Addiction is serious and is nothing to be taken lightly. With the recent surge in addiction issues due to perhaps multiple factors, it is important to realize and understand what it is and how to heal from it. But when depression is added into the mix, it can make recovery and treatment more challenging.
One of the most common mental health disorders is depression. Depression can affect people on many different levels. Also, depending on the person, it can either be a simple treatment process or a more complex process. However, there is no doubt that both addiction and depression help each other and allow conditions to worsen. But, with the right treatment approach, these can be dealt with and a person can begin their healing journey.
Depression Can Fuel Addiction
When it comes to both addiction and depression. Depression-related disorders can either come before or after an addiction. The main reason why depression fuels addiction is that many struggling with it feel the need to "self-medicate" by using something like alcohol or other substances to help "cure" or "fix" the feelings of pain and sadness. This can usually happen after certain negative life events. But the problem with self-medication is that it only works for a temporary period. Also, with the current pandemic that is going on, social isolation can increase the feeling of loneliness which only helps depression and addiction more.
This can happen when opiates are involved as well. People with depression may take painkillers to help numb or dull their feelings of sadness. But this along with alcohol only works for a short period of time and is not the right path one should be taking. Using opiates over a long period of time will only cause more distress and lead to an opiate use disorder.
Addiction Can Cause Depression
When a person starts using a substance over and over, it can cause the neurotransmitters in the brain to decrease in inactivity. This means that a person can start to feel feelings of sadness, loneliness, lack of energy, no motivation, and many more symptoms which will therefore cause depression. It is important to stop substance abuse as early as possible to help avoid the possibility of it causing depression.
When To Seek Treatment
For individuals struggling with either addiction, depression, or maybe both, it is important to seek out treatment right away. The sooner one or both of these conditions are addressed, the better the chances are for achieving and maintaining a full recovery. One of the most important things to remember is that being upfront and honest with a provider will help immensely with the recovery process because they will be able to fully assess, address, and treat the issues properly.
Also, maintaining a clean body from alcohol and other addictive substances is important too. This is usually the first step in the treatment process and it is also one of the hardest for individuals. However, creating a solid goal and practicing mindfulness is a great place to start with fighting the urges to use.
How To Treat It
The good thing is that today, there is treatment available for depression and substance use disorders. While the treatment in some can sometimes vary, the most important thing for someone to remember is that they are starting out on a path towards success. For some, removing the addictive substance is all it takes to relieve and treat a person's depression. They will start to feel motivated, get their energy back, sleep better, and overall feel better. For others, medication treatment along with therapy and rehabilitation may be needed.
It should be noted that medications to treat depression and addiction may not be enough. Having individual or group therapy while combining it with medication management may be required for certain individuals. Combining the two helps treat the whole person and gives them a sense of personal accomplishment and wellness. This will help the person with symptom relief and help them feel personal wellness. Also, exercising, practicing yoga, and meditating can help treat depression and addiction while sustaining a healthy lifestyle.
Addiction and depression can be tough, no doubt. But realizing it and seeking help is the first step someone needs to take in order to live a healthy and happy lifestyle. Being upfront and honest with your provider and therapist while sustaining from addictive substances during treatment is crucial towards healing. The focus should be goal-oriented and fixed on treating the whole person physically, mentally, and emotionally. This is how one can begin the journey to heal from addiction and depression.
Source: Psychology Today