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Dual Diagnosis for Depression and Addiction

Dual Diagnosis for Depression and Addiction

(This content is being used for illustrative purposes only; any person depicted in the content is a model)

Author: Justin Mckibben

Addiction and depression are two devastating conditions that commonly coexist, and because they can both be such crippling disorders it is imperative that anyone who struggles with both depression and drug addiction that is trying to get treatment receive a dual diagnosis recovery plan to address both simultaneously.

Sometimes it is difficult enough to properly diagnose someone with depression if they are actively abusing alcohol or drugs, which adds another level of difficulty for those who are unable to eliminate their drinking or drug abuse on their own.

Here we take a closer look at the relationship between depression and addiction, and emphasize the need for a specified treatment program that aims to heal the individual holistically in order to promote longevity in a healthy and happy life.

Depression and Addiction: Statistics

As history has shown, depression and addiction have a long-term relationship. In 1990 the National Institute on Health conducted the Epidemiologic Catchment Area study a few years back that reported that almost 1/3 of individuals with depression had a co-existing substance use disorder at some point in their lives.

Another study from 1997- The National Comorbidity Study- found:

  • Men with alcohol dependence had rates of depression 3 times higher than the general population
  • Women with alcohol dependence had 4 times the rates of depression

Studies back in 2000 and 2002 of clinical populations also show high rates of these combined disorders. Clients with addiction and depression often have other DSM IV diagnoses including:

  • Bipolar disorder
  • Anxiety
  • Personality or other addictive disorders

Some studies have also shown the differences in gender, with women often developing the mood disorder first, while men frequently develop the addiction first. For many, these disorders become linked over time with symptoms of each worsening the other. Depression and addiction are both disorders that are chronic and take long-term maintenance, but both can ultimately still result in happy and successful lives.

Studies conducted at Western Psychiatric Institute and Clinic of the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center have determined clients with addiction and depression are at higher risk for:

  • Suicidal and homicidal behaviors
  • Poor adherence to treatment plans
  • Higher rates of relapse- with either disorder
  • Higher rates of re-hospitalization

Professional treatment with a dual diagnosis strategy and involvement in an active program of recovery can make a substantial positive impact on clients in managing depression and addiction while improving the quality of life.

Depression and Addiction: Treatment

Physicians over the last few years have reported a seemingly ever-present increase in cases involving patients who are struggling with a combination of mental health disorders and substance abuse. Experts estimate that at least 60% of people that are battling one of these conditions are actually battling both, so when it comes to dual diagnosis treatment for depression and addiction it makes sense to emphasize how closely related one is to the other.

Dual diagnosis treatment entails many effective treatment options for people struggling with depression and addiction including:

  • Interpersonal psychotherapy
  • Cognitive behavioral therapy
  • Supportive counseling

Holistic healing is a huge part of dual diagnosis treatment because holistic means to address all aspects of life: mind, body and spirit. Based on this any kind of treatment for someone dealing with depression and addiction should be integrated to incorporate the development of mental health, while going beyond symptom reduction and helping the client engage in a recovery process.

One of the biggest hurdles facing anyone who is looking to get help for depression and addiction is that too often only one condition is treated, while the other is overlooked and then the individual falls back into the vicious cycle when these disorders feed off one another. Dual diagnosis is designed to address both issues at once so that someone struggling can have a fair chance at a full recovery.

Struggling with a mental health disorder and addiction all at once can seem far too overwhelming to ensure lasting recovery, but a holistic treatment strategy is meant to address every element of your recovery. Depression and addiction can be devastating, but you don’t have to fight them alone.

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