Depression and alcoholism affects millions of individuals around the globe. These two conditions often occur together and may be psychologically and physically detrimental to sufferers. Fortunately, treatment and recovery are possible.
Depression & Alcoholism
Depression and alcoholism are often diagnosed together. When a substance addiction is diagnosed along with one or more mental disorders, it is referred to as a dual diagnosis. A dual diagnosis is common due to the relationship between depression and alcoholism. Depressed individuals may decide to seek solace in alcohol as a way to feel better, relax, lighten things up, get into a better mood or have enough motivation to face social situations.
Conversely, alcoholics may become depressed as a result of their battles with substance addiction. Alcoholism can bring on difficult life events such as health problems, relationship problems, trouble with work, or trouble with the law, which can certainly bring on serious bouts of depression. Both depression and alcoholism should be treated in order for treatment to be truly effective. When combined, depression and alcoholism can increase the risk of suicidal thoughts and behaviors.
Depression symptoms may include fatigue, feeling hopeless or worthless, lack of interest in activities, memory problems, concentration problems, a change of sleeping patterns or weight fluctuation.
Some potential signs of alcoholism are drinking alone or in secret, an overwhelming urge to consume alcohol, having a high tolerance, not being able to set limits with drinking and having alcohol stashed in odd places such as in a desk at work or in the car.
Due to the Affordable Care Act, preventative medical and mental health exams and screenings will be made available for free under all medical health insurance plans. These preventative services include depression screenings for adults and screening and counseling for the misuse of alcohol.
Counselors certified to handle dual diagnoses work on treating depression and alcoholism simultaneously. Treatment methods include such strategies as therapy sessions, support groups, nutrition, meditation, fitness and antidepressants at rehab center facilities for extended stays or even for outpatient therapy. Treatment plans are designed based on the needs of an individual, and should be flexible and changed as needed throughout recovery.
Depression should be treated to help your efforts in recovery to remain sober. If left untreated, both depression and alcoholism can worsen over time. Treatment extends beyond inpatient or outpatient programs to lifestyle methods and life choices to lead a comfortable life in recovery.