When drug addiction and depression co-occurr alongside one another, they can create a vicious cycle. Both conditions easily feed off one another and breaking the cycle is not a simple task. Learning how to help someone with drug addiction and depression involves a number of things, including educating yourself on treatment and rehabilitation. At quality treatment centers that focus on providing care for individuals with these two conditions occurring simultaneously (known as a dual diagnosis), addiction specialists recognize the combination of symptoms and can proceed with the appropriate care. Some care approaches include, but are not limited to, the following:
Most common care approaches include the implementation of behavioral therapies, such as cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) or dialectical behavioral therapy (DBT). Additionally, holistic treatments such as mindfulness training and yoga can be implemented, as can one-on-one individual therapy sessions. 12-Step facilitation and group counseling can bolster one’s peer support and relapse prevention, and more specialized care such as trauma treatment can be applied if indicated.
As much as you may want your loved one to get help as quickly as possible, it is also just as important to ensure that you have a level of understanding regarding drug addiction and depression so that your efforts can be effective.
What is Drug Addiction?
According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), drug addiction is defined as a “chronic, relapsing disease of the brain, characterized by compulsive drug seeking and use despite adverse consequences.” Arguably the most important word in that definition is “disease”, as it highlights that addiction is not a choice, despite what stigma may indicate. Someone who experiences drug addiction often begins experimenting with mind-altering substances but may eventually find themselves using regularly. As the use continues, tolerance develops. Tolerance refers to the need to continually increase the amount of drugs being abused at a time in order to achieve the desired effects. As tolerance strengthens, dependence can form, meaning that the individual cannot go without using the substances without experiencing painful mental and physical withdrawal symptoms. In short, drug addiction is a dangerous, deadly cycle that is perpetuated as time and use goes on.
Some of the most common symptoms of drug addiction include the following:
- Continuing to abuse drugs despite attempts to stop and/or wanting to stop
- Continuing to abuse drugs even though use knowingly causes negative consequences
- Experiencing withdrawal symptoms when unable to use
- Spending an excessive amount of time thinking about, using, or recovering from drug abuse
- Developing a lost in interest in previously enjoyed hobbies or activities
- Socially isolating from friends, family, or loved ones
One of the most overlooked symptoms of drug addiction is the development of symptoms associated with mood disorders, particularly depression.
What is Depression?
Depression is a mood disorder and occurs when a person experiences a pervasively and regular depressed mood, as well as loss of interest in activities to the point where their daily lives are negatively affected.
Having depression is not the same as feeling sad, blue, or generally out of sorts. People with depression present with more persistent symptoms that cannot be alleviated by simple things, such as going out with friends for a night, going shopping, or doing anything else that would otherwise cheer someone up. According to the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-V), some symptoms of depression include, but are not limited to, the following:
- Depressed mood or irritability
- Fatigue and/or loss of energy
- Feelings of worthlessness and guilt
- Recurrent thoughts of death
- Significant weight loss or gain
- Diminished interest or pleasure in most or all activities
The symptoms of depression can be extremely painful to experience, nevermind if a drug addiction is happening at the same time. This is more common than one might think, as drug addiction and depression often occur simultaneously.
How Are Drug Addiction and Depression Linked?
Drug addiction and depression are more commonly linked than most may realize. Individuals may either start off with a drug addiction and develop depression as a result or vice versa. Either way, the two conditions play off one another in the worst of ways, especially if treatment is not obtained.
Both drug addiction and depression can cause an individual to stop eating well, not get enough sleep, and ignore the need for exercise. They can also cause someone to become isolated from those around them and have difficulty upholding their responsibilities at home, school, or work. When someone is abusing drugs and is addicted to them, the substances they are abusing can alter the healthy function of the brain, leading to the development of symptoms of depression such as loss of energy and thoughts of death. On the other hand, someone who is battling depression can easily find themselves more likely to want to abuse drugs as a means of numbing the symptoms their depression is causing. For many people, it can take a professional’s help to begin putting the pieces together to determine which condition is the primary condition.
Is Your Loved One Dealing with Drug Addiction and Depression?
If your loved one is experiencing drug addiction and depression, chances are you are all-too-familiar with the challenges that accompany this type of dual diagnosis. As a loved one, you may put your needs last in an effort to do whatever you can to help the individual in need. You may even make several compromises that you would have never imagined just so that you do not see them suffer the ultimate repercussion.
It is certainly not easy to watch someone you love battle this type of dual diagnosis. It is important to know that you should not attempt to go at this alone. There are several resources available to you so that you can have support at this time (including local support groups that hold regular meetings in your area).
If you know that the time has come for your loved one to enter into rehab, you may feel nervous and overwhelmed. The best thing you can do is reach out for some professional help and guidance, such as that offered at Pearl of the Sea Retreat in St. Augustine, FL.
Drug Addiction and Depression Treatment in St. Augustine, FL
It can be challenging to get a conversation about drug addiction and depression started, however it is absolutely vital. Consider contacting our team of specialists at Pearl of the Sea Retreat to learn more about us and our programming. We can help you develop an effective way to help someone you love with drug addiction and depression seek help. Also, we’ll offer you ways of beginning the conversation that won’t lead to conflict. Similarly, we can guide you toward having a non-confrontational discussion on this sensitive topic.
Do not wait. Call Pearl of the Sea Retreat today to learn more.