Many people struggling with substance abuse also have co-occurring mental health issues. Depression is one of the most common co-occurring disorders. According to MedlinePlus, “About half of people who have a mental disorder will also have a substance use disorder at some point in their lives and vice versa.” Early intervention and treatment is the best way to reduce mental health symptoms and side effects. The Redpoint Center in Longmont, Colorado, uses evidence-based and alternative holistic therapies to treat substance use disorder (SUD) and co-occurring depression.
How Does Co-Occurring Depression Affect Recovery?
Recovery from SUD comes with many challenges and requires people to make significant changes to their routines and behaviors. People with depression often have a more difficult time feeling motivated to overcome those challenges or make necessary changes to their lifestyle. In addition, unmanaged depression causes a lack of energy and focus, reducing the effectiveness of treatment. Co-occurring depression requires simultaneous treatment to ensure the best outcomes and reduce the risk of relapse.
What Are Common Signs of Depression?
Depression is challenging to diagnose in individuals with SUD. Both conditions share many overlapping risk factors and symptoms. The majority of people with SUD have depressive symptoms. However, not everyone meets the criteria for clinical depression. According to Addiction Science and Clinical Practice, “Mood disorders, including depression and bipolar disorders, are the most common psychiatric comorbidities among patients with substance use disorders.” Individuals who recognize the signs of depression are more likely to get treatment before symptoms become chronic.
Some common signs of depression include:
- Loss of interest in previously enjoyed activities
- Feeling hopeless, helpless, or afraid
- Extreme sadness
- Self-harming behaviors
- Suicidal thoughts or behaviors
- Frequent crying
- Feeling numb or disconnected from others
- Social isolation and withdrawal from loved ones
- Sleep disturbances, including insomnia or oversleeping
- Changes in appetite leading to significant weight loss or gain
- Unusual irritability
- Physical symptoms, including migraines or body aches
Depression looks different for everyone. Some people may have difficulty doing basic tasks of daily living, including dressing, cooking, cleaning, or maintaining personal hygiene. Other individuals may feel intense sadness or fatigue while being able to maintain personal and professional responsibilities. The symptoms and side effects exist along a spectrum. Often, a person’s access to social support and resources impacts the severity of symptoms. Professional recovery services ensure clients have the information and skills to cope with their co-occurring depression.
Outpatient Treatment for Co-Occurring Depression
Depression can be debilitating. Prescription medication is sometimes necessary to help clients manage depressive symptoms while participating in SUD recovery programs. After achieving physical and emotional stability in the program, most clients focus more fully on the underlying issues contributing to their depression. Often, SUD and co-occurring depression share overlapping causes. Treating one disorder may significantly reduce the symptoms of both.
Some of the most common treatment options for depression include:
- Psychotherapy, including cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT), dialectical behavior therapy (DBT), and other forms of talk therapy
- Prescription medications to reduce or manage symptoms
- Self-help groups and group therapy
Outpatient treatment allows clients to engage more often with family members and friends. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), “When people are socially connected and have stable and supportive relationships, they are more likely to make healthy choices and to have better mental and physical health outcomes.” In addition, “They are also better able to cope with hard times, stress, anxiety, and depression.” The Redpoint Center encourages clients to develop healthier social connections with peers, family members, and the care team during treatment and aftercare.
How Does The Redpoint Center Support Your Recovery
Depression affects how people see themselves and their motivation to make healthier choices. The Redpoint Center educates clients on the importance of replacing maladaptive behaviors and routines. In addition, the care team helps motivate and inspire those changes by modeling healthy behaviors, providing emotional support, and offering clients practical advice on how to achieve their recovery goals.
During treatment, clients regularly engage with the care team and peers in a controlled and structured environment. The safe space reduces triggers of depressive symptoms. The Redpoint Center also utilizes meditation, mindfulness-based techniques, and alternative holistic therapies to help clients feel more relaxed and focused during treatment.
Managing Depression During Aftercare
Aftercare is vital for individuals with co-occurring SUD and depression. In some cases, transitioning out of treatment may temporarily increase depression symptoms. The Redpoint Center offers alumni services to help clients who require additional support during the first few months of independent sobriety.
Successfully managing depression during aftercare may include the following:
- Continued individual therapy
- Support group meetings
- A strong support system
- Prescription medications to address more severe symptoms
Depression affects energy levels, mood, and focus. Aftercare treatment generally involves finding healthy ways to address those issues while maintaining sobriety. The clinical team collaborates with clients and their loved ones to determine what problems they may encounter during aftercare and how best to address them using the tools and resources provided by The Redpoint Center.
Depression is one of the most common mental health issues globally. Billions of families are affected by it every year. Individuals with SUD have an increased risk of experiencing depressive symptoms or being diagnosed with a depressive disorder. Co-occurring clinical depression may interfere with treatment for SUD unless clients receive simultaneous treatment for mental health symptoms. Prescription medication, psychotherapy, and peer support are the most common treatment options for clients with co-occurring depression. The Redpoint Center uses evidence-based and alternative holistic therapies to help clients successfully manage their depressive symptoms and develop healthy coping skills. To learn more about the programs and services we offer, call our office today at (303) 710-8496.