Co-Occurring Disorders: Alcoholism and Depression

Most people who suffer from depression drink because they want to feel better, but this often leads to an increased risk of alcoholism and depression.  Research shows that when you have alcohol dependence and depression, they can actually be caused by each other, so it’s important to recognize the link between these co-occurring disorders and how they need to be treated together at North Jersey Rehabs.  Depression and alcohol abuse typically go hand in hand. As many as 67% of people with clinical depression also struggle with an alcohol problem (according to the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism).  This isn’t surprising, because the two conditions tend to share some common genetic and environmental factors, making it more likely that someone will struggle with both at the same time. 

What Are Co-Occurring Disorders?

Co-occurring disorders, also known as dual diagnosis or comorbidity, occur when an individual suffers from two diagnosable mental health conditions. In the case of alcoholism and depression, this means that the individual would meet the diagnostic criteria for both alcohol dependence and major depressive disorder.  People who suffer from depression often experience a wide range of symptoms. These can include feeling hopeless, worthless, or helpless; feeling restless or irritable; experiencing fatigue or decreased energy; having difficulty concentrating; sleeping too much or too little; experiencing changes in appetite; and thoughts of death or suicide. While it is not uncommon for people to suffer from multiple mental health conditions, it can be difficult to manage two disorders simultaneously. Luckily, there are treatment options available at North Jersey Rehabs for those struggling with co-occurring disorders. These typically include a combination of therapy and medication. Therapy may help teach coping skills while medications can target specific symptoms. 

There are a number of different drugs on the market today designed specifically for people with co-occurring disorders, including antidepressants, antipsychotics, mood stabilizers, antianxiety drugs, and anticonvulsants. If you or someone you know is suffering from these issues in conjunction with alcohol addiction, it’s important to seek professional help right away, from a treatment team who will create a plan tailored to your needs.

What is Alcohol Addiction?

According to the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA), alcohol addiction, or alcoholism, is a chronic disease that is characterized by uncontrollable drinking, an inability to stop drinking, and continued drinking despite negative consequences. People with alcoholism often have a strong craving for alcohol and are unable to control how much they drink. They may drink more than they intended or for longer than they had planned.

Additionally, people with alcoholism may try to hide their drinking or lie about how much they drink. Those with alcoholism may need larger amounts of alcohol to get drunker or spend more time trying to recover from its effects. There are many treatments available for treating alcohol addiction; however, there is no one treatment plan that works best for everyone. Typically, a person’s treatment plan will be tailored to his/her individual needs and situation. For example, someone who has already completed detoxification might participate in group therapy sessions while another person might attend self-help groups such as AA meetings. Still, others might opt for inpatient care where they live at the facility 24 hours per day during the duration of their treatment program.

What is Depression?

Depression is a mental disorder that affects how you feel, think, and behave and can lead to a variety of emotional and physical problems. You may have trouble doing normal day-to-day activities, and sometimes you may feel as if life isn’t worth living.  Depressed people are at an increased risk for suicide. Symptoms of depression include changes in appetite, sleep patterns, moods, concentration levels, or energy levels; feelings of guilt or worthlessness; low self-esteem; irritability; and hopelessness.  According to the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, heavy drinking can cause or worsen anxiety and depression. It can also lead to memory problems, make it difficult to concentrate, and disrupt your sleep. 

In addition, heavy drinking can interfere with the treatment of mental health disorders. If you’re struggling with alcoholism and depression, it’s important to seek help from a professional who can treat both conditions.

Co-Occurring Disorders: Alcoholism and Depression – North Jersey Rehabs Will Treat Your Co-Occurring Disorders

Though it may seem daunting, recovery from both alcoholism and depression is possible. 

Here are a few steps that can help: 

  • Seek professional help: A therapist can help you understand your unique situation and develop a treatment plan tailored to your needs.
  • Join a support group: Connecting with others who have been through similar experiences can be incredibly helpful. Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) and other 12-step programs are available for those struggling with alcoholism, while groups like Depression and Bipolar Support Alliance (DBSA) can provide support for those with depression.
  • Get active: Exercise has been shown to be an effective treatment for both depression and alcoholism. Even just 30 minutes of moderate activity each day can make a difference.
  • Make healthy lifestyle changes

At North Jersey Rehabs, we provide effective treatment options for co-occurring disorders including alcoholism and depression – everything from counseling sessions with therapists to medications that treat the symptoms.  Contact us today to find out how we can help you or a loved one struggling with alcoholism and depression!

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