Substance Abuse and Addiction

Treating substance abuse and addiction involves three major steps: (1) stopping the use of the substance, (2) staying substance-free, and (3) finding a way to be productive in everyday life without the help of the substance.

Behavioral therapies and counseling are some of the most often employed methods of treatment. Because substance abuse and addiction can often go together with a co-occurring mental health disorder, personalized treatment that addresses other mental health disorders is important.

At Beachway Therapy Center, our dual diagnosis approach to treatment includes personalized addiction treatment for many different substances, including alcohol, cocaine, amphetamines and meth, and more. As part of a dual diagnosis, you’ll also receive personalized mental health and depression treatment.

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Learn More About Dual Diagnosis at Beachway

Because substance abuse can increase the risk of depression, while depression itself can cause people to self-medicate and begin abusing substances, the link between depression and addictions is real and serious, often described as a vicious cycle.

When a person is dealing with co-occurring diagnoses like depression and addiction, a treatment plan designed specifically with dual diagnosis in mind can be a powerful tool in setting them on the path to recovery. At Beachway Therapy Center, we provide outstanding personalized care to patients suffering from co-occurring mental health disorders. If you or a loved one are interested in learning more about treatment, contact us today.