Addiction and Depression

Upon arrival at Sierra by the Sea our clients are examined by a physician, a psychologist and a psychiatrist. The psychiatrists can determine whether the client is struggling with mental disorders such as depression. Many are. Addictions and depression seem to go hand-in-hand which makes many wonder, “Which came first – the addiction or the depression? “

In one study, about half of addiction patients admitted to a drug treatment program for cocaine claimed pre-existing depression, indicating that rather than seeking out therapists, these people sought to self medicate with drugs. In another study, doctors estimated that 10 to 20% of alcoholics begin drinking to feel better because of depression. Self-medicating depression may also be a factor in Internet addiction as well.

Addiction and depression are common co-existing conditions. The Epidemiologic Catchment Area study conducted by the National Institute on Health reported that almost one-third of individuals with depression had a co-existing substance use disorder at some point in their lives (Regier et al, 1990). The National Comorbidity Study found that men with alcohol dependence had rates of depression three times higher than the general population; alcohol dependent women had four times the rates of depression (Kessler et al, 1997). Studies of clinical populations also show higher rates of these combined disorders (Salloum, Daley & Thase, 2000; Daley & Moss, 2002). Many clients have recurrent major depression, dysthymia (a chronic form of depression) or both major depression and dysthymia, also called “double depression.”

Professional treatment and involvement in a 12 step recovery program can make a significant positive impact on clients and their families in managing their mental disorders and improving the quality of life. There are many effective treatments for depression including interpersonal psychotherapy, cognitive behavioral therapy and supportive counseling; anti-depressant medications; and electroconvulsive therapy (ECT). There are also many effective treatments for addiction including behavioral therapies and counseling, and sometimes, the use of medications.

Recovering from substance use disorders is a challenging journey that feels more doable in an environment that tends to each individual’s complex needs and strengths. Our goal is to foster a treatment experience that is built on compassion, hope, and caring, and fueled by excellence in the provision of evidence-based and trauma-informed care.

– - Anonymous