Depression can be a debilitating mental health disorder. Once it is combined with drugs or alcohol the symptoms are likely to worsen. Dual diagnosis treatment enables the patient to receive care for both the mental health disorder and the addiction simultaneously.

If you are suffering from depression and addiction, we can help. Call Recovery Connection today to find out about a dual diagnosis program. Specialized dual diagnosis treatment can save your life. Our helpline is open 24/7, all calls are confidential. Call now and get the help you need. 1-866-812-8231.

What is Depression?


Depression is a physical and emotional condition that can impact every aspect of a person’s life. At times, depression is mild, a temporary episode of sadness brought on by some outside stimulus. Other times, depression can be severe, leading to an inability for a person to cope with anything, which is known as major depression.

According to recent statistics from the National Institute of Health, 19 million Americans suffer from depression. Depression and other mental health disorders are often linked with substance abuse. The combination of substance abuse and depression can have negative consequences on the physical and emotional stability of a person and his or her social network, individual family, friends, and co-workers.

Signs and Symptoms of Depression

According to the DSM IV, the Diagnostic Manual for Mental Health Disorders, major depression symptoms can include but are not limited to:

  • Lack of interest in outside activities
  • Low energy all day
  • A slowness to movement
  • Significant change in weight
  • Suicidal thoughts
  • Inability to attend to personal hygiene routines
  • Contemplation of hurting others
  • Feelings of hopelessness or worthlessness
  • Intense feelings of sadness

The combination of substance abuse addiction and depression can have negative consequences on the physical and emotional stability of a person

Some episodes of depression can be attributed to other mental health disorders such as anxiety or bipolar disorder. Sorting out the myriad issues and feelings associated with depression requires the help of a trained professional. Alternatively, the onset of depression may be related to the onset of drug or alcohol abuse.

Depression and Addiction

Unable to cope with changes in both lifestyle and emotional well-being, a person who suffers from a mental health disorder may turn to illicit drugs, alcohol or abuse prescription medications. This attempt to treat the depression will not alleviate the symptoms or the underlying issues. The relief obtained from drugs or alcohol is temporary. Instead of helping the depression, the symptoms of depression may be worsened when combined with addiction. In the past, drug and alcohol addiction were not linked to depression or vica versa. Now, research has demonstrated that both conditions exist simultaneously.

The use of alcohol and drugs can induce severe depression and other mental health disorders. Both conditions are influenced by the same parts of the brain. Furthermore, “both drug use disorders and other mental illnesses are caused by overlapping factors such as underlying brain deficits, genetic vulnerabilities and/or early exposure to stress or trauma”. (

There is a high rate of comorbidity or dual diagnosis among people who suffer from addiction and mental health disorders. This reality requires accurate diagnosis and appropriate dual diagnosis treatment.

More than half of all people entering drug rehabilitation centers suffer from depression or other mental health disorders. Over the last 3 decades, the increase of patients suffering from co-occurring disorders such as addiction and mental health issues created a different treatment approach. Recognition that these disorders were linked necessitated treating both simultaneously. Dual diagnosis treatment is now the best practices approach to medically and clinically treating depression or other mental health disorders and alcohol or drug addiction.

A medically based dual diagnosis treatment program will provide a patient with a complete physical and psychosocial evaluation to determine a more accurate diagnosis. A physician certified in addiction medicine as well as an interdisciplinary team of clinicians will be able to design a treatment plan to address alcohol abuse, drug addiction and mental health disorder(s) simultaneously. Making an accurate diagnosis is important to managing both the addiction and the depression.

Is your addiction a response to your depression or is your depression caused by your addiction? Finding the right treatment program can make the difference between renewed life or relapse. Call 866-812-8231 and talk with a Recovery Connection coordinator. Our staff understands substance abuse and depression.

Addiction Treatment and Depression

A broad range of symptoms may indicate depression. The causes can be genetic, psychological or environmental. All these factors contribute to the risk of developing depression.

There are different depression assessment tests available. Although some of these can be self administered, the depressed person should seek appropriate medical treatment and guidance. The results of a self-administered test can provide you with a basis upon which to seek help. Since there are common experiences facing people suffering from depression, the following series of questions can provide you with an accurate, initial screening tool.

Answer the questions honestly.

  • Is it difficult for you to concentrate at work?
  • Have you lost interest in outside activities or hobbies?
  • Do you have trouble falling asleep or are you sleeping excessive amounts?
  • Is your appetite different? Do you eat more or less than before?
  • Do you feel inadequate, sad, or anxious?

Depression has often been linked to drug addiction and alcoholism. In fact, approximately fifty to sixty percent of the people entering drug rehabilitation centers are also in need of treatment for depression. This reality has shifted the approach to drug addiction. Without addressing both the depression and addiction, a return of the depression and a relapse are likely.

A person suffering from comorbidity, depression and substance abuse, requires a dual diagnosis treatment program. Not all treatment programs are capable of addressing the multiple needs of addiction and mental health disorders. A true dual diagnosis program treats both the alcohol abuse or drug addiction and depression simultaneously. A dual diagnosis treatment program offers therapeutic components to address mental health disorders, medication management, and addiction.

Not all treatment facilities or detox units are capable of providing the extensive evaluations required to properly diagnose and treat the depression and the substance abuse. The first step to getting better is detoxification. Drug detox is safest when done in an inpatient medically supervised drug detox center. Once the drug(s) and alcohol have been completely removed from the addict’s system, the patient should go directly to an inpatient drug and alcohol rehab program with a dual diagnosis component.

A medically based dual diagnosis treatment program can provide each patient with ongoing medical and clinical evaluations, and an individualized treatment plan that enables staff to address changes in a patient’s state immediately.

Upon entering a dual diagnosis treatment program, patients will:

  • Go through detox to rid the body of alcohol or drugs and manage withdrawal symptoms
  • Receive a comprehensive psychiatric evaluation to determine the primary diagnosis
  • Follow the treatment protocols for addiction and depression
  • Receive medication management
  • Learn lifeskills
  • Receive dual diagnosis education
  • Participate in nutritional and exercise counseling
  • Develop relapse prevention strategies
  • Create an aftercare plan

It should be remembered that both addiction and depression, whether they occur simultaneously or separately, can be treated. There have been great advances made in medication management of depression, with a great variety of drugs that can address specific issues attending a person’s depression. The days of treating everyone with the same drug are a thing of the past. Both psychiatrists and pharmacologists (those trained in the  study of how drugs work) have made the treatment of depression and addiction very sophisticated.

Treating both depression and addiction simultaneously provides the addict with the best opportunity for creating a healthy, productive life free of extreme emotions and addiction.

Looking For Treatment?

If you or someone you know is suffering from a dual diagnosis, such as depression and addiction, call Recovery Connection today. Our coordinators understand the issues and can help you find the best possible treatment. Call 866-812-8231 now. We are here 24/7 and all calls are confidential.

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