The Role of Dual Diagnosis in Dealing with Depression

Written by Karl Perera, BA, MA, DipLC - Any purchase you make helps support my work on this website

Those afflicted with depression often suffer from problems related to addictive behavior as well. There are many causes of depression, and sometimes it’s difficult to know whether the depression is caused by substance abuse or whether substance abuse is driven by depression. Whatever may be so, the struggle to maintain a normal life is overwhelming for these individuals. It’s virtually impossible for them to help themselves out of the dilemma without seeking professional help and counsel.

The term given to those suffering from depression and substance abuse is dual diagnosis. These people have been diagnosed to have two disorders that occur simultaneously. They can vary from alcohol and/or drug abuse coupled with any number of mental problems, including depression. The most important thing for someone suffering from alcohol or drug addiction to do is to seek professional help as soon as they can. The sooner they have a dual diagnosis, the sooner they can begin to put their lives back together.

Not only is it important to go to an addiction treatment center as soon as possible to help the person recover from the substance abuse associated with depression or other mental issues, but the lack of attention to the problem can also cause physical damage too. Liver damage caused by alcohol abuse is just one of many physical problems. Negative effects over time can result in heart disease, lung disease, cancer, and stroke, among others ( People suffering from depression and substance abuse just don’t take good care of themselves, and physical health problems can complicate the matter further.

Whether it’s an addiction treatment center in San Diego or one located on the opposite side of the country,  such a facility will outline a plan of positive action for the patient. The center can personalize an effective plan that will work in the recovery process for each individual because recovery doesn’t work the same way for everyone.

One very important step that is the same for everyone is the initial stage of detoxification. On one’s own, detoxification can be very dangerous. A treatment center will have a professional staff monitoring the vital signs of each patient detoxifying at intervals around the clock. At this point, the patient’s physical stability is the main focus.

Too often, even if people go to clinics specializing in detoxification, the now sober patient is released back into the same environment from which he or she came only to find him or herself back to the clinic over and over again because the associated depression has not been addressed. Each time, the person becomes even more hopeless and despaired because sobriety has failed, and they ultimately blame themselves for the failure even though they may express that others and/or circumstances are to blame. The guilt alone worsens the depression.

It’s evident, then, that prompt help is vitally necessary for those suffering from depression and substance abuse, and that the help must be for both conditions. If the problems are co-occurring, so too must be the solution to the problems. Any other method would be less than complete and a recipe for disaster in the long run. It’s extremely unfair to the patient, as well as unfair to all those family members and friends who are deeply concerned.

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Website Author and Editor Bio

Photo of Karl Perera, MA, DipLCKarl Perera is a fully qualified Life Coach (DipLC), Teacher (MA) and author of Self Esteem Secrets. He has taught at various universities including Durham, Leicester and Anglia Ruskin, Cambridge. He has run since 1997 and is an expert in Self Esteem and Self Confidence.