The relationship between a substance use disorder and your mental health is a close one. Consider that half of those who have a mental illness also experience a substance use disorder and vice versa, and you can see how the two are often closely connected.
As addiction and mental health specialists, Dr. Daniel Headrick and our team understand the dangers of not treating both problems at the same time, which is why we offer therapy services as a key part of our recovery programs.
To help you better understand the connection, here’s a closer look at the link between depression and a substance use disorder and how we go about treating both sides of the equation for best results.
Understanding a dual diagnosis
A dual diagnosis is when a substance use disorder coincides with a mental illness, meaning both are present at the same time. Mental illness is an awfully broad term, but when it comes to dual diagnoses, the most common mental health illnesses we see are:
- Major depressive disorder
- Obsessive-compulsive disorder
- Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder
- Post-traumatic stress syndrome
- Bipolar disorder
- Borderline personality disorder
For the purposes of this discussion, we’re going to focus on depression, which affects more than 17 million adults in the United States.
Depression and substance use disorders
When you have a dual diagnosis, it can often be difficult to unravel the two problems to identify which came first. That said, study after study confirms the link — to which one-third of people with major depression struggle with alcohol and 43% of people who are in treatment for a substance use disorder also struggle with mental illness, namely depression and anxiety.
One of the reasons why people with depression also develop a substance use disorder is because they attempt to self-medicate. For example, to escape your feelings of hopelessness or sadness, you turn to drugs or alcohol, which may offer a temporary reprieve. Unfortunately, any relief you may find is fleeting and your depression can grow worse in the meantime.
Going in the other direction, some people who develop substance use disorders end up with depression symptoms as they struggle to control what have become uncontrollable lives.
No matter which came first, our goal is to treat both issues so that you can lead a happy and productive life again.
Treating both problems
At Tres Vistas, we offer the tools you need to break free from your substance use disorder, including detox, residential treatment, and intensive outpatient programs.
We also offer a full slate of therapy services to help with dual diagnoses, such as:
- Individual therapy
- Group therapy
- Family therapy
- Cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT)
- Dialectical behavior therapy (DBT)
- Eye movement desensitization and reprocessing (EMDR)
- Wolf therapy
We also offer a wide range of adjunct services, such as yoga and nutritional counseling, as we believe that the key to successfully resolving your depression and your addiction is to encourage great health from every angle.
If you’re struggling with both a substance use disorder and depression and you’re not sure where to start, the best step is to contact our office in San Juan Capistrano, California, for help.