At first glance, they look like they are completely separate conditions. Depression and anxiety have unique symptoms. The same goes for chemical dependency. That said, there’s actually a connection between depression, anxiety, and substance abuse.
Connecting the Dots between Mood Disorders and Substance Abuse
At a mental health and substance abuse treatment center in Tennessee, therapists know to look for co-occurring conditions. When a client struggles with drug or alcohol abuse, there’s often an underlying circumstance. For example, someone with depression may abuse stimulants. There’s a consistent inability to muster the energy to deal with things.
Stimulants provide the artificial boost they need. Over time, they build up a tolerance to the drugs. Therefore, they increase the dose. It doesn’t take long before there’s a physical dependency.
Depression, anxiety, and addiction also connect on a psychological level. Take someone with an anxiety disorder, for example. This individual drinks alcohol to deal with unwelcome emotions and thoughts. Besides that, they like the way that alcohol makes them feel.
They’re more social. Most importantly, they feel it’s easier to deal with people. Over time, they develop a psychological addiction to the drug. They don’t think they can function without it.
Overcoming the Connection between Depression, Anxiety, and Substance Abuse
Typically, the underlying mental health condition is there first. It fuels the substance abuse. However, there’s also a secondary development. Depression, anxiety, and addiction also connect when substance abuse comes first.
For example, consider that many drugs affect dopamine release. Therefore, withdrawal can result in deepening depression as well as anxiety symptoms. Some of these conditions may remain in effect after you quit using. It’s fair to say that almost all individuals can benefit from a dual diagnosis assessment.
This type of assessment allows therapists to look for the presence of co-occurring conditions. It might even enable them to notice if multiple problems require treatment. Make a mistake here, and a client won’t receive the assistance they need. It’s essential to treat all conditions that are present.
Possible Modalities for People Struggling with One or More Co-Occurring Conditions
When assessing and treating the connection between depression, anxiety, and substance abuse, therapists have options. Examples include:
- Medication-assisted treatment that helps with withdrawal management, symptom reduction, and commitment to the therapy
- Motivational interviewing as a tool for boosting adherence to a therapy schedule and care protocol
- Cognitive-behavioral therapy, which assists with coping skills development and implementation
- Group therapy that focuses on positive peer feedback and mutual accountability
- Dual diagnosis support that treats underlying mental health conditions alongside substance abuse
No, You Can’t Fix it on Your Own
Substance abuse and mood disorders require professional intervention. These are the conditions you’ve probably struggled with for years. Besides that, you’ve tried to take care of the symptoms on your own. Don’t fall into this trap again.
Work with therapists who understand how the connection between depression, anxiety, and substance abuse is hurting you. At the Encore Health Group, specialists routinely work with good people like you. They understand that you need help, and they also know how to assist you. Make an appointment to talk to a friendly intake counselor.