Research has long reported the strong connection between mental illness and substance abuse, and one of the most common of these links comes from depression. This link is so strong that experts claim that those diagnosed with a mental health issue at some point in their life consume 69% of the nation’s alcohol at 84% of the nation’s cocaine. This dual diagnosis of mental illness and substance abuse can be extremely dangerous for those afflicted, and it’s crucial to seek treatment as soon as possible.

How those suffering from depression are linked to substance use and abuse

The relationship between depression and substance abuse can be seen as bi-directional, meaning that those who suffer from depression are more likely to suffer from substance abuse and vise versa. For individuals suffering from depression, drugs and alcohol can act as an escape from the hopelessness and despair that they are feeling. And those who start with substance addiction can often experience depression when the effects of the drugs begin to wear off. This can create an endless cycle of using drugs because of depression and experiencing depression from substance withdrawal.

The statistics on this connection are staggering with more than a third of substance abuse patients also experiencing depression and almost a fifth of depression patients also experiencing substance abuse. Both conditions can present with similar symptoms, but those with depression often experience low moods, fatigue, a lack of interest, poor sleeping patterns, changes in appetite, and trouble concentrating.

If you’ve been diagnosed with depression and wondering if you may also be struggling with a substance use problem, ask yourself the following questions. Do you use substances in larger quantities than you planned to? Have you unsuccessfully tried to stop taking drugs or alcohol? Do you experience extreme cravings to use substances? Does your substance use interfere with your work or home life? Is substance use causing problems in your relationships? If the answer to any of these questions is yes, you could be struggling with a co-occurring disorder that needs treatment.

Seeking treatment for co-occurring conditions

There are several treatment options available that can comprehensively cover both depression and substance abuse. A physician might initially recommend medication to help with both conditions, but they will also frequently recommend concurrent counseling or therapy as research has shown a more positive impact when these treatments are used together.

For many individuals struggling with these conditions, a more intensive in-patient treatment program like BlueFire Pulsar can help provide the coping strategies needed to fight through the dual diagnosis. These comprehensive programs utilize peer support, individual counseling, individualized treatment plans, family involvement, and onsite medical assistance for a well-rounded approach to care.

blueFire PulsaR can help

blueFire PulsaR specializes in helping 18-28 year olds address behavioral and motivational challenges impacting their success in life. We help young adults struggling with mental health issues step out of their comfort zone, improve self-esteem, and build confidence through self-success.

Our integrative program takes a multifaceted approach to care and offers a myriad of restorative experiences such as adventure therapy, service work, yoga, meditation, mindfulness, and equine therapy. We believe that through a balance of self-assessment, insight-oriented therapy, and outdoor living, these young adults will find their true selves. For more information, please call 866) 430-6807.

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