How to Help Someone With Drug Addiction and Depression

Many people who struggle with substance use disorders and addiction also develop other mental illnesses. The reverse also occurs. One can have a diagnosed mental illness that, without proper treatment, can lead to developing a drug addiction. Statistics show as many as half of those who experience a mental health illness such as depression will also experience a substance use disorder and vice versa. 

Can Substance Abuse Cause Depression?

Co-occurring disorders such as substance abuse and mental health conditions (including depression and anxiety) are closely connected. Although, there is little evidence to clarify whether or not one indeed causes the other. Abusing drugs such as marijuana, methamphetamines, or prescription painkillers can cause prolonged psychotic reactions. 

Upon trying to withdraw or reducing the amount of substance one takes, some of the most common withdrawal symptoms can include depression and other anxiety symptoms. In addition, it is not uncommon for people to use drugs or alcohol to self-medicate the symptoms they experience from a preexisting mental health condition. People often abuse alcohol or drugs to help reduce the intensity of symptoms from an undiagnosed mental disorder, to cope with difficult emotions from a known mental health disorder, or to temporarily change their mood when they are feeling down. 

Unfortunately, self-medicating causes side effects, including new or worsening depression and other related emotional states. It is hard to pinpoint (because little evidence points to a conclusive answer) whether substance abuse can cause depression. However, ongoing use of alcohol and drugs can increase the risk for new or worsening mental health symptoms. 

Can Depression and Drug Addiction Be Treated at the Same Time?

Depression and drug addiction can absolutely be treated at the same time! For that matter, one’s chances of treatment success when seeking addiction treatment are vastly improved by treating co-occurring disorders simultaneously. This means, if you have a known mental health condition such as depression, it is essential to seek an addiction treatment facility skilled in treating co-occurring disorders. In these treatment programs, you will receive therapy that addresses the root causes of both your addictive behaviors and your mental health symptoms. Failure to address one or the other (your addiction or depression) only increases the chances of relapse when symptoms potentially return upon completing treatment. Many of the evidence-based treatment models used for treating addiction and mental health concerns are easily applied to both. For example, cognitive-behavioral therapy is frequently used to treat behavioral disorders such as addiction but also used in evidence-based, comprehensive treatment programs designed to address mental health symptoms. 

How to Help Someone with Drug Addiction and Depression

If you or a loved one struggles with depression and drug addiction, it is essential to seek help. At Rise in Malibu, we understand the decision to seek addiction treatment (or mental health treatments) can be difficult. Many often wonder what others will think or say upon learning of your addiction or your mental health struggles. Despite increasing education and understanding both in the medical communities and society as a whole about the stigmas associated with addiction and mental health, many of these difficulties and fears associated with seeking treatment remain. 

Addiction is a disease, and like any other disease, it is best treated with early and comprehensive intervention at an addiction treatment center like Rise. Our individualized treatment programs are designed to address the root causes of your addiction or mental health concerns. We will work with you to create a treatment program that focuses on your unique treatment needs and goals. Our knowledgeable staff is also skilled in providing care for co-occurring disorders such as depression and addiction to ensure the most comprehensive treatment possible. If you would like to learn more about co-occurring disorder treatment, contact the admissions team at Rise in Malibu today. 

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