Does Depression Cause Addiction?

Feeling blue or “down in the dumps” is a normal human emotion from time to time. Everyone has moments where they don’t feel happy or overwhelmingly upset about a particular situation or event. When this occurs, we usually refer to these emotions as feeling “depressed.” For many, these feelings are only temporary. Often, they will resolve within a short window of time after the event or situation resolves. Clinical depression, or simply depression, is different. The emotions you experience when you have depression are more than temporary feelings of sadness. Unfortunately, many who struggle with persistent and overwhelming depression often turn to drugs or alcohol to reduce the intensity of their symptoms. This can lead to something called a dual-diagnosis condition. When someone has a dual diagnosis or co-occurring disorder, it is best overcome by seeking help at a rehab like Rise in Malibu, where our treatment professionals understand the complex nature of dual diagnosis treatment.


What is Depression?

In the mental health community, depression is also referred to as major depressive disorder or clinical depression. These conditions are characterized by overwhelming symptoms of emptiness, sadness, or irritability that affect your ability to function in your day-to-day environment. Without treatment, these symptoms can become so overwhelming that they lead to a loss of function at work and home. For someone to meet the clinical diagnostic criteria for depression, these symptoms must last for a minimum of two weeks. Also, the symptoms you experience during depressive episodes must be different from your previous level of functioning.


How are Depression and Addiction Related?

Many wonder if addiction can cause depression or, conversely, can depression cause substance use disorders. Some research does indicate a direct link between substance abuse and depression. Each disease can increase the risk of developing the other. Additionally, struggling with the symptoms of one or the other can worsen both. Both conditions rank among the most prevalent mental health conditions and frequently co-occur.


There are various reasons why one may develop a co-occurring substance use disorder and depressive disorder. Some may be genetically susceptible to both conditions. Others may experience overwhelming depression symptoms for which they turn to drugs or alcohol to manage. It is not uncommon for someone who experiences depression symptoms to turn to substances to help reduce the intensity and severity of their symptoms. Unfortunately, this leads to reliance or dependency on them to help relieve symptoms and improve mood. Chronic self-medication through substances will eventually lead to an addiction.


An article in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) Psychiatry, Also points out that there may be a direct link between substance use disorders and the development of major depressive disorders in some individuals. A vast body of research has proven that many different substances can lead to depressive symptoms. Additionally, regular and ongoing substance abuse can worsen depressive symptoms in those who already experience depressive disorders or who may be vulnerable to the condition.


What is Dual Diagnosis Treatment?

Struggling with both alcohol addiction and depression means you experience symptoms of both conditions simultaneously. It can be challenging for treatment providers to address dual diagnosis conditions because the symptoms of each separate disorder are often significantly intertwined.


The first step in most dual diagnosis treatment programs is detox. During detox, you will safely and successfully wean off drugs or alcohol under the safety of medical supervision. Depending on the severity of your addiction, this process may take several days or several weeks. Throughout detox, a team of skilled medical professionals will monitor your physical and emotional health to ensure your safety and success. Once detox is complete, you will transition into the therapeutic portion of a treatment program.


Depending on your specific needs, you will participate in various therapies designed to help you learn more about the roots of your addiction and how to safely and effectively manage triggering situations after completing rehab. As you progress towards the end of your treatment, members of your therapeutic team will work with you on a comprehensive aftercare plan designed to ensure that you have the ongoing support and guidance you need in the earliest and often most challenging days of recovery.


Dual Diagnosis Treatment in Malibu, CA

If you or a loved one struggles with a dual diagnosis like depression and addiction, seeking dual diagnosis treatment at a skilled dual diagnosis treatment center is a key factor in your recovery. It is crucial to seek treatment that simultaneously addresses both conditions. Completing a treatment program that addresses the needs of only one illness increases your potential for relapse in symptoms and a return to using drugs or alcohol to cope. Not all treatment programs are designed to treat dual diagnosis conditions. Therefore, it is vital to find one like Rise in Malibu, where our team of skilled addiction and mental health treatment professionals will help you meet your treatment needs and goals. To learn more about our luxury Malibu treatment center and how we can help you on your journey to lasting recovery, contact our admissions team today.

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