When someone has an addiction and a mental health illness, it is called a dual diagnosis. According to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), about one-third of people dealing with a substance abuse problem also suffer from some form of mental illness.
Mental illness and addiction are common, treatable conditions that many people are able to overcome. Some of the most common mental health conditions are depression and anxiety, but the term covers everything from panic attacks to schizophrenia.
Many addictions involve alcohol, prescription drugs and street drugs, but can include pathological gambling, sex addiction and eating disorders.
Types of Co-occurring Disorders
Dual diagnosis, or co-occurring disorders, can comprise any type of addiction plus any type of mental health disorder. Here are some examples of conditions that qualify as comorbidities:
Heroin use and depression
Meth use and anxiety
Abuse of prescription drugs and borderline personality disorder
Crack cocaine and schizophrenia
Ecstasy and sex addiction
Alcohol and pathological gambling
Cocaine use and bulimia
There is an undeniable connection between addiction and mental health. For decades, treatment addressed only one diagnosis at a time. People were required to get clean and sober and then start a new treatment program that addressed mental health conditions. Now, we realize that the best way to treat co-occurring disorders is to deal with them concurrently.
The interconnected nature of mental health and addiction necessitate a simultaneous recovery process. Any other plan just doesn’t work.
Dual Diagnosis Facts
Dual diagnosis cases are much more common than many people realize. Here are some notable stats from SAMHSA on the interwoven nature of mental disorders and substance use disorder:
More than 43 million adults in America experience some type of mental illness.
More than 20 million adults experience substance use disorder.
About 8 million people have disorders from both groups.
50 percent of dual diagnosis patients do not receive treatment for either disorder.
Lack of treatment for symptoms can drive people to self-medicate with drugs and alcohol, and when someone falls prey to substance abuse, symptoms of one disorder tend to accentuate symptoms of the other. Mental disorders frequently co-occur with each other, as well as with substance use disorders.
The Impact of Trauma on Mental Health and Addiction
Trauma has a significant impact on our moods and our brains. Even years after a traumatic experience, people can suffer emotionally and psychologically. This type of suffering causes difficulties with mental stability and a desire to self-medicate to feel better.
When trauma is left untreated, a person often represses his or her painful memories to survive. Past trauma affects one’s:
Views on other people
How people behave in stressful situations
Because trauma intertwines mental disorders with addictions, it makes sense to use an integrated approach to therapy.
Co-occurring Disorders Treatment
Finding a dual diagnosis treatment program that includes therapy for both conditions is important. Many rehabilitation facilities are not capable of handling dual diagnosis patients. Therapy for simultaneous treatment of both diagnoses is still a relatively new concept.
Substance abuse is often rooted in psychiatric or emotional difficulties. Therefore, treating only the symptoms of drug abuse while leaving mental health conditions unresolved leaves patients struggling with the same issues that caused them to take substances.
Conversely, substance abuse is known to cause depression, anxiety and other mental health problems. The longer someone indulges in drugs, alcohol or other addictive habits, the more potential damage is done to the brain.
Integrated, simultaneous therapy proves to be the best, most effective rehabilitation treatment available today. Dual diagnosis patients are known to be a higher risk for violence, relapse, overdose and suicide.
Dual diagnosis patients require:
Individualized treatment plans
Longer rehab and aftercare
Since they are more difficult to treat, patients with a dual diagnosis need specialized attention and individualized care to achieve success in recovery.
Coping with Emotional Pain
Emotional pain is one of the biggest reasons people abuse drugs or alcohol and fall into addiction. Managing feelings is one of the most difficult tasks for people who have not learned coping skills. Turning to substances seems easier to dull the pain, and for a time, it does feel good. But soon, life becomes unmanageable and the consequences of drug use rob people of their lives.
In rehab centers that address comorbidity, patients learn how to effectively deal with their feelings and do the hard work that emotional sobriety requires. Once a person has the tools to process their feelings and work through them with healthy coping skills, they can let go of addiction(s) and begin their recovery.
Dual Diagnosis Help for Families
Family members want to help their loved ones get well, but often don’t know where to start. The average family isn’t well versed in psychiatric conditions, but there are signs and symptoms you can look for in order to help your loved one.
