Andrew Peter – The Link Between Depression and Substance Abuse

By: Andrew Peter

The National Association of Mental Illnesses has found that around 37 percent of people who are dealing with an alcohol addiction and 53 percent of those dealing with a drug addiction are also suffering from a mental illness aka a co-occurring disorder.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has estimated 10 percent of Americans battle depression. According to the reports published in the Journal of the American Medical Association, around 50 percent of individuals with severe mental disorders also struggle with substance abuse, whereas 37 percent of alcohol abusers and 53 percent of drug abusers have at least one serious mental illness.

Individuals dealing with both depression and addiction, otherwise known as dual diagnosis, have a greater struggle ahead of them. A mental illness and substance abuse are the most common co-occurring morbidities. The Journal of Clinical Psychiatry reports that one in three adults who struggle with substance abuse also suffers from depression.

In case of a dual diagnosis, both the mental health disorder and substance abuse have their own particular symptoms that further inhibit normal functioning, managing daily life issues and interacting with others. The situation gets more complicated as the co-occurring disorders also influence each other and interact. When a mental health problem is ignored, the substance abuse problem normally gets worse as well. On the other hand, when alcohol or drug abuse becomes worse, mental health problems are usually exacerbated alongside.

Depression is often considered the gateway into substance use. Simply enough, those who experience depression decide to take alcohol and drugs in order to “self-medicate” and escape the negative thoughts and emotions controlling them.

However, those who are clinically depressed cannot fight it themselves and require treatment. If these individuals are using drugs and alcohol on a regular basis, chances are their consumption will soon turn into a full-blown addiction as they will unsuccessfully try to self-medicate.

Dual diagnosis involves a high level of complexity in treatment. It is evident that patients struggling with dual diagnosis cannot receive the care they require in a conventional, one-dimensional rehab program. Only programs suitably equipped to manage psychiatric problems alongside drug and alcohol addiction can assist effectively with treatment.

The most recent National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH) depicted 7.8 percent of Florida residents to have reportedly used illicit drugs in the past month. The national average was 8.02 percent. As far as the statistics regarding depression were considered, SAMHSA reported Florida’s percentage of major depressive episode (MDE) among adolescents to be similar to the national percentage in 2012 through 2013. This meant that about 120,000 adolescents (9 percent of all adolescents) per year in 2009 to 2013 had at least one MDE within the year prior to being surveyed. The percentage did not change significantly over this period.

The Florida Dual Diagnosis Helpline will help you connect with the best rehabilitation centers in Florida to ensure a sustained recovery. Dual diagnosis treatment Florida focuses on the simultaneous treatment of co-occurring mental health disorders and addiction. If you or a loved one is struggling with dual diagnosis, help is just a phone call away.