Depression and addiction co-occur at high rates, impacting millions of Americans annually. Experts cannot say that one causes the other, but the two are deeply interconnected. Estimates predict that nearly one-third of people who have major depression also suffer from addiction and vice-versa. To be effective, treatment for these disorders must happen simultaneously at a dual diagnosis treatment center. A trauma therapy program should provide a safe environment for clients to work through issues that contribute to their depression and addiction.
Understanding the Connection Between Depression and Addiction
Many people with depression, especially undiagnosed depression, turn to drugs and alcohol to find relief from their symptoms. It is also true that many individuals who suffer from addiction become depressed when their addiction negatively affects their life. In understanding the connection between addiction and depression, it is critical to look at the risk factors, as they are glaringly similar:
Studies show that hormones and brain chemistry, specifically neurotransmitters, contribute to depression and addiction. Generally speaking, people who suffer from these disorders frequently have different levels of certain hormones and reduced activity in specific brain areas than those without depression or addiction.
The most compelling suggestion of a genetic component to depression and addiction is that both are known to run in families. Researchers believe that no single gene is responsible but a combination of genes that each contribute some part.
Everyone is born with relatively stable personality traits that play a role in how they approach life. Certain personality traits have been found to contribute to both depression and addiction. Examples include being very sensitive to criticism and being introverted.
Environmental factors affect our entire development and well-being. Environmental factors contributing to depression and addiction include long-term stress, poverty, abuse or neglect, poor physical health, and trauma.
Experts believe that complex combinations of these factors make specific individuals more susceptible to depression and addiction.
Treatment for Depression and Addiction
A person who suffers from depression and addiction is said to have a co-occurring disorder. On their own, each presents treatment challenges, and together treatment becomes more complex. It is possible to have multiple co-occurring disorders. In the past, co-occurring disorders were not well understood and were treated separately, leading to poor treatment outcomes. Luckily, advances in research have taught us that lasting recovery relies on dual diagnosis treatment.
Effective treatment requires an accurate diagnosis. In most cases, addiction presents as the primary disorder and must be treated as such. Dual diagnosis treatment begins with a thorough intake assessment and evaluation to determine initial treatment needs. Clients then take part in a medically supervised drug and alcohol detox program. Following successful detox, clients transition to an inpatient drug rehab center to stabilize and address their addiction. Without the influence of drugs or alcohol, clients and treatment team members develop a clear understanding of the underlying depression.
Treatment for depression and addiction utilizes a variety of evidence-based and holistic approaches, including:
- Cognitive-behavioral therapy
- Intrapersonal therapy
- Individual, group, and family therapy
- Trauma therapy
- TMS therapy
- 12-step facilitation
- Yoga and meditation
- Experiential therapies
An integrated treatment approach utilizes these therapies and more to provide a foundation for recovery from addiction while simultaneously stabilizing symptoms of depression.
Find Treatment for Depression and Addiction
Every person can create positive change in their lives and communities. Addiction and depression not only rob people of this ability but wreak havoc in their lives and the lives of their loved ones. If depression and addiction have taken over your life, it is time to regain control with the assistance of depression and addiction treatment.