Depression and Alcohol Treatment
Co-occurring disorders like depression and addiction will feed each other until people are completely consumed by one or the other. The most effective path to freedom from both depression and alcoholism is to find a program that can integrate all aspects of addiction recovery into one, holistic treatment plan.
How Alcoholism and Depression Interact
Excessive consumption of alcohol leads to increased levels of dopamine in the brain. This brings on the well-known euphoric “high” of drunkenness. The euphoria works in the same part of the brain that manages emotions, anxiety, impulse control and general psychological wellness. Depression is often the result of imbalances in the naturally occurring chemicals that regulate emotions. A person who lacks certain normal substances in her brain will not be able to feel happy, optimistic or well. Alcohol can, in effect, block the symptoms of depression.
As such it is often used, unconsciously, as a sort of self-medication for depression. The psychological relief alcohol offers for anxiety and depression is significant enough that the brain will crave it desperately. It will use every psychological tool to keep the user drinking. Often these emotional urges to drink exist on a much deeper and more powerful level than any rational decision the person may make to stop drinking.
How Alcoholism Recovery Works
In order to get clean from alcoholism, an individual must first detox. This process takes several days and can be extremely challenging. Detox is best handled with medical supervision, as some detox experiences can actually be lethal if not treated carefully. Individuals who suffer from depression require special attention during this process as they can become suicidal in the process.
Once the body has removed the toxins from its system it is time to start the process of rehab, which is for the mind. This is a sensitive and crucial part of recovery that is best handled with close supervision. Some programs try to separate depression from the alcoholism. This is not usually the right approach. All aspects of the disease (the physical dependency, psychological dependency and any co-occurring psychological disorders like depression) must be thoroughly identified and treated as part of an integrated plan. Many of the most successful recovery facilities use an approach called Dual Diagnosis Treatment to address issues like depression as a part of the patient’s overall journey to health and recovery.
Get the Integrated Help You Need before It Is Too Late
While the alcohol will seemingly treat the depression for a time, it doesn’t work for long. The body develops a tolerance to alcohol, meaning it takes more and more to achieve the desired effects. In time the user is left with a physical and psychological need for alcohol even as the euphoria it once offered fades away. This can be an especially dangerous time for the depressed alcoholic as, normally, many other important aspects of their life are also falling apart. Relationships, career, hobbies and passions all take a distant back-seat to drinking. Suicidal thoughts and actions are a real risk, as is accidental or intentional overdose.
Find Depression and Alcohol Treatment
If you or some you care about is struggling with alcoholism and depression we can help. Call our 24 hour toll-free helpline and let one of our specially trained addiction counselors explore your path to recovery with you. We can answer any questions you may have about treatment and help you find the best specialized program for your unique needs. Don’t waste another day caught in the dark cave of alcoholism and depression. Call today.