Getting Help for Alcoholism and Depression
“But like all destructive behaviors that keep you from going inward and doing the hard work, booze turned on me. The stuff to which I attributed my social grace, beauty, and intelligence was nothing but a backstabber that ultimately brought me to a place where I cried uncle and asked God to take over.”
~ Therese Borchard, Beyond Blue: Surviving Depression & Anxiety and Making the Most of Bad Genes
Nearly 2 out of every 3 people who have a drinking problem also suffer from some degree of depression. This kind of dual diagnosis, where the person has both kinds of disorders, complicates recovery from either.
Dealing with a Dual Diagnosis
And once the dual diagnosis has been established, co-occurring disorders require “co-occurring treatment”. This means that both conditions are addressed as the primary disorder– treatment is given for both at the same time . This has proven to be the most effective way of treating a mental health/addiction co-occurring disorder. Failure to deal with one illness completely can lead to the re-emergence or relapse of the other. In fact, without comprehensive treatment addressing each, a successful recovery of either is unlikely.
Strategies might include:
- A thorough evaluation and case history of the patient’s addiction and mental health history.
- Individual behavioral counseling focusing on the connection between the substance use and the depression.
- Peer group therapy with other patients also being treated for co-occurring disorders.
- How to avoid triggers.
- Trauma processing
- Healthier and safer coping methods.
- Where appropriate, FDA-approved medicationsto help with cravings, reduce withdrawal symptoms, and stabilize moods
- Holistic therapies
- Relapse prevention and response
- Long-term post-treatment support and aftercare
Statistics about Co-Occurring Alcoholism and Depression
According to the Collaborative Study on the Genetics of Alcoholism:
- Over 41% of men with Alcohol Use Disorder have either major depression or a depressive syndrome.
- Less than 17% of non-alcoholic males within the same family have either.
- 57% of females with AUD also struggle with major depression/depressive syndrome.
- Among men, alcoholism precedes the depression 54% of the time.
- Conversely, among women, the depression presents first in over 59% of cases.
What Does This Mean to YOU?
There are four important takeaways from this information:
- FIRST, if you have a drinking problem, it is extremely likely that you also battle some degree of depression. The converse is also true. This is why a thorough evaluation by a qualified specialist is needed.
- SECOND, if this is the case, you need specialized care that treats both the AUD and the depression at the same time, each as the primary condition.
- THIRD, because the disorders –separate and together – manifest differently among the genders and among individuals, treatment must be individualized to be most effective.
- FOURTH, because a dual diagnosis is so serious, care must be comprehensive, addressing the conditions with multiple evidence-based treatment strategies – psychological, physical, spiritual, social, educational, medical, and even pharmaceutical.
The idea is to improve your total wellness as a whole person, not simply treat you as a list of symptoms.
If you live in Southern California, your top resource is Lasting Recovery. As the top outpatient dual diagnosis treatment program in San Diego, Lasting Recovery can help you safely and successfully regain your sobriety, your good mental health, and your peace of mind.
Lasting Recovery – “Where Wellness Begins…”