Substance Use Disorder and Depression

Fresno, CA is typical of many American communities seeing a growing population of substance abuse. The issue in Fresno has become so critical, a town hall meeting was held this past October to highlight the growing epidemic. Doctors and the District Attorney, and even those who struggled with addiction in the past shared the stage. They discussed the complex and growing problem of drug addiction in Fresno, especially among young people in high school who begin abusing opioids at a young age. A neighboring community had lost 3 young people to overdoses the past summer and a point that was emphasized over and over again in this town hall meeting was that nearly everyone in the Fresno area knew someone who was addicted to opioids.

A common thought as to why people begin taking opioids is that they are first prescribed for pain relief. But more than half of all of the opioid medicines are also prescribed for those suffering from depression, anxiety, and mood disorders.

Connection between Substance Abuse Addiction and Depression

Those who suffer from depression can be prone to substance use disorder and those who have a substance use disorder can be prone to depression. While one may cause or increase the likelihood of the other, it is possible for people to have both conditions. People with mental health disorders are more likely than people without to experience an alcohol or substance use disorder. This can greatly complicate treatment, since the treatment of one disorder may leave an underlying disorder untreated.

Those who suffer from depression can be prone to substance abuse disorder and those who have a substance use disorder can be prone to depression. While one may cause or increase the likelihood of the other, it is possible for people to have both conditions. People with mental health disorders are more likely than people without to experience an alcohol or substance use disorder. This can greatly complicate treatment, since the treatment of one disorder may leave an underlying disorder untreated.

Co-Occurring Disorders

When there is a coexistence of a mental health disorder and a substance abuse disorder, this is referred to as co-occurring disorders. And it’s not uncommon. The 2014 National Survey on Drug Use and Health revealed that 7.9 million adults, or 45% of adults, seeking treatment for a substance use disorder, had co-occurring disorders.

Both depression and addiction have similarities. They can both leave you feeling isolated and alone. They can take a toll on your sense of self-worth, and can leave you feeling like you are out of control. One involves a substance and one involves a chemical imbalance. The two can feed off of each other creating an overwhelming sense of helplessness.

So what should someone do? What is the best way to approach treatment when substance abuse and mental health issues are both present in someone?

The best approach in treating a substance abuse problem with a mental health disorder is something called integrated treatment. Integrated treatment helps those with co-occurring disorders. Treating both issues simultaneously helps to untangle the overlapping effects of both mental health issues and addiction. It has been common that people with co-occurring disorders be excluded from mental health treatment because of their substance use disorder. Likewise, they have been excluded from substance abuse treatment because of their severe mental health symptoms. As a result, they frequently have not gotten the help they need.

With integrated treatment, your treatment provider understands the ways each condition affects the other and how your treatment can be most effective. Integrated treatment consists of health professionals working in one setting, providing appropriate treatment for both mental health and substance abuse in a coordinated fashion. The caregivers see to it that treatment is “bundled” together so there is no division between mental health and substance use disorder assistance.

Addiction is never simple. But realizing the link between depression and addiction can open up a whole new discussion on ways to help people recover. Finding treatment options that address the patient as a whole is important to help people find success in all areas of their lives.

Fresno, CA is typical of many American communities seeing a growing population of substance abuse. The issue in Fresno has become so critical, a town hall meeting was held this past October to highlight the growing epidemic. Doctors and the District Attorney, and even those who struggled with addiction in the past shared the stage. They discussed the complex and growing problem of drug addiction in Fresno, especially among young people in high school who begin abusing opioids at a young age. A neighboring community had lost 3 young people to overdoses the past summer and a point that was emphasized over and over again in this town hall meeting was that nearly everyone in the Fresno area knew someone who was addicted to opioids.

A common thought as to why people begin taking opioids is that they are first prescribed for pain relief. But more than half of all of the opioid medicines are also prescribed for those suffering from depression, anxiety, and mood disorders.

Connection between Substance Abuse Addiction and Depression

Those who suffer from depression can be prone to substance use disorder and those who have a substance use disorder can be prone to depression. While one may cause or increase the likelihood of the other, it is possible for people to have both conditions. People with mental health disorders are more likely than people without to experience an alcohol or substance use disorder. This can greatly complicate treatment, since the treatment of one disorder may leave an underlying disorder untreated.

Those who suffer from depression can be prone to substance abuse disorder and those who have a substance use disorder can be prone to depression. While one may cause or increase the likelihood of the other, it is possible for people to have both conditions. People with mental health disorders are more likely than people without to experience an alcohol or substance use disorder. This can greatly complicate treatment, since the treatment of one disorder may leave an underlying disorder untreated.

Co-Occurring Disorders

When there is a coexistence of a mental health disorder and a substance abuse disorder, this is referred to as co-occurring disorders. And it’s not uncommon. The 2014 National Survey on Drug Use and Health revealed that 7.9 million adults, or 45% of adults, seeking treatment for a substance use disorder, had co-occurring disorders.

Both depression and addiction have similarities. They can both leave you feeling isolated and alone. They can take a toll on your sense of self-worth, and can leave you feeling like you are out of control. One involves a substance and one involves a chemical imbalance. The two can feed off of each other creating an overwhelming sense of helplessness.

So what should someone do? What is the best way to approach treatment when substance abuse and mental health issues are both present in someone?

The best approach in treating a substance abuse problem with a mental health disorder is something called integrated treatment. Integrated treatment helps those with co-occurring disorders. Treating both issues simultaneously helps to untangle the overlapping effects of both mental health issues and addiction. It has been common that people with co-occurring disorders be excluded from mental health treatment because of their substance use disorder. Likewise, they have been excluded from substance abuse treatment because of their severe mental health symptoms. As a result, they frequently have not gotten the help they need.

With integrated treatment, your treatment provider understands the ways each condition affects the other and how your treatment can be most effective. Integrated treatment consists of health professionals working in one setting, providing appropriate treatment for both mental health and substance abuse in a coordinated fashion. The caregivers see to it that treatment is “bundled” together so there is no division between mental health and substance use disorder assistance.

Addiction is never simple. But realizing the link between depression and addiction can open up a whole new discussion on ways to help people recover. Finding treatment options that address the patient as a whole is important to help people find success in all areas of their lives.

1 http://www.fresnobee.com/news/local/article178001536.html
2 https://www.statnews.com/2017/06/26/opioids-depression-anxiety
3 https://www.samhsa.gov/disorders/co-occurring
4 https://www.samhsa.gov/data/sites/default/files/NSDUH-FRR1-2014/NSDUH-FRR1-2014.pdf
5 https://www.nami.org/Learn-More/Mental-Health-Conditions/related-conditions/dual-diagnosis

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