Depression and Addiction: Treating a Dual Diagnosis

10 AA Sayings That Will Inspire You in RecoveryDepression and addiction are common comorbid conditions. According to the National Institute of Mental Health’s Epidemiological Catchment Area study, among individuals with lifetime major depression, 16.5% had an alcohol use disorder and 18% had a drug use disorder. Both problem drinking and drug abuse are more common in depressed individuals than in the general population. Substance abuse can worsen the course of depression, increasing the risks of outcomes such as substance addiction, hospitalization, suicide attempts, and overdose. The National Institute of Mental Health reports that major depressive disorder affects almost 7% of American adults (almost 15 million). Treatment for these co-occurring disorders must target both conditions in order for the individual to achieve lasting recovery.

Recognizing Depression

How can you distinguish between clinical depression and the typical downs we experience on a daily basis? With clinical depression, the severity of these moods is more pronounced and persistent. In order to meet the clinical diagnostic criteria for major depressive disorder, an individual must experience at least five symptoms of depression for two or more weeks. These symptoms include:

  • A predominantly low mood the majority of the time
  • Physical exhaustion
  • A lack of interest in favorite activities
  • Unwanted weight loss/weight gain
  • Sleeping too much or too little
  • Failure to focus on important tasks
  • Feelings of guilt, worthlessness, or hopelessness
  • Thoughts of death or suicide

If you or a loved one have experienced these symptoms for more than two weeks, you may be suffering from depression. Recognizing that you are depressed is the pivotal first step towards getting better.

Dual Diagnosis

Substance abuse is common among people struggling with a depressive disorder. If you struggle with depression and addiction, you have what is called a dual diagnosis. A dual diagnosis can be made up of any combination of a mental disorder and addiction. Diagnoses that include a depressive disorder are among the most common forms of dual diagnosis. According to the Journal of Clinical Psychiatry, one in three adults who struggle with alcohol or drug abuse also suffer from depression. Dual diagnoses can be tricky to treat because each disorder can intensify the symptoms of the other. Fortunately, help is available and recovery from a dual diagnosis is possible.

If you are struggling with a dual diagnosis, it is important to seek help from a program that provides a specialized dual diagnosis track. Seeking treatment from a dual diagnosis program can help you avoid the negative effects of substance abuse and depression, helping you to lead a healthy, happy life you deserve.

Recreate Life Counseling Services

At Recreate, we offer specialized dual diagnosis treatment. Our dual diagnosis program addresses both problems simultaneously because we recognize that these two forms of treatment must be integrated for a healthy recovery. Our experienced counselors provide education on the disorders and emphasize the importance of prioritizing both conditions. Recreate is a licensed provider of intensive outpatient programs in sunny South Florida. We are dedicated to providing individualized treatment plans to help our clients recreate their lives in recovery.