Depression and Addiction
It is no secret that depression is a major epidemic in America. But just how severe is it?
According to research by the National Health Institute of America, 4.3% of adults suffered at least one depressive episodes in 2016… that’s 10.3 millionpeople, 36% of whom did not seek treatment.
When it comes to adolescents, the treatment statistics are even more discouraging. In 2016, 3.1 million people between the ages of 12-17 suffered at least one major depressive episode. 60% remained untreated.
The fact the depression can lead to addiction and vice versa is something that cannot be denied. In many cases, it is difficult to distinguish which of these disorders occurred first. Many who experience depression turn to substances as a way to pull themselves out of their chronic sadness.
On the other hand, addiction often leads to depression as substance dependency hijacks the brain’s natural release of dopamine, resulting in a loss of interest and an increased sense of worthlessness.
While many people confuse depression with just a standard case of the blues, the reality is that depression is a chronic disease that persists much longer than just an ‘off’ week. Depression symptoms are overwhelming and can even lead to physical pain and interfere with day-to-day life.
Symptoms of Depression
While the symptoms of depression vary, many individuals experience a combination of several of the following:
- Feelings of hopelessness
- Loss of appetite and weight loss
- Increased appetite and weight gain
- Physical aches
- Feelings of guilt
- Loss of energy
- Difficulty concentrating
- Suicidal thoughts
- Loss of interest in activities
- A sense of worthlessness
- Excessive or not enough sleep
When depression and addiction co-exist, they create a cycle that is difficult to break free from. The physical pain and hopelessness that categorize depression can be a catalyst for substance abuse and, in turn, substance withdrawals lead to increased depressive feelings. This is why it is important to treat depression and addiction separately. The comorbidity of these two disorders is a prime opportunity for Dual Diagnosis, the treatment of a person suffering from both addiction and a mental health issue.
At Alo House, we understand that recovery is not possible until the contributing factors to addiction are also treated. This is why we offer evidence-based therapies that are effective in treating depression such as:
Our programs also include additional lifestyle activities that aid in treating depression such as:
In everything we do, it is our mission to provide thorough treatment for our clients, giving them the greatest opportunity for a full, happy life after addiction.