Depression, Dementia and Addiction
Depression and dementia share many symptoms, and both conditions encourage patients to self-medicate their symptoms with drug or alcohol abuse. On the other hand, substance abuse can also cause depression and hasten the effects of dementia. Understanding the relationship between these three conditions is a critical aspect of treating them, so seek professional help that will teach you to overcome your unique struggles.
Shared Symptoms of Depression and Dementia
The following symptoms are all common in both dementia and depression:
- Challenges related to memory, concentration or decision making
- Loss of interest in previously important activities, hobbies or relationships
- Marked changes in appetite—eating too much or too little
- Persistent irritability, anger, sadness or emotional numbness
- Changed sleep patterns—either getting too much or not enough
- Self-esteem deficiencies or feelings of worthlessness
- Pain that has no apparent cause
- Thoughts of suicide
One of the easiest ways to differentiate between dementia and depression is to medicate the patient with anti-depressants. These medications can benefit depressed people, and they often show results in a short amount of time. Dementia, however, cannot be relieved medically, so patients can easily determine if they have one condition or the other based on how they respond to the medication. On the other hand, many elderly people suffer from both dementia and depression at the same time. In some cases the symptoms of dementia can cause depression, and vice versa. If you or a loved one struggles with these difficult problems, then seek professional help as soon as possible to begin recovery.
Addiction as a Result of Treating Dementia or Depression
Many depressed people self-medicate their uncomfortable symptoms with drug or alcohol abuse. Elderly patients with dementia may face pain or anxiety they treat with addictive medications such as narcotic painkillers, benzodiazepines or sedatives. The problem is that having an underlying condition such as dementia or depression greatly increases the likelihood of addiction; even as little as two drinks per day can become a problem for people with these issues. Also, dementia often means patients cannot remember if they have taken their medication yet. This means that overdose of medication or alcohol can happen accidentally. To prevent these dangerous problems, seek professional help as soon as possible, because someone’s life may be at stake.
Help for Depressed Addicts with Dementia
If you struggle with dementia, depression and addiction, then call our toll-free helpline now. Our admissions coordinators can answer your questions and connect you with the help you need. Aging can be extremely difficult, but you need not surrender to depression and addiction. Reclaim your life from addiction, depression and dementia by seeking professional help right now.