Signs and symptoms of addiction and mental health problems:
Decline in attendance and grades at school or work
Lying and stealing (missing valuables around the house)
Hearing, seeing or believing in things that are not real
Dramatic shifts in mood and energy
Insomnia or sleeping all the time
Disinterest in personal hygiene
Reckless and risky behavior
Family history of addiction or mental illness
Dual Diagnosis Rehab
With so many people affected by co-occurring disorders, rehab centers are realizing the need to incorporate mental health therapy into their programs for addiction. Both disorders require equal attention.
The choice of a rehab center is an important decision that you should not make lightly. It can have a long-lasting impact on your life, for good or bad. To complicate matters, people suffering from addiction and mental health issues often struggle to make good decisions. They need a loving family member to guide them in finding the right help.
Maryland Recovery offers top-notch treatment for both addiction and mental health. We are one of the most comprehensive long-term dual diagnosis facilities on the East Coast. Mental health conditions and addictions can require a lifetime of recovery. The longer your treatment, the more favorable the statistics are for a successful recovery and minimized chance of relapse. Maryland Recovery offers the necessary long-term care, providing families with a solid foundation.
Trying to help a loved-one overcome a drug or alcohol abuse disorder is hard, and when that person is also struggling with a co-occurring mental health condition, it’s easy to give in to feelings of hopelessness and despair. However, the professionals at many dual diagnosis treatment centers understand how substance abuse and mental health disorders frequently go hand in hand. These experts understand that the only way to overcome addiction is by treating the problem at its source, which is very often an undiagnosed psychological issue.
Let’s take a closer look at some of the most common mental health disorders faced by American adults, as well as how they relate to issues with substance abuse.
Depression and Substance Abuse
The National Institute of Mental Health has estimated that nearly 7 percent of American adults suffer from a major depressive disorder. When compared to the population as a whole, men and women who have been diagnosed with major depression are between 3 to 4 times as likely to develop a dependence on alcohol in their lifetime.
Common symptoms of depression include:
Depressed mood nearly all of the day for at least 5 days per week, for a period of at least 2 weeks
Loss of interest in activities that were once found enjoyable
Either sleeping too much or too little for an extended period of time
Significant changes in body weight and appetite
Impaired concentration and thinking ability
Recurring thoughts about or attempts of self-harm or suicide
Constant feelings of guilt, shame, and worthlessness
Excessive feelings of fatigue and tiredness on an almost daily basis
Anxiety Disorders and Substance Abuse
Individuals suffering from an anxiety disorder experience overwhelming feelings of worry, nervousness, and fear. These feelings make it extremely difficult to cope with the stresses and challenges of day-to-day life.
People with panic disorders frequently turn to drugs with depressive effects such as alcohol, opiates, and benzos as a way to self-medicate their symptoms. Over time, this pattern of substance abuse frequently develops into a physical addiction.
Common warning signs that a loved one suffers from an anxiety disorder include:
Difficulty relaxing or sitting still
Elevated heart rate or heart palpitations
Constant and intrusive feelings of uneasiness, worry, fear, and panic
Muscle tension and sore muscles
Shortness of breath
Episodes of dizziness, nausea, or vomiting
Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) and Substance Abuse
A study performed at The National Drug and Alcohol Research Center in Sydney, Australia reports that between 50 to 66 percent of individuals experiencing a drug or alcohol abuse disorder also suffer from PTSD. There are a number of events and experiences that can trigger the development of PTSD, including:
Witnessing the sudden death of a friend or family member
Serious automobile accidents
Living through a natural disaster
Being diagnosed with a life-threatening illness
Sexual and physical abuse, especially during childhood
Common signs that someone has developed PTSD include:
Re-experiencing the traumatic event through flashbacks, nightmares, or intrusive thoughts
Avoiding others, especially those associated with the traumatic event
Behavioral changes such as aggressive outbursts and engaging in reckless actions
Sudden and unpredictable mood swings
Changes in sleep patterns
Depression and suicidal thoughts or actions
Due to the risk of re-traumatizing the patient, managing both PTSD and substance abuse treatment at the same should only be done by professionals with experience in dual diagnosis treatment.
ADHD and Substance Abuse
Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) is a mental condition associated with an inability to pay attention, excessive physical and cognitive activity, and poor impulse control. A growing body of evidence has shown that there is a strong connection between ADHD and substance abuse disorders. In fact, alcoholism has been found to be between 5 to 10 times more common in those with ADHD than in those without the condition.
