When you have a drug addiction in addition to depression, it’s often important to seek substance abuse treatment before you can really tackle your depression. The two problems tend to feed off one another, making your recovery a challenge. There are therapists and treatment centers that specialize in helping you with both substance abuse treatment and depression treatment. While you want to take a holistic approach to your treatment as well as your mental and physical health – it’s critical to stop your drug abuse or addiction problems before you can heal from chronic depression or intense depressive episodes.
Drug Addiction and Depression
Substance abuse treatment is connected to depression treatment because depression is the most common condition that addicts often experience. People who suffer from drug addiction and other dependencies often feel bad about themselves. These feelings of helplessness and hopelessness easily lead to depression.
There’s also a brain chemistry connection. Depressed brains function differently than non-depressed brains. When you add additive behaviors and patterns as well as the actual drugs and substances that are consumed, the human brain changes, and certain messages and functions are interrupted. This is why substance abuse is so important in depressed patients: it’s a physical illness as well as a mental one.
Another link between substance abuse and depression is suicide. According to statistics, suicide attempts are six times more likely among addicts than people who do not have substance abuse problems. People who suffer from depression are also more likely to attempt or commit suicide. Therefore, someone who struggles with both depression and substance abuse has an even greater risk of contemplating suicide, planning for suicide or ultimately doing it. The risk of taking your own life is severe, and an excellent reason to seek immediate substance abuse treatment.
Seeking Substance Abuse Treatment First
For many people, fighting depression is an ongoing battle. Whether you were diagnosed early in your life or just recently, it’s something that you have to manage. Sometimes you can do it easily and other times there are triggers or events that make your depression suddenly worse, and managing the illness becomes more complicated. If you have an addiction as well as depression, seeking substance abuse treatment first is often imperative. This does not mean that our depression treatment is less important. It simply means that in order to successfully care for your depression, you need to break your addiction to drugs. It’s an essential first step.
Over 20 million people in America alone are addicted to drugs or alcohol, and they need substance abuse treatment. However, only about 2.5 million people actually make an effort to get that help. Often, there’s a tendency to deny that an addiction exists, or people are simply too embarrassed to ashamed to ask for help. There are a number of resources available to people who need substance abuse treatment. You can start with your doctor or your therapist. Be honest about any drugs or alcohol you take to try and deal with your depression. Talk about substance abuse treatment so you can manage your behavioral health as well as your mental health.
One of the dangers in juggling substance abuse with depression is that many people who are being treated for depression are often prescribed anti-depressant medication. If you are not undergoing substance abuse treatment but you have a problem with drugs, those anti-depressants are potentially a problem for you. Some people have the inclination to get addicted to the anti-depressants. You might start abusing these pills and doing whatever you can to access more of them.
Abusing your depression medication will damage your treatment plan. With the numbers of people taking prescription drugs climbing, it’s easy to fall into this trap. Most people who do abuse their anti-depressants are those who are also needing substance abuse treatment for other addictions. The results can be alarming. If you misuse or over-use your prescribed depression medication, you could suffer from seizures, confusion and psychotic behavior symptoms. Be careful with the medications that your doctor prescribes for depression. If you are a recovering addict, make sure you talk about this with your therapist or doctor before you decide to take any medications. Substance abuse treatment has to be your primary source of getting well – especially if you are on depression meds.
Seeking substance abuse treatment when you’re depressed can feel like a challenge. You might believe that you enjoy the way drugs make you feel, and if you’re depressed, you might prefer the state you’re in when taking drugs to the state you’re in when you’re completely sober. However, to recover fully from either problem, you have to approach them together. Get yourself free from your addiction so you can concentrate fully on managing your depression.