When people become addicted to drugs, it doesn’t occur in a vacuum. In many cases, drug addiction is a symptom for a deeper-rooted issue. One of the most common underlying reasons that people turn to substances is they suffer from an often-undiagnosed mental condition. Depression is perhaps the most common of those mental illnesses.

What is Depression?

In simple terms, depression can be defined as a lingering condition which makes people feel a profound sense hopeless. Those who suffer from depression feel there is no way out of their current situation. It may be shocking to some, but depression is a common mental condition that affects millions of people throughout the United States.

According to some statistics, depression affects 10 percent of Americans. According to the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Disorders, depression is a condition that lasts for at least two weeks and includes the following symptoms:

  • Anxiety
  • Hopelessness
  • Prolonged feelings of guilt
  • Low energy
  • Little or no motivation
  • A prolonged sense of worthlessness
  • Suicidal thoughts and even suicide attempts

While depression can affect anybody, it is especially prevalent among people aged 45-64, females, and those who underemployed or chronically unemployed.

The Connection Between Depression and Substance Abuse

For those people who are experiencing depression, they often turn to substances in trying to cope with their feelings. While there are many mental health treatment options available to address one’s depression, many don’t seek treatment. The main reason is the stigma surrounding mental illness. For those suffering from depression, they feel as they are “broken” and not worthy of help.

While the use of substances can alleviate the feelings associated with depression, it is a short-term fix at best. Without thoroughly addressing the issues that underlie their depression, those who use drugs and alcohol eventually become dependent on substances and then addicted. When this occurs, they are seen as having what is known as dual diagnosis.

How Dual Diagnosis Treatment Can Help Heal

People who have a dual diagnosis will have a more difficult time finding recovery. Both depression and substance abuse fuel each other, and it becomes difficult to untangle the two to see what causes what in the first place. Traditional drug treatment programs are not able to address the complexities of dual diagnosis.

While this may cause hopelessness, there are a growing number of facilities with providing specialized programs that deal with dual diagnosis disorder. These facilities featuring programs that have been specifically designed to deal with one’s underlying mental health issues as well as their addiction to drugs and alcohol.

Dual diagnosis treatment programs feature quality psychiatric help which helps clients tackle the issues that lie at the root of their depression. Through medication-assisted treatment (MAT), individual therapy and other interventions, patients will get the tools and support they need to overcome depression. Once that has been achieved, they are able to undergo drug treatment that is individually tailored to meet their unique and specific needs.

You Can Beat Depression and Anxiety for Good… Starting Right Now

If you, a family member, or a loved one is struggling with depression and drug addiction, the hopelessness you feel can be suffocating. While it may feel there is no way you can get better, nothing can be further from the truth. There are many dual diagnosis programs available which feature effective programs and experienced staff who are committed to your health and well-being.

Talk with your doctor, hospital staff or those who specialize in mental illness and drug treatment. They will provide you the resources, tools and hope you need to break the vicious cycle of dual diagnosis once and for all.