Individuals who suffer from depression or other psychological disorders often attempt to treat or escape from those problems with drugs and alcohol. Self-medication provides a temporary respite from potentially crushing mental problems that can interfere with simple daily tasks. When those individuals seek treatment for their drug or alcohol abuse, they can overcome their dependence and addiction to these substances, but unless they receive simultaneous treatment for their depression, that problem will often recur, leading to a greater risk of a substance abuse relapse. Physicians and addiction counselors will therefore need to treat the entire scope of a substance abuser’s problems to give him or her the best chance of a complete recovery.
Recovery Strategies for Dealing with Depression
The first, and probably the simplest strategy to deal with depression in addiction recovery is to determine the cause of depression. An individual might have experienced a traumatic loss of a parent or some other person who was very close to him. He might have suffered a career setback or some other event that impaired his finances. Alternately, he might be experiencing an undiagnosed physical ailment that might be related to or exacerbated by his drug use. The cause might even be something as simple as a poor diet. In all cases, an experienced physician or counselor should make every effort to determine and understand the cause of depression and that cause should be fully addressed in a total course of recovery treatment.
Dealing with Addiction & Substance Abuse
The next step toward dealing with depression in addiction recovery is to impress upon a recovering addict that drugs and alcohol will not solve the underlying problem. This point may be so obvious that it is often overlooked. Some substances will even worsen the symptoms of depression. Counselors will need to emphasize this element of addiction recovery, and to impress upon their patients that they have options other than drugs and alcohol to treat their depression symptoms.
A comprehensive addiction recovery program will include facets that naturally address depression and other psychological problems. Those comprehensive programs focus on broader lifestyle choice to teach recovering addicts to develop a balanced lifestyle without any need for drugs or alcohol. Addicts frequently sink deep into themselves as their addictions take a stronger hold of them. To be successful, an addiction recovery program needs to more than just help an addict through physical and psychological withdrawal symptoms. Successful programs will also instill a balanced lifestyle in recovering addicts, and that balanced lifestyle can go a long way toward addressing depression symptoms.
If a recovering addict’s depression is caused by more than adverse situations or circumstances (for example, serious chemical imbalances might be the cause of a manic depressive state), a counselor might recommend antidepressants to alleviate the worst of the depression symptoms. It may seem counter-intuitive to include pharmaceuticals within the context of treatment for a substance addiction, but again, a comprehensive addiction treatment program will address all problems that an addict is experiencing.
The Last Resort Recovery Center near Austin, Texas, can provide a complete assessment of addiction and depression symptoms, and can recommend comprehensive treatment plans for all problems and situations that an addict is experiencing. Please call us at 512-360-3600 for more information about our services, and for answers to any questions or concerns you might have about simultaneous treatments for addiction and depression.