The efficacy of depression treatment while treating addiction

Many people who are addicted to drugs are also diagnosed with other mental disorders and vice versa. But can you treat depression and addiction at the same time? How does it work and is it effective? More insight here.

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Many people who are addicted to drugs are also diagnosed with co-occuring mental health disorders… and vice versa. So, with depression fast becoming the #1 mental health issue in the U.S., can you treat depression and addiction at the same time?

How does treatment for depression work in tandum with treatment for addiction? Are the current methods effective? More insight here, with a section for your questions at the end.

What is depression treatment?

Treatment for depression usually involves a combination of medicines, talk or psychotherapy, and self-help. Therapies help by teaching new ways of thinking and behaving and changing habits that may be contributing to the depression. Therapy can also help you understand and work through difficult situations or relationships that may be causing your depression or making it worse.

Again, depression is a treatable illness. The majority of people diagnosed with depressive disorders improve when they receive appropriate treatment. The first step to getting treatment is a physical examination by a doctor to rule out other possible causes for symptoms. Next, you’ll need a diagnostic evaluation for depression. Depending on the type of depression diagnosed, medication and psychotherapy may be recommended.

What is depression treatment like?

Most likely, depression is caused by a combination of genetic, biological, environmental, and psychological factors. Therefore, depression treatment is usually a combination of intensive talk therapy and medications.

Many studies have shown that Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) is a particularly effective treatment for depression. CBT is usually administered in one-on-one counseling sessions, once or twice per week that last about one (1) hour. Lifestyle changes such as diet and exercise will also be a part of the regimen.

Further, there are almost thirty (30) different kinds of antidepressants currently used to treat depression. Treatment may be a series of trials over the period of weeks or months until you find the right combination of medications for your needs.

Benefits of depression treatment for addiction

The main benefits of addressing depression and addiction at the same time include resolving some of the main symptoms assiciated with these mental disorders. Some benefits include:

  • feeling hopeful and optimism
  • reduced feelings of guilt, worthlessness, or helplessness
  • reduced irritability
  • reduced restlessness
  • increased interest in activities
  • increased energy
  • increased ability concentrating, remembering details, and making decisions
  • healthy sleeping patterns
  • healthy eating patterns

The benefits psychotherapy for concurrent depression and addiction can be significant for people in recovery. Group and individual therapy provide you with the opportunity to discuss mutual topics and see that you are not alone in the situation. Further, you’ll learn new coping skills that can be used for both conditions and which can impact you positively over the long term.

Main outcomes of depression treatment for addiction

There are many positive outcomes of treating depression while in addiction treatment. In fact, addressing these co-occuring disorders at the same time is crucial for achieving success in recovery. Co-occuring dissorders tend to feed and reinforce each other, so managing these together can have the following positive outcomes:

  • encourages you to make healthier lifestyle changes
  • helps you learn how to manage overwhelming stress and emotionsidentify and develop your own recovery goals
  • keeps you connected and involved in support group therapy sessions
  • learn more about the relationship between addiction and depression
  • provides you with counseling specifically designed for dual diagnosis patients
  • reduces risk of relapse
  • teaches you how to recognize and avoid triggers

Does depression treatment work to treat addiction?

Yes, depression treatment works in parallel with psychotherapy and medications to also address addiction.

In fact, behavioral treatment (alone or in combination with medications) is the cornerstone to successful outcomes for many individuals with substance use disorders or other mental illnesses. And while behavior therapies continue to be evaluated for use in people who are depressed and addicted, several new strategies have shown promise for treating specific conditions.

How effective is depression treatment for addiction?

Depression and addiction treatment are effective when strategies are employed.

In fact, studies have shown that some people with depression may be successfully treated with CBT only. Others may need both CBT AND medication. Cognitive Behavioral Therapy helps people with depression restructure negative thought patterns. By doing so, it helps people interpret their environment and interactions with others in a positive and realistic way. It may also help a people recognize things that may be contributing to the depression and help them change behaviors that may be making the depression worse.

A central element of the CBT is anticipating likely problems and enhancing peoples’s self-control by helping them develop effective coping strategies. Specific techniques include exploring the positive and negative consequences of continued drug use, self-monitoring to recognize cravings early and identify situations that might put one at risk for use, and developing strategies for coping with cravings and avoiding those high-risk situations.

Depression treatment and the treatment of addiction

The treatment of co-occurring depression and addiction requires a dual treatment approach that views both as a primary condition. Dual diagnosis treatment implements and coordinates a plan for relief from symptoms of both disorders. The overall goal of such treatment is to resolve both the depressive illness and the addictive disorder so that a successful recovery from both occurs.

Those with co-occurring depression and addiction may use antidepressants, psychotherapy and traditional substance treatment modalities such as education, addiction counseling and self-help groups to create a comprehensive plan for resolving both. Relapse prevention planning for dual disorders will involve strategies to keep both acute episodes of addiction and depression from recurring.

The efficacy of depression treatment while treating addiction questions

Do you have a problem with depression and addiction? If you`re interested in finding more about the treatment of co-occurring depression and addiction, please ask your question at the bottom of the page. We try to respond to all legitimate inquiries as soon as possible.

Reference sources: NIMH: Depression and treatment
NHS: Depression Treatment
CDC: Features of Depression
The Ranch: Dual diagnosis: Depression and Addiction
NIH: Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy
NIDA: Comorbidity: Addiction and Other Mental Illnesses
NIH: Psychotherapies
NIDA: A Cognitive-Behavioral Approach: Treating Cocaine Addiction
About the author
Lee Weber is a published author, medical writer, and woman in long-term recovery from addiction. Her latest book, The Definitive Guide to Addiction Interventions is set to reach university bookstores in early 2019.
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