A Better Today

Depression &
Substance Abuse

How Does Substance Abuse Effect Someone Struggling with Depression?

Depression is the leading cause of disability worldwide. Its common occurrence has softened society’s perspective of this mental health problem. However, depression should never be taken lightly. Depression is one of the top causes of death in the United States. According to the Center for Disease Control, nearly 43,000 people died from suicide in 2014.

A Better Today understands there is a clear and definitive link between depression and substance abuse. Our master level therapists know the negative impact depression has on finding treatment and maintaining sobriety. An estimated one-third of people with major depression abuse substances like cocaine, heroin and marijuana to cope with depression symptoms.

The causal relationship is not hard to imagine and when you enroll in an individualized treatment plan with ABT, we look for severe or major depression symptoms as a co-occurring disorder. People suffering from depression often abuse substances to alleviate their discomfort, a behavior sometimes described as self-medicating.
Unfortunately, substance abuse worsens depression symptoms overtime causing a dependency for the drugs or alcohol being used. People who self-medicate to relieve their symptoms unknowingly enter into a vicious cycle of depression and substance abuse. The more substances he or she uses, the worse the depression symptoms may get. This cycle is ultimately fatal for far too many people, whether due to overdose or suicide.

That is why A Better Today’s staff takes depression very seriously when properly crafting individualized treatment plans. We understand how easy it is to develop an addiction when people abuse drugs and alcohol to alleviate emotional or psychological disturbances. Once a person has become addicted to a substance, there is no going back. The addiction and the depression must simultaneously be treated. ABT’s Approach to substance abuse focuses on healing the person as a whole, that means addressing co-occurring disorders like depression or bipolar disorder.

A Better Today’s master level therapists take depression seriously when it comes to creating treatment plans. We treat the person and not just the addiction.

Types of Depression that Influence Drug and Alcohol Abuse

The word depressed is often used culturally to describe just about any bad mood. Depression as a mental illness is different, however, from a case of the blues. A bad day or week may come with upsetting emotions, but may not indicate true depression.

Depression has several subcategories or types associated with the disease. The six most common types are major depressive disorder, persistent depression, bipolar depression, postpartum depression, seasonal depression and psychotic depression. Bipolar disorder has recently been reclassified in the DSM, however many people still associate it with depression.

Major Depressive Disorder, MDD, means having a depressed or low mood for a minimum of two weeks. Additionally, four or more other symptoms associated with MDD, including thoughts of suicide, low energy, problems sleeping and more.

Persistent Depression, or Dysthymia, is a low mood that lasts for two or more years. Postpartum Depression occurs in the mother after child birth and can prove fatal to mother, child or both.

Seasonal Depression, or Seasonal Affective Disorder, which is most commonly associated with the winter months and is caused by the temperature and light changes that occur from one season to the next.

Psychotic Depression is characterized by a temporary break from reality and the emergence of hallucinations.

Underlying Causes of Depression and Why Self-medicating with Alcohol & Drugs Makes it Worse.

A Better Today knows that the symptoms of depression encourage a dangerous level of drug and alcohol abuse and the underlying causes of depression can also translate into unhealthy behaviors and habits to cope with what is going on.

Depression is thought to be caused by variety of factors that are both environmental and genetic. Some studies show that there are differences in the structure of the brain in people with major mood disorders. This suggest that there is a physical cause in the structure of some people’s brain that translates into depression. The chemistry of the brain also contributes to depression. An imbalance in neurochemicals, known as neurotransmitters, can cause drastic changes in mood and perception.

Genetics present another major link to depression. People with a close relative who has major depression are 20-30% more likely to struggle with the disease themselves.
Situational factors can also cause major depression. Such events as the death of a loved one, divorce, changes in household and other significant changes can trigger a prolonged period of depressed mood and the development of depression. In these cases, the duration of the depression is often temporary.

Another potential root cause of depression is one’s environment and experiences in childhood. The probability of developing depression increases if a person experienced any sort of abuse during childhood. Additionally, an unstable or chaotic home environment can also lead to the symptoms of depression.

