Depression and Addiction

Throughout life, everyone has bad days and low moments. We all get into a “funk” or have times when we feel the blues. While this is a normal part of life and reaction to stress or traumatic events, depression is an entirely different thing.

According to the American Psychiatry Associaton, Depression is a common and serious medical illness that negatively affects how you feel, the way you think and how you act. The condition causes feelings of sadness and/or a loss of interest in activities once enjoyed. It can lead to a variety of emotional and physical problems and can decrease a person’s ability to function at work and at home.

Depression very often leads people down the path of addiction. This could be due to self-medicating pre-diagnosis or post-diagnosis, because depression can be a trigger of stress, or because someone has become addicted to their prescription medication for their condition. Whatever the case may be, it is very important to look out for the signs of both. It is also important to know that both conditions are treatable, and should be treated at the same time.

Understanding Depression

Depression is much more than just feelings of sadness. Its symptoms are often debilitating, leading people to isolate from loved ones, activities they once enjoyed, their jobs and more. Above all, it can lead to death. If you or someone you love is suffering from depression, it is important to get help as soon as possible before symptoms worsen. Symptoms of depression can vary from mild to severe and can include:

  • Loss of interest in enjoyable activities or daily routine
  • Changes in appetite (marked weight gain or loss)
  • Changes in sleeping patterns (insomnia, or not enough sleep)
  • Fatigue
  • Increase in involuntary or random movements, such as knuckle cracking or pacing
  • Slowed movements or slowed speech
  • Feelings of worthlessness, guilt and/or extreme sadness
  • Difficulty concentration
  • Difficulty making decisions
  • Thoughts of hopelessness and death or suicide

The Cycle of Depression and Addiction

According to the Journal of Clinical Psychiatry, one in three adults who struggle with alcohol or drug abuse also suffers from depression. This means that one in three adults turn to substances to help them numb their negative feelings. While drugs and alcohol provide a temporary euphoric feeling, it does not last long. When the euphoric high starts to come down, there are many side effects that come along. One of the many side effects is feelings of depression.

When the depression that comes from the side effects of using substances is coupled with the existing condition, it is essentially doubled down. The condition is now much worse than it was, to begin with, and the person will begin to use substances more and more to combat the depression. The more the person uses, the worse the depression gets. The worse the depression gets, the more addicted the person becomes. The only way to break the cycle of depression and addiction is to get treatment for both at the same time, so one does not exacerbate the other.

What Should I Treat First, Depression or My Addiction?

What Should I Treat First, Depression or My Addiction?

Dual Diagnosis Treatment

Addiction does not manifest on its own; it is the result of a root cause. The root cause of addiction can be many things such as trauma, a negative childhood environment or a mental health condition. Since addiction is the result of the depression, only treating the addiction will not completely help the issue. It will eventually grow again since the depression was not treated. This is why it is so important to receive treatment for both conditions at the same time, called dual diagnosis treatment, to ensure the best possible chances for long-term recovery.

Support is Key

In addition to receiving treatment for both depression and addiction, it is extremely important for people to have a strong support system. Having someone to talk to and relate to is extremely important, as is having someone to help you by paying attention to signs of relapse. Not all signs of relapse are totally obvious.

Signs of relapse include:

  • Changes in attitude
  • Increased stress
  • Denial
  • Behavior changes
  • Isolation
  • Loss of daily routine
  • Poor judgment
  • Irrational decisions and actions
  • Feelings of depression or anxiety

About Cliffside Malibu

Living with depression is difficult, and almost always leads to addiction or suicide if left untreated. The good news about depression and addiction is that they are both treatable conditions. If you suffer from both depression and addiction, it is necessary that you receive treatment from both at the same time. They go hand-in-hand, and long term recovery from both is possible.

Since no two addictions are the same, Cliffside Malibu offers an individualized treatment plan for each and every client. Treatment plans are created based on a client’s current stage of the Transtheoretical Model: Precontemplation, Contemplation, Preparation, Action, or Maintenance. This model helps ensure that all patients receive the best treatment path possible based on their own specific need. Moving our clients through this model to completion successfully is our goal each and every single day.

Cliffside Malibu’s policy is to ensure that all people who choose treatment with us receives the best care possible. We strive to provide a continuum of care including medically supervised detox, residential treatment, day treatment, and outpatient services. Our program includes not only evidence-based behavioral therapy but family therapy and holistic therapy, as well. Whether an individual is suffering from substance abuse and/or alcohol addiction, our programs are designed and structured to be a supportive environment in order to maintain sobriety.

In addition to world-class treatment, Cliffside Malibu offers luxury accommodations, a serene environment, five-star dining, and plentiful amenities. We understand that addiction treatment is a rigorous process. Therefore, we provide for your comfort and relaxation at every turn, allowing you to rejuvenate, to meet the demands of treatment with your greatest energy and attention.

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