depressionDepression is a devastating mental illness which frequently requires treatment. Depression ranges from severe to mild, and can affect all areas of a person’s life. Many people are affected briefly by depression due to a negative life event or a loss, however, for other people this problem happens regularly. The condition can become so bad that an individual cannot cope with their daily life, contemplates doing harm to themselves and often gives up on life entirely. When drug or alcohol abuse is paired with depression, the problem will become worse and hospitalization may be needed.

If addiction and depression are something you suffer from, you have a co-occurring disorder and it is necessary for both conditions to be treated simultaneously. Depression afflicts over 19-million people in the United States, and with the addition of substance abuse, all areas of life are affected. When a person with depression uses drugs or alcohol, the stability of their emotions is affected and the ability to cope with day to day activities is lessened. Depression may also affect the family members and friends of those who suffer from it.

The signs and symptoms of depression might include a low interest level in things a person used to be passionate about and low energy throughout the day. Dark, suicidal thoughts can be a common manifestation of this issue, as well as an intense sense of loss or sadness. Body weight may also fluctuate in depressed people, and people who have it may feel helpless, hopeless or useless. Sometimes these symptoms indicate depression, but it is possible they are indicators of other mental health disorders, for example BPD or anxiety disorders.

People who have been officially diagnosed with depression have a dual diagnosis when a substance abuse problem is present. Both diagnoses influence each other, regardless of which one came first. Drug abuse and mental illness impact the same area in the brain, and often those who are depressed attempt to self medicate with drugs or alcohol. This condition warrants specialized treatment which will focus on both problems simultaneously.

Depression can make concentration difficult and can take the pleasure out of daily activities that used to be enjoyable. Studies have shown that over 50-percent of all drug abusers are affected by depression as well, which requires dual diagnosis treatment. This kind of treatment will focus on the addiction and the mental health disorder together, specializing in medication management as well. Often, treatment facilities are not capable of treating or diagnosing co-occurring disorders.

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