Alcoholism and Depression

Depressed patients often become addicted to alcohol as a means to “self-medicating” feelings of depression. But while the short-term effects may seem to ameliorate the unwanted feelings, alcohol is itself a depressant and will ultimately exacerbate the unpleasant feelings while distracting the individual from addressing the real causes of their depression.

Other individuals may develop depression as a result of the depressant nature of alcohol, in addition to the severe life consequences that alcohol addiction often brings.

Regardless of which came first (the alcoholism or the depression), interrupting the “using alcohol to escape” cycle is very challenging. These individuals often lack support and coping skills (sometimes as a result of their alcohol use and related consequences), which furthers their reliance on the temporary escape of alcohol.

Treatment for Alcoholism and Depression

There is extensive and effective help for depressed alcoholics. Loved ones can help alcoholics by supporting sobriety and participation in clinical treatment programs for the dually diagnosed, which refers to persons with both substance abuse and mental health issues. These programs will address the depression, the addiction, and the connection between the two in a comprehensive and compassionate manner. Appropriately treating the depression and the addiction are key to long-term recovery.

Regardless of which came first (the alcoholism or the depression), interrupting the “using alcohol to escape” cycle is very challenging. These individuals often lack support and coping skills (sometimes as a result of their alcohol use and related consequences), which furthers their reliance on the temporary escape of alcohol.

Anxiety and Addiction

People with alcohol or drug abuse problems are often anxious people. They may have used drugs or alcohol as an escape from feelings of anxiety and panic attacks. Their anxiety is often the remainder of an insecure childhood, traumatic experience in school or adolescence, bereavement and broken relationships, job loss, low self-worth.

Anxiety and fear are normal emotions and very important defenses that protect us from known or unknown dangers. For example, a good dose of fear can help patients prevent relapse. A life without fear and anxiety is not a realistic goal.

An important goal of addiction recovery is to understand that anxious feelings are a necessary part of life and to learn to deal with them without anger and guilt, without misusing alcohol or drugs and hurting ourselves and other people.

Treatment for Anxiety and Addiction

Because the symptoms of anxiety can be both physical and psychological, addressing these requires a multidisciplinary approach. We use a joined-up approach whereby all staff involved in the patient’s care communicate with each other on a daily basis about their condition and progress.

Castle Craig’s model of treatment addresses the underlying psychological causes of anxiety and addiction through a combination of specialised therapies and complementary therapies, that explore each patient’s specific diagnosis and deep-rooted mental health issues.

Through therapy and detox, we teach patients how to apply healthy changes: changes in behaviour rebalance the body chemistry and reduce anxiety symptoms.

We offer several specialised psychotherapy sessions for anxiety treatment:

  • Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT)
  • Dialectical Behavioral Therapy (DBT)
  • Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR)
  • Trauma (PTSD) Therapy
  • Grief Therapy

For recovery to take place, we help patients during therapy to examine their anxiety, deal with its causes and learn healthy ways of coping with fear and reducing the chance of relapse. We teach patients how to actively participate in the process of their healthy growth and build on each day of sobriety in rehab treatment.

This participation takes effort and time. We help patients understand the roots of their anxiety and addiction problems, become willing to face them and determined to make healing changes in their life. Learning to deal effectively with fear and anxiety is part of the effort for achieving lifelong recovery.

Alternative therapies we provide that treat anxiety disorders include:

  • Mindfulness Meditation
  • Acupuncture
  • Equine Assisted Psychotherapy
  • Art Group
  • Aromatherapy
  • Indian Head Massage
  • Relaxation
  • Sleep Hygiene
  • Diet and Nutrition (one of the most important factors in recovery from chemical dependency and anxiety, as those with addiction often have nutritional deficiencies due to diet neglect during the active addiction

The patients become active participants in their ongoing recovery by taking part in a daily routine of educational lectures, regular meals and exercise, relapse prevention training and 12-step support groups where they are equipped with effective coping strategies for living a sober life.