Managing Depression and Substance Abuse Simultaneously

Depression and substance abuse can often go hand in hand. Up to one-third of people struggling with depression also struggle with substance abuse. This is because the chemical intoxicants are often used to soothe the cases of self-loathing or hopelessness. So, it is not uncommon to seek help to battle both illnesses simultaneously. 

The Relationship Between Depression and Substance Abuse

When diagnosing multiple disorders – it is known as a dual diagnosis. Depression and addiction have quite a lot of similarities in their common roots. These can include family history, past trauma, and imbalances in the brain chemistry. 

A recent study of 43,093 Americans who were 18 years and older, found that in those that were suffering from substance abuse, over 20% of them met the criteria for major depressive disorder. Another survey showed that those seeking abuse help were likely to have some type of mood disorder and 40% more likely than the general population. 

Whether looking for yourself or someone you care about, we’re breaking down the steps to take to work through the feelings and healing process. It’s important to remember that in the case of others, these feelings of dual diagnosis often come with feelings of being alone, isolated, and seeing no hope in the future. Be sure to navigate this conversation carefully and thoughtfully. For more help on approaching recovery, visit Hollywood Hills Recovery

1. Open Conversations

Firstly, you need to be upfront and honest about the issue, or issues, at hand. Telling someone to be cheery up, get over it, or it’ll all be okay is never the answer. If they could simply cheer up, then they wouldn’t be in this situation in the first place. 

Try to be as empathetic as you can be, and look at it from not your perspective, but theirs. These are not lifestyle choices. They are illnesses. Remember to remain non-judgemental as this affects their entire life and not by choice. 

2. Obtain Resources and Support

One symptom of depression is low motivation levels. Be prepared to offer solutions. Being someone to lean on and listen to is crucial, but when the time comes for someone to seek help, it may be hard for them to do so on their own. Have therapists, doctors, help lines, and anything else specific to your case or a loved one ready to go. 

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3. Dual Treatment Centers

Major depression is one of the hardest mental illnesses to battle. Seek professional, licensed help. You will undergo a special psychiatric assessment because abuse and depression can imitate the other symptoms of withdrawal and chemical intoxication. There are specific treatment centers for co-occurring disorders that may benefit you. States where this can be found, include New Jersey, Texas, Rhode Island, Florida, Nevada, California, Mississippi,  and Massachusetts. 

4. Medication Options

There are common drugs that may be prescribed, such as Fluoxetine (generic for Prozac), Citalopram (generic for Celxa), and Sertraline (generic for Zoloft). These drugs give you an increased level of serotonin and are used to correct the chemical imbalances in the brain. This newer age of medications has much lesser side effects than those used years ago and is considered the frontline for depression treatment. 

5. Cognitive Behavioral Therapy

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy may be another great option. This type of therapy seeks to extinguish the self-loathing, low-worth talk, replacing them with more positive self messages. Also, CBT seeks to find a more effective approach to the triggers in your life rather than turning to substance abuse. This treatment goes along with the approach of Motivational Interviewing, in which you collaborate with a therapist to give you an internal sense of motivation. 

6. Trauma and Family Therapy

A different type of therapy to try is trauma therapy. If you know the root of your illness area type of trauma, this may be best suited for you. This will help repricess the way you view your past traumatic experiences, move through the emotional pain, and learn to move forward in a more positive manner. 

You can also try family therapy. There is no better support system than those you love and are loved by, but sometimes they can also be the root of your problems. This therapy method aims to help heal the entire family unit as a whole. Some goals of the family may include setting realistic boundaries, educating those around you on your disorder, improving communication skills from within, and establishing a safe environment for you to be in. 

Conclusion

No matter the path you take, getting started is always the hardest part. Remember that the two disorders coincide and should be treated simultaneously for an absolute result. Seek professional help, lean on those around you, and know that you are capable of getting through it! 

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