Combined Addiction & Mental Health Disorder
It’s fair to say that all human beings have their bad days as well as their good ones. We all experience life in all its glory, and with that brings stress and pressures that make things difficult at times. But those bad times do pass and the good times, more often than not, return.
But for those suffering from clinical depression, those blues do not pass, and the emotional lows continue for long periods of time. Untreated it leads to devastating effects for the individual and his/her loved ones.
Substance abuse is common among people who are battling a depressive disorder; many depressed individuals reach for drugs or alcohol as a way to lift their spirits or to numb painful thoughts. As a result, depression and substance abuse feed into each other, and one condition will often make the other worse. When an individual has both depression and an addiction, it is called ‘Dual Diagnosis’.
Dual Diagnosis can be made up of any combination of a mental disorder (anxiety, depression, bipolar disorder) and addiction (drugs, alcohol, sex, gambling). Depression is all too often a gateway into drug and alcohol abuse. Those who experience feelings of depression take alcohol and drugs in order to escape their negative emotions. But those who are clinically depressed are going to stay depressed if they do not seek treatment.
If these individuals are using drugs and alcohol on a regular basis, chances are their usage will soon turn into full-blown addiction as they continue in a vain attempt to continuously self-medicate. For some individuals who have depression and a substance use disorder, giving up drugs or alcohol can actually make depression worse. If you’ve been using alcohol for years to bury your depressive symptoms, you may find that your depression rises to the surface in sobriety.
That’s why it’s so important to receive integrated treatment for both depression and substance abuse at the same time. Without treating the depression that drives your addiction, or vice versa, you’re likely to go back to your addictive behaviours or to experience a return of your depressive symptoms as soon as you finish rehabilitation. This is why getting the correct treatment for a dual diagnosis is so important.
Recovering From Dual Diagnosis
What makes Dual Diagnosis so hard to treat is that each disorder can intensify the symptoms of the other. Drinking excessive amounts of alcohol, for instance, is not going to make the depression better; in fact, it will make the condition more serious. And conversely, if a person is an alcoholic, their depression will likely keep them from attaining the proper mind-set to overcome their addiction to alcohol.
Twin Rivers Rehab specializes in treating the difficulties that can be involved when working with a dual diagnosis patient, and is fully equipped to handle the psychiatric problems as well asthe drug and alcohol addictions. Our fully integrated dual diagnosis programme incorporates a thorough detox, specialist counselling, psychologist, peer support, education and relapse prevention’s for both mental illness issues and addiction disorders.
Our program includes:
* Helping the client understand the nature of depression
* Teaching the client that recovery from depression and addiction is possible. Motivating the client to make major changes in his or her life
* Giving the client practical skills for handling negative thoughts
* Helping the client identify and change addictive behaviour patterns
Support, education, encouragement and motivation are essential tools in the battle against depression and substance abuse. Clinical depression can drain your energy and make you feel that rehab is a hopeless cause which can get in the way of individuals asking for help. At Twin Rivers we fully understand, and have successfully treated many ‘hopeless causes’ to enable them to live much fuller and enriched lives. So if you are suffering, or are worried about a loved one who may be suffering, please call us and one of our counsellors will be happy to talk with you.
– Andrew Sullivan
David is the Clinical and Development Director of Twin Rivers Rehab in South Africa and a UK Accredited Addictions Therapist with the Federation of Drug and Alcohol Professionals UK. Articles/Blogs are written with the assistance of researchers and other specialists in the field of addiction and the recovery process