As you can see, depression is complex and should not be taken lightly. When you have a growing substance abuse problem adding to the struggle to feel normal, treating both the depression and addiction is needed and not just optional. Trust in ABT to properly diagnosis any co-occurring disorders and treat you with the level of care you need.

Find a Treatment Center that Treats Depression & Substance Abuse Disorders

Searching for a drug & alcohol treatment center that addresses co-occurring disorders like major depression?

Mood disorders like major depression can be the reason people self-medicate with drugs and alcohol. This behavior causes a dependency to manifest to an unhealthy level of addiction.

The Stigma Associated with Depression & Why You Should Seek Proper Treatment.

Mental health problems come with unnecessary stigma. The origin of this criticism is often rooted in past generations when such psychological issues were not well understood. It was not all that long ago that people mistook mental illness for manifestations of religion.

The tragedy of stigmatizing depression and other mental health issues is that it causes sufferers to avoid getting the help they need. If you struggle with depression symptoms, remember that this does not define you.

Whether you have always had a low mood or this is a new period of your life, consider that depression is like any physical disease and requires treatment to improve. Few people have a problem treating a thyroid problem or a sinus infection. Depression is just as much out of the control of the individual and is no one’s fault.

Depression symptoms can devastate one’s life if it continues untreated. Symptoms of depression include low energy level, depressed mood, difficulty concentrating, memory problems, persistent thoughts of suicide and death, weight change, loss of interest or pleasure in normal activities, feelings of worthlessness and self-hatred, sleep problems, physical fatigue, and suicide ideation or attempts.

These symptoms can worsen over time. Some symptoms cause the gradual, or rapid, increase in depression. Having low energy can lead to sleeping more than normal, which can increase fatigue, which, turn can worsen a low mood. Depression symptoms can create a vicious cycle that perpetuate and worsen the situation.

If you are struggling with depression, get help immediately. Depression is one of the most common disorders in the world. There is no shame in experiencing depression. It is a disease and must be treated.

The Importance of Treating Co-occurring Disorders & Substance Abuse Disorders

Substance abuse and other mental health disorders often go hand in hand. It is not difficult to understand why people who experience such symptoms as those caused by depression might try to self-medicate to alleviate suffering.

Substance abuse and depression often forms a cyclical problem, where you address one problem, with no success. Treating the depression is a start, however, if the substance abuse is left unaddressed, both the depression and substance abuse will remain. The same is true if only the substance abuse is treated.

Substance abuse plays with the delicate systems of the brain and can cause depression symptoms. Even though the substance may alleviate the depression in the short term, once the effects have worn off, the result can be a substantial worsening of depression. Therefore, if the depression is treated but the substance abuse continues, the depression will not cease until the substance abuse is treated as well.

Similarly, depression must be treated for the substance abuse to cease. If the substance abuse is treated, but not the depression, then one of the major underlying issues causing the substance abuse is left unchanged. One might stay sober for a period, but most likely will return to abusing substances due to the depression.

For a person to fully recover, both the substance abuse and the depression must be addressed simultaneously.

Effective Treatment Begins with Treating Both Depression & Substance Abuse

Don’t settle for treatment that only addresses your addiction. There is better treatment out there for you.

Let ABT help you find a drug & alcohol treatment center that will focus on healing you and not just your substance abuse addiction.

Need more info on treatment programs that address depression? Do you have questions about therapist qualification?

There is No Need to Suffer with Major Depression Alone

Depression may be common but it is also deadly. At any given time, approximately 8% of the United States population is suffering from depression. Additionally, an average of 8 million people are treated for depression every year, according to the CDC.

If you are suffering from depression, substance abuse, or both, get help immediately. Either disease can be overwhelming and devastating, and the effects will keep getting worse without intervention.

Do not wait to feel better when you can get started today. Find a treatment center that addressed co-occurring disorders and provides personalized treatment plans.

At A Better Today, we treat the whole person and identify such co-occurring disorders as depression and substance abuse in our initial assessment. We work with each individual on a daily basis to assess progress and identify ways to better serve our clients.
It is never too late to get the better life that you deserve. Give us a call and get started living today!

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