Depression and addiction
Studies have shown that, among individuals with major depression, approximately 17% also suffer from alcohol addiction and 18% have a drug addiction. Similarly, 56% of those with bipolar disorder also present lifelong substance abuse disorders. But why is there such a strong link between mental health and addiction?
Unfortunately depression and addiction often work in conjunction to cause and exacerbate symptoms, leaving you trapped in a vicious circle that can seem never-ending. Banbury Lodge can help you to overcome these issues by addressing your addiction and co-occurring depression through comprehensive treatment.
What is depression?
Depression is a mental health disorder that can affect your mood, thoughts, behaviour and even physical health. It is characterised by persistent feelings of sadness, hopelessness and loss of interest in activities that you used to enjoy – feelings that are often synonymous with addiction. Symptoms of depression can vary in severity from mild to severe and can have a significant impact on your life and ability to function.
The seemingly inescapable feelings of despair can influence your behaviour, leading to substance abuse and addiction in some cases. It is possible that you turn to drugs or alcohol as a way to cope with negative emotions or numb the pain of your depressive symptoms.
Types of depression
Not everyone experiences depression in the same way. There are many different types of depression, each with its own set of symptoms and potential for addiction. Some of the most common types of depression include:
- Major depressive disorder
- Bipolar disorder
- Persistent depressive disorder
- Seasonal affective disorder (SAD)
- Postpartum depression
- Premenstrual dysphoric disorder
- Psychotic depression
Whichever form your depression comes in, it can consume your whole life if left untreated. However, managing depression and addiction is possible with professional intervention.
Symptoms of depression
Despite the varying types of depression, there are some common symptoms that can be seen across the board. These symptoms include:
- Persistent feelings of sadness, emptiness, or hopelessness
- Loss of interest or pleasure in activities that were once enjoyed
- Fatigue, lack of energy, or feeling sluggish
- Difficulty sleeping or sleeping too much
- Changes in appetite or weight
- Difficulty concentrating, making decisions, or remembering things
- Feelings of worthlessness or guilt
- Restlessness or irritability
- Thoughts of death or suicide
It’s important to note that experiencing one or two of these symptoms alone does not necessarily mean someone is depressed. However, if these symptoms persist for more than two weeks, interfere with your daily life or push you towards substance abuse and addiction, it may be a sign that you need professional help.
What is addiction?
A substance addiction, including drug and alcohol addiction, is defined as the uncontrollable need to consume substances despite any negative consequences. Similarly, a behavioural addiction, such as gambling, sex or shopping addiction, refers to the compulsive urge to participate in an activity no matter the detrimental impact it has.
An addiction can be both the cause and effect of depression, with some people becoming depressed as a result of the addiction, and others turning to substances or certain behaviours as a means to cope with their mental health symptoms.
Symptoms of addiction
Some of the most common signs and symptoms of addiction include:
- Inability to control or stop addictive behaviours
- Feelings of intense urges or cravings
- Continuing to engage in addictive behaviours despite the consequences
- Being unable to function normally without fulfilling your addictive tendencies
- Agitation, anxiety or irritability when you cannot engage in your addictive behaviour
- Social isolation or secretive behaviour
- Addictive behaviour takes precedence over other responsibilities or commitments
There are also symptoms that can span across both conditions of depression and addiction. Suffering from either can lead to feelings of worthlessness, diminished self-esteem, lack of confidence and low mood.
What causes depression and addiction?
Depression and addiction are complex mental health conditions that can be caused by a combination of biological, psychological and environmental factors.
Biological causes of depression and addiction…
Depression and addiction can both have genetic components, meaning that they may run in families. They can also be caused by imbalances in brain chemistry or disruptions in the functioning of certain brain regions.
Psychological causes of depression and addiction…
Negative life experiences, such as trauma, abuse or neglect, can increase the risk of developing depression and addiction. Personality traits, such as low self-esteem or a tendency toward anxiety or perfectionism, can also play a role.
Environmental causes of depression and addiction…
Living in a stressful or chaotic environment, such as poverty or exposure to violence, can increase the likelihood of developing depression or addiction. Social factors, such as a lack of support or a feeling of social isolation, can also contribute to the development of these conditions.
How are depression and addiction treated?
A dual diagnosis of depression and addiction requires specialised treatment and inpatient rehab is one option available for those struggling with these conditions. Rehab treatment provides a structured environment with the goal of helping you achieve sobriety, manage your symptoms of depression and develop coping strategies to take forward into your everyday life.
At Banbury Lodge, you will have access to a wide variety of individual and group addiction counselling sessions that can help you to overcome depression and addiction. Some of the therapies we offer include:
- Cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT)
- Dialectical behaviour therapy (DBT)
- 12-step therapy
- Eye movement desensitisation and reprocessing (EMDR) therapy
- Family therapy
- Relapse prevention
- Motivational interviewing
- Art therapy
- Sound therapy
- Mindfulness and meditation
Without addressing both depression and addiction, it is likely that these conditions will reoccur. It is therefore vital that you delve into the root causes of your depression and addiction, gain an understanding of your addictive behaviours and develop a relapse prevention plan.
How can I help a loved one with depression and addiction?
Helping a loved one who is struggling with depression and addiction can be a difficult and emotional experience. It can be challenging to know what to say or do, but there are several things you can do to support them. Some of these include:
- Educate yourself: learn as much as you can about depression and addiction as this will help you to better understand what your loved one is going through and how best to help them.
- Listen and offer support: be a compassionate listener and offer emotional support to your loved one. Let them know that you care about them and are there to support them through their struggles.
- Encourage treatment: encourage your loved one to seek professional help for their depression and addiction. Offer to help them find a therapist, treatment centre or support group that specialises in treating these issues.
- Avoid enabling behaviour: while it’s important to be supportive, it’s also important to avoid enabling behaviour that may perpetuate your loved one’s addiction. Enabling behaviour can include things like providing financial assistance and covering up or making excuses for their addiction.
- Take care of yourself: caring for a loved one with depression and addiction can be emotionally draining, so it’s important to prioritise your own self-care. You should set boundaries, seek support from friends or a therapist and take time for yourself to relax and recharge.
Remember that recovery from depression and addiction can be a long and difficult journey, but your support could make all the difference to your loved one’s success.
A life without depression and addiction
A life without depression and addiction is one filled with purpose, joy and connection. By getting the help you need, you will be able to start enjoying the present moment, pursue your passions and build meaningful relationships with others. Recovery from these conditions is not a quick fix, but a journey that requires patience, perseverance and a willingness to change. The good news is that with the right tools, resources and support, you can achieve long-term recovery and a more fulfilling life.
If you are tired of living in the cloud of depression and addiction, don’t waste another day. Call our admissions team and get started on your road to recovery.