What is Depression?
Clinical depression is a medically recognised condition and differs from transient feelings of sadness during normal life events that are difficult, upsetting, and stressful. A diagnosis of clinical depression may be made when a person has a certain number of depressive symptoms almost every day for an extended period of time, which cause significant impairment in their ability to function in daily life, be it work, school, relationships and other areas.
By comparison to being drunk or high, early sobriety is often experienced as a severely depressed state because the individual has become used to such unattainably and unnatural levels of neurotransmitter activity.
Drug and alcohol addiction contribute to depressive tendencies in two main ways:
- Consequences. Addiction can cause devastating consequences in people’s lives such as loss of jobs and relationships, guilt, shame, family strain, financial hardship, and other severe stressors that are not easily resolved and understandably lead to extended periods of difficult emotions.
- Biology. Substances such as drugs and alcohol are highly addictive because they trigger artificially high levels of neurotransmitter release in the brain, which leads to artificially inflated “feel good” feelings. Not only are these “highs” unattainable through normally pleasant stimulus and neurotransmitter release, but users develop tolerance and require more of a substance to achieve those feelings. When the substance is removed, the “normal” levels of neurotransmitters in the brain are nowhere close to the levels triggered by the substance.
At Castle Craig, we treat patients with dual-diagnosis, who suffer from an addictive disorder (alcoholism, drug or gambling addiction) as well as related mental health problems (depression, anxiety, or eating disorders)
Depression and Addiction Treatment
A diagnosis of depression and an addictive disorder such as alcoholism, drug addiction, gambling constitutes dual-diagnosis. Patients with these complex needs are best treated in a residential rehab setting.
Our inpatient clinic offers a comprehensive treatment programme for dual-diagnosis with medical care and therapy in a single, unified framework. 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. This is particularly valuable for dual-diagnosis patients as it ensures they receive the time and professional attention required to achieve long-lasting recovery from their condition.
Treatment Challenges of Dual-Diagnosis
When a person has developed an addicted pattern in which the only way to cope with the feelings of mental and physical depression resulting from drug use is to use more of the drug, this cycle becomes very challenging to break. However, given time and support of both professionals and fellowships such as Alcoholic Anonymous, recovery can be achieved.
Loved ones can help addicted individuals by supporting their sobriety, and encouraging and supporting their engagement in professional and comprehensive treatments for both drug addiction and depression.
Page last reviewed and medically fact-checked | October 7, 2019