Nearly 1 in 6 people will experience symptoms of depression at some point in their life. As common as this mood disorder is, it can be extremely debilitating to those who experience it, especially when substance abuse is involved. The Summit Wellness Group combines different therapeutic techniques to help treat co-occurring depression and substance abuse for long-term recovery.
Our Dual-Diagnosis Depression Treatments
Feelings of intense and enduring depression can impact every aspect of a person’s life and can be made increasingly worse through substance abuse. The treatment for depression often requires medication, clinical therapy, fitness, and mindfulness practices for the most effective treatment outcomes. The goal is to reduce negative symptoms and minimize their impact, especially since those symptoms may go away for a little and then come back. These therapies equip clients with the tools necessary to manage their symptoms instead of turning to maladaptive forms of self-medication such as drugs or alcohol.
Since there is such a high co-occurrence rate between depression and substance abuse, especially in teenagers and young adults, and because depression is a major amplifier of addictive behaviors, treatment is critical. Not only can substance abuse and addiction increase depressive side effects but frequently, the worse the depression gets, the worse the addiction gets, indicating that treatment can sometimes be life or death for some people.
What Does Depression Feel Like?
A common misconception about depression is that it is simply an extreme form of sadness, but the reality is often much bleaker. Though symptoms can vary from person to person, depression can feel like the weight of the world is holding you down and no one is there to help pull you out from under it. Extreme fatigue and hopelessness may fill your days, and it would just be so easy to go to sleep, except usually, you can’t. You don’t want to eat or shower or get out of bed, and even when you try, your body just can’t. And the worst part is when you’ve had a good week and you feel like maybe things are back to normal and maybe you won’t feel depressed again, it comes creeping up on you out of nowhere.
The symptoms of depression can make the thought of getting help seem pointless, and a lot of people turn to medications that stimulate the brain to fix them. Ultimately, though, this causes an increased dependence on the drug to create feelings of happiness which can actually cause the brain to worsen its depression just for more of the drug. Some symptoms that indicate you may need help include:
- Persistent Sad, Anxious, or “Empty” Mood
- Feelings of Hopelessness or Pessimism
- Feelings of Guilt, Worthlessness, or Helplessness
- Loss of Interest or Pleasure in Hobbies and Activities
- Decreased Energy or Fatigue
- Moving or Talking Slowly
- Having Trouble Concentrating or Remembering Things
- Decreased Appetite and Weight
- Suicidal Thoughts or Attempts
- Pain, Headache, or Digestive Problems with No Clear Cause
If you have experienced any of these symptoms and feel that they have caused some form of impairment in your life, it is time to seek help. Depression doesn’t just go away. There are a lot of factors that go into treating depression, especially if that disorder is coupled with substance abuse. Seeking treatment is the only way to alleviate symptoms and lead a happy, healthy life again.
What Causes Depression?
Depression has a wide variety of causes, usually through some combination of genetic, biological, environmental, and psychological factors. This disorder usually begins in adulthood and can also be associated with health concerns or medical complications. People with family members who are depressed or struggle with some other form of mental illness are at an increased risk for developing depression, as are people who have experienced major life changes, trauma, or stress.
It has also been indicated that abusing alcohol or drugs can also cause depression or cause a worsening of depressive symptoms already present. Because addictive substances affect the same areas of the brain that symptoms of depression do, these people are more likely to become addicted. Once substance abuse is added to the mix, the structure and function of the brain can become permanently altered which may make the treatment of depression much more difficult.
Importance of Treatment for Depression
Treatment of depression is significantly important for a number of reasons. Early treatment can prevent the use of addictive substances and can lead to a higher chance of success. Treatment is also vital for individuals struggling with both depression and substance abuse, because if one condition is addressed without the other, then relapse is more likely to occur. Getting help from a dual-diagnosis treatment center offers the best chance at addressing both conditions and making sure that one does not cause a relapse in the other.
In order to effectively treat depression at The Summit Wellness Group, we use holistic approaches to address negative behaviors and coping mechanisms, target chemical imbalances through medication, and address possible causes or traumas through psychotherapy. This combination of techniques is what makes our programs, treatment plans, and staff so successful in helping people through recovery. The most effective approach towards depression includes the utilization of our holistic approaches, like art therapy, yoga, chiropractic care, and mindfulness practices. Holistic approaches have been linked to long-term recovery because they enable our clients to form healthy habits for continued, after-care treatment that may help prevent a possible relapse.
Incorporating holistic therapies into daily life bridges the gap between treatment and long-term coping mechanisms. By focusing on more than just “curing the disease,” holistic therapies target the entire person and improve their overall well-being. This takes focus away from addiction and helps clients gain a better understanding of how the body and mind connect and how overall health can improve quality of life.
If you feel like symptoms of depression have had a negative impact on any aspect of your life, asking for help is the first step in reaching recovery. Depression can make it hard to see a way out, especially when coupled with the effects of substance abuse. Seeking treatment at a dual-diagnosis center for depression and any comorbid conditions is the best way at managing and treating negative symptoms through positive and healthy avenues as opposed to the maladaptive, instant-gratification type coping mechanisms that often lead to a whole host of complications and negative side effects.