Benefits of Addressing Depression and Addiction Problems Early
Depression is a medical illness characterized by a chronic feeling of sadness and apathy. It can range in severity from mild, occasional periods to more severe episodes that are longer lasting. Clinical depression, also known as “major depression” or “major depressive disorder,” includes the following symptoms:
- Depressed mood most of the day for most days
- Loss of interest in activities once enjoyed
- Weight loss or gain
- Insomnia or excessive sleep
- Slowed thinking and movement that is noticeable to others
- Fatigue nearly every day
- Feelings of worthlessness and guilt
- Distractibility and indecisiveness
- Suicidal thoughts
Depression and addiction often co-occur. Male addicts have a rate of depression three times higher than the general public, whereas female addicts exhibit a rate that is four times higher than the normal population. One explanation for this connection could be that people with depression self-medicate with drugs and alcohol to numb emotional pain. A different explanation could be that risky behaviors linked to addiction create negative consequences that generate depression.
Early management of depression leads to the best treatment outcomes. In order to detect the disorder, individuals must recognize common symptoms and be aware of situations that could raise risks. Several life stressors that heighten vulnerability to depression include the following:
- Entering high school and college
- Becoming a mother
- Being unemployed
- Losing a spouse
- Getting fired
When an individual suffers from both depression and addiction, early intervention is even more critical. That is because the co-occurring disorders feed each other; as depression deepens, an addiction to drugs or alcohol is likely to worsen as well.
Recovery requires Dual Diagnosis treatment that addresses both conditions at the same time. Several common approaches include the following:
- Counseling to identify emotional and mental issues behind the addiction
- Ongoing therapy to boost coping skills and prevent relapse
- Support group attendance
- Cognitive behavioral therapy
- Spiritual guidance
Contrary to the popular belief that individuals must “hit bottom” before they get sober, people who seek assistance quickly–before physical and psychological dependence become too severe—benefit from improved chances of recovering and preventing relapse. It is never too early to ask for help.
Recovery from Depression and Addiction
If you or someone you love struggles with depression and addiction, you are not alone. Recovery counselors at our toll-free, 24-hour support line can guide you to wellness. You never have to go back to a life of addiction. Please call. Start your recovery today.