A Better Today

Depression &
Substance Abuse

How Does Substance Abuse Affect Someone Struggling with Depression?

Depression is one mental health issue that affect millions of people every year. Its common occurrence has softened society’s perspective of this mental health problem. However, depression should never be taken lightly. Depression is one of the top causes of death in the United States. According to the Center for Disease Control, nearly 43,000 people died from suicide in 2014.

A Better Today Recovery Services understands there is a clear and definitive link between depression and substance abuse. That is why we want to connect you with master-level therapists who know the negative impact depression can have on recovery. An estimated one-third of people with major depression abuse substances like cocaine, heroin, and marijuana to cope with depression symptoms.

The relationship is not hard to imagine. People suffering from depression often abuse substances to alleviate discomfort, a behavior sometimes described as self-medicating. Although it can be difficult to deal with co-occurring disorders, we can help. The ABTRS staff can help you find a treatment center that will treat both your depression and your substance use disorder.

Unfortunately, substance abuse worsens depression symptoms over time causing a dependency on drugs or alcohol. People who self-medicate to relieve their symptoms unknowingly enter into a vicious cycle of depression and substance abuse. The more substances they use, the worse the depression symptoms may get. This cycle is ultimately fatal for far too many people, whether due to overdose or suicide.

That is why A Better Today Recovery Services’ staff takes depression very seriously when we help you find a treatment center that will craft an individualized treatment plan for you. We understand how easy it is to develop an addiction when people abuse drugs and alcohol to alleviate emotional or psychological disturbances. Once a person has become addicted to a substance, there is no going back. The addiction and the depression must simultaneously be treated. Our approach can help you find treatment that focuses on healing the person as a whole. That means we can help you find a facility that addresses co-occurring disorders like depression or bipolar disorder.

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Types of Depression that Influence Drug and Alcohol Abuse

The word depressed is often used culturally to describe just about any bad mood. Depression as a mental illness is different from a case of the blues. A bad day or week may come with upsetting emotions, but may not indicate true depression.

Depression has several subcategories or types associated with the disease. The six most common types are major depressive disorder, persistent depression, bipolar depression, postpartum depression, seasonal depression and psychotic depression. Bipolar disorder has recently been reclassified in the DSM, however many people still associate it with depression.

Major depressive disorder means having a depressed or low mood for a minimum of two weeks. Additionally, four or more other symptoms associated with MDD, including thoughts of suicide, low energy, problems sleeping, and more.

Persistent depression, or dysthymia, is a low mood that lasts for two or more years. Postpartum depression occurs in the mother after childbirth and can prove fatal to the mother, child or both.

Seasonal depression, or seasonal affective disorder, which is most commonly associated with the winter months and is caused by the temperature and light changes that occur from one season to the next.

Psychotic depression is characterized by a temporary break from reality and the emergence of hallucinations.

Underlying Causes of Depression and Why Self-Medicating with Alcohol & Drugs Makes it Worse

A Better Today Recovery Services knows that the symptoms of depression encourage drug and alcohol abuse. The underlying causes of depression can also translate into unhealthy behaviors and habits to cope with what is going on.

Depression is thought to be caused by variety of factors that are both environmental and genetic. Some studies show that there are differences in the structure of the brain in people with major mood disorders. This suggests that there is a physical cause in the structure of some people’s brain that translates into depression. The chemistry of the brain also contributes to depression. An imbalance in neurochemicals can cause drastic changes in mood and perception.

Genetics present another major link to depression. People with a close relative who has major depression are 20-30 percent more likely to struggle with the disease themselves.

Situational factors can also cause major depression. Such events as the death of a loved one, divorce, changes in household and other significant changes can trigger a prolonged period of depressed mood and the development of depression. In these cases, the duration of the depression is often temporary.

Another potential root cause of depression is one’s environment and experiences in childhood. The probability of developing depression increases if a person experienced any sort of abuse during childhood. Additionally, an unstable or chaotic home environment can also lead to the symptoms of depression.

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The Stigma Associated with Depression & Why You Should Seek Proper Treatment

Mental health problems come with an unnecessary stigma. The origin of this criticism is often rooted in past the when such psychological issues were not well understood. It was not that long ago that people mistook mental illness for manifestations of religion.

The tragedy of stigmatizing depression and other mental health issues is that it causes sufferers to avoid getting the help they need. If you struggle with depression symptoms, remember that illness does not define you.

Whether you have always had a low mood or this is a new period of your life, consider that depression is like any physical disease and requires treatment to improve. Few people have a problem treating a thyroid problem or a sinus infection. Depression is just as much out of the control of the individual and is no one’s fault.