The symptoms of ADHD include:
Difficulty completing tasks
Difficulty paying attention
Constantly losing or misplacing personal items
Restlessness and constant fidgeting
Because ADHD negatively impacts so many areas of life performance, it frequently triggers the development of other mental disorders, such as depression and anxiety.
Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD) and Substance Abuse
OCD is a type of panic disorder characterized by a compulsive need to complete various rituals and patterns of behavior. Those with OCD often fear that failing to complete these rituals will have disastrous consequences, such as the death or illness of a loved one. Many people with OCD will turn to drugs or alcohol to self-medicate these intrusive thoughts, leading to a rate of substance abuse that is almost twice that of the general population.
Signs that a loved-one may suffer from OCD include:
An obsessive fear of germs and illness
The need to maintain perfect symmetry and order of their surroundings
An inability to go on with their day if certain rituals are not completed
Excessively checking to make sure the door is locked, the lights are off, their hands are clean, etc.
Constant intrusive thoughts about taboo subjects, such as sex or violence.
Panic Disorders and Substance Abuse
A person with a panic disorder experiences recurrent and unpredictable panic attacks. Panic attacks are different from generalized anxiety and are characterized by heart palpitation, profuse sweating, numbness, shortness of breath, and an impending sense of doom. Other common symptoms of panic disorder include:
Constant fear of losing control
Frequently experiencing hot flashes or chills
Frequently feeling faint, dizzy, or nauseous
Sudden discomfort in the chest
People with panic disorders frequently isolate themselves from others to avoid suffering from a panic attack in public. Panic disorder sufferers often live in a constant state of fear, as they may experience an episode of panic with little to no warning.
Turning to drugs or alcohol to cope with these symptoms quickly becomes a vicious cycle, as many of the substances used for self-medication can themselves trigger the onset of a panic attack.
Schizophrenia and Substance Abuse
Schizophrenia is a severe form of mental illness affecting roughly 1 percent of American adults. Schizophrenia is known to cause a wide range of problems, primarily with regulating thoughts, behaviors, and emotions.
Telltale signs of Schizophrenia include:
Thoughts and beliefs that are not based in reality. This can include delusions of being monitored or followed, or the belief that someone is trying to communicate through coded messages.
Auditory and visual hallucinations, the most common example of which is hearing voices. In severe cases, the hallucinations can take the form of an entirely separate reality.
Disorganized and incoherent thinking. People with schizophrenia often speak in “word salad,” where words are strung together seemingly at random.
Behavioral changes such as mood swings, aggression, social isolation, and neglecting personal hygiene.
Almost 50 percent of people with schizophrenia will abuse drugs or alcohol in their lifetime. That’s a rate of substance abuse nearly 5 times greater than in the general population of the U.S.
Dual Diagnosis Treatment in Maryland
If you or a loved one is suffering from a substance abuse disorder as well as a co-occurring mental illness, don’t hesitate to reach out to a member of our team at Maryland Recovery today. Our east coast dual diagnosis treatment programs can help get you started on the path towards lifelong recovery.
The United States is combatting the opioid crisis on several fronts. At the legislative level, lawmakers have begun regulating the dispersal of prescription opioid drugs. In New Jersey, for instance, a law passed in 2017 now limits the initial prescription fill on any opioid-based medication to 5 pills – a proactive first step to regulate doctors, and one that will hopefully reduce dependency for new patients.
Law enforcement at the local, state and federal level, are also working to stop the illegal importation of large quantities of narcotics, such as fentanyl, from countries like Mexico and China – a noble effort to reduce the supply of these highly addictive drugs on America’s streets.
But the primary and most effective means to curb addiction and reduce overdoses will likely stem from recovery-based initiatives – specifically by increasing substance abuse and mental health funding and passing parity legislation requiring private insurers to better cover treatment, thereby increasing access to patients in need of recovery services.
In 2016 there were 2056 opioid deaths in New Jersey – ranking as the 10th deadliest state for fatal overdoses. In response, last year Governor Christie signed a law increasing insurance coverage for 30% of the state’s residents and increasing New Jersey addiction help, to better cover treatment options. In September of the same year the Governor allocated $200 million aimed at increasing New Jersey addiction treatment access – including $40 million earmarked for Medicaid and Medicare services (lower income).
According to the statewide Substance Abuse Overview Report – as of May 2017, there were 76,509 treatment admissions in the state of New Jersey.
Top Five New Jersey Counties
Of the 21 counties in New Jersey, five counties (