Depression is a common mood disorder among those who suffer from substance abuse. Symptoms of depression are exacerbated by substance abuse and substance abuse can induce depressive symptoms. An individual who suffers from both a depressive mood disorder and addiction is considered dually diagnosed. A dual diagnosis treatment center will be able to efficiently address both the addiction and mood disorder.


What is Depression?

Depression is a mood disorder with symptoms that can feel overwhelming, making it difficult to find the motivation and energy to seek help. It can create tension in relationships, absences from work and a pattern of negative thinking. People who suffer from depression will often turn to alcohol and drugs to escape from uncomfortable feelings. More than half of all people entering a drug rehab center suffer from depression and other mental health disorders. A dual diagnosis treatment center will use medication for depression to reduce or alleviate symptoms while addiction issues are being addressed.

Depression can be situational and/or related to an imbalance in brain chemistry. Situational depression will usually clear as an individual’s situation changes. Non-situational depression will remain present despite circumstances. When a depressed mood does not go away within a couple of weeks, a person can begin to feel discouraged and as if his or her mood will never get better. Some family members may notice the sufferer’s loss of interest in once enjoyed activities. A depressed individual’s family may also note other symptoms such as social withdrawal, which can also indicate possible alcohol and drug addiction.

Major Depressive Disorder and Dysthymic Disorder

Two common mood disorders diagnosed in dual diagnosis treatment centers are Major
Depressive Disorder and Dysthymic Disorder. Both of these disorders share similar symptoms with some variation regarding duration of time. Major Depressive Disorder has a two-week period of symptoms that can contain a single episode or recurrent episodes whereas Dysthymic Disorder is a chronic depressed mood state that can last up to 2 years.

Symptoms of Depression are:

  • Sadness
  • Irritability
  • Change in sleep patterns
  • Change in appetite
  • Thoughts of suicide or suicide attempts
  • Low energy
  • Poor concentration
  • Indecisiveness
  • Feelings of worthlessness or excessive inappropriate guilt
  • Isolative behaviors

Severe depression sometimes includes psychotic symptoms such as hallucinations and delusions. It may be treated with additional anti-psychotic medications until the symptoms subside. Antidepressant and mood stabilizing medications will effectively decrease and sometimes eliminate depression symptoms.

Substance-Induced Mood Disorder with Depressed Features

Depression and addiction have an antagonistic relationship with one another. Most substances will induce depressive states after use. An individual who does not have a pre-existing depressive disorder may develop symptoms of depression, during and after intoxication, secondary to his or her substance abuse. This is called a substance-induced mood disorder with depressive features.

A dual diagnosis treatment center will be equipped to monitor individuals who are going through an alcohol and/or drug detox for depression symptoms. This feature is essential in a drug rehab setting to helping the addict recover from addiction without using his or her depressed mood as an excuse for relapse.

Cravings in alcohol and drug detox also have a negative impact on the process of recovering from a dual diagnosis. Cravings will utilize negative thought patterns, related to depression, to encourage substance abuse. Anti-craving medications stabilize brain chemistry, decreasing urges to use, making them an asset to the detox and treatment process.

Medication for Depression

Antidepressant medications will assist depressed and addicted individuals through the process of recovery. People with depression may need an extra boost in brain chemistry to decrease depressive symptoms and help them get over the hurdle of addiction. Medication used in drug and alcohol rehabilitation centers for the dual diagnosis treatment of depression and addiction is:

Medication for Depression - Dysthymic Disorder

Dysthymia is a chronic condition and an individual struggling with the disorder will have to remain on medication for a longer period of time. Side effects are always a concern for individuals who suffer from dysthymic disorder. SSRIs have a low amount of side effects over a longer period of time. Another medication prescribed to treat Dysthymic Disorder is Wellbutrin, which is an atypical medication.

Medication for Depression - Substance-Induced Mood Disorder with Depressive Features

Antidepressant medication will take a period of time, sometimes up to 2 weeks, to begin showing positive effects on the individual. Using substances while taking medication can negate the positive effects that antidepressants offer. When a person enters dual diagnosis treatment, he or she commits to stopping substance abuse and will have a period of time to allow medications to begin helping. Depression induced by substance abuse may require medication for a shorter period of time and should be monitored by a psychiatrist.

Looking For Treatment?

Depression can be painful and overwhelming. Using drugs and alcohol to alleviate the symptoms may have been your motivation to abuse the substances, but now you are trapped by addiction and your symptoms are worse. Recovery Connection coordinators are dedicated to helping you find a quality dual diagnosis treatment center to help you turn your life around. Call now and start feeling better 866.812.8231.

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