Depression symptoms can devastate someone’s life if it continues untreated. Symptoms of depression include low energy level, depressed mood, difficulty concentrating, memory problems, persistent thoughts of suicide and death, weight change, loss of interest or pleasure in normal activities, feelings of worthlessness and self-hatred, sleep problems, physical fatigue, and suicide ideation or attempts.

These symptoms can worsen over time. Some symptoms cause the gradual, or rapid, increase in depression. Having low energy can lead to sleeping more than normal can increase fatigue, which can worsen a low mood. Depression symptoms can create a vicious cycle that worsens the situation.

If you are struggling with depression, get help immediately. Depression is one of the most common disorders in the world. There is no shame in experiencing depression. It is a disease and must be treated.

The Importance of Treating Co-Occurring Disorders & Substance Abuse Disorders

Substance abuse and other mental health disorders often go hand in hand. It is not difficult to understand why people who experience such symptoms as the ones caused by depression might try to self-medicate to alleviate suffering.

Substance abuse and depression often form a cyclical problem, where you address one problem, with no success. Treating the depression is a start, however, if the substance abuse is left unaddressed both the depression and substance abuse will remain. The same is true if only the substance abuse is treated.

Substance abuse plays with the delicate systems of the brain and can cause depression symptoms. Even though the substance may alleviate the depression in the short term, once the effects have worn off, the result can be a substantial increase in the depression. Therefore, if the depression is treated but the substance abuse continues, the depression will not cease until the substance abuse is treated as well.

Similarly, depression must be treated for the substance abuse to cease. If the substance abuse is treated, but not the depression, then one of the major underlying issues causing the substance abuse is left unchanged. One might stay sober for a period, but most likely will return to abusing substances due to the depression.

For a person to fully recover, both the substance abuse and the depression must be addressed simultaneously.

Effective Treatment Begins with Treating Both Depression & Substance Abuse

Don’t settle for treatment that only addresses your addiction. There is better treatment out there for you.

Let ABT help you find a drug & alcohol treatment center that will focus on healing you and not just your substance abuse addiction.

Need more info on treatment programs that address depression? Do you have questions about therapist qualification?

There is No Need to Suffer from Major Depression all Alone

Depression may be common but it is also deadly. At any given time, approximately 8 percent of the United States is suffering from depression. Additionally, an average of 8 million people are treated for depression every year, according to the CDC.

If you are suffering from depression, substance abuse or both, get help immediately. Either disease can be overwhelming and devastating. The effects will keep getting worse without intervention.

Find a treatment center that addresses co-occurring disorders and provides personalized treatment plans.

At A Better Today Recovery Services, we want to help you find the treatment that is uniquely suited to your needs. We can help you find holistic addiction treatment that focuses on the whole person. These programs identify co-occurring disorders, such as depression and substance abuse, in their initial assessments.

We are committed to working with each individual and finding them a good match. The treatment program we connect you to will provide progress assessments on a daily basis and will tailor their treatment to you.

It is never too late to get the better life that you deserve. Give us a call and we can help you find the treatment you or a loved one needs to begin on their journey to recovery.

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Reliable Sources are Important When Researching Co-Occurring Disorders

Deciding to enroll in a treatment program for drug and alcohol use is life-changing, and we don’t take that decision lightly. ABTRS believes that when exploring your treatment options, the sources you get your information from should be impartial and with you or your loved one’s best interest in mind. For more information, be sure to read through the educational sources we’ve listed below. Learning more about substance use disorder and your treatment options can help you make the best treatment decision.

Center for Substance Abuse Treatment. Managing Depressive Symptoms in Substance Abuse Clients During Early Recovery. Treatment Improvement Protocol (TIP) Series, No. 48. HHS Publication No. (SMA) 13-4353. Rockville, MD: Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, 2008.

Adaa.org. (2019). Substance Use Disorders | Anxiety and Depression Association of America, ADAA. [online] Available at: https://adaa.org/understanding-anxiety/related-illnesses/substance-abuse [Accessed 13 Feb. 2019].

Adaa.org. (2019). Depression | Anxiety and Depression Association of America, ADAA. [online] Available at: https://adaa.org/understanding-anxiety/depression [Accessed 13 Feb. 2019].

Nimh.nih.gov. (2019). NIMH » Major Depression. [online] Available at: https://www.nimh.nih.gov/health/statistics/major-depression.shtml[Accessed 13 Feb. 2019].

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