Dealing with depression while recovering from substance abuse throws a wrench into the mix. Some addicts may have untreated depression that preceded the drug addiction. Others may have developed depression as a symptom of the abuse. Regardless of which order the depression came in, it’s vital that effective treatment is given to both conditions.
Is it Depression…or Just the Blues?
Depression is more than feeling down. It is a serious medical condition that has both physical and emotional symptoms. Depression can impact all aspects of a person’s life, making it difficult to function normally. Some days are harder than others, as the severity of symptoms vary. Still, many people dealing with depression find it hard to get through their days.
Clinical depression requires a medical diagnosis from a qualified medical professional. But, there are a few things you can take note of.
Negative thinking. With depression, people do not think positively toward the future. They may be pessimistic and have difficulty concentrating.
Negative feelings. Struggling with depression makes it hard for people to enjoy life. Even things that were once enjoyable are found to be burdensome.
Negative behavior. Depressed individuals usually isolate themselves from others and doesn’t have much energy to be active. When a person has negative thoughts and feelings, their behavior follows suit.
Health Problems. It’s common for depressed individuals to have physical problems such as a decreased immune system and a lack of personal hygiene.
Treating Depression and Addiction
There is a connection between addiction and depression. Even Bill Wilson, cofounder of Alcoholics Anonymous, struggled with depression before he became sober. Fortunately, there are many effective ways to treat depression and substance abuse. However, just because a person stops using drugs and alcohol does not mean the depression goes away.
The reason why it’s so important to treat depression as well as substance abuse is twofold. First, if the depression isn’t treated, the risk of relapse is much higher. A person might complete a treatment program and be ready to commit to a life of sobriety. Unfortunately, if they combat feelings of depression, it will be hard for them to resist the temptation of drugs and alcohol.
Second, untreated depression can make the recovery process less rewarding. Recovery is hard enough on its own, and it’s important that addicts feel the positives along the way. If a person doesn’t get any enjoyment from recovery, they will be more likely to relapse.
Depression? Addiction? Call The River Source
The best time to get diagnosed and treated for depression is when entering an inpatient treatment facility. You or your loved one will be properly assessed, and an individualized treatment plan will be provided based on your needs and goals. To learn more about getting help for a dual diagnosis, call The River Source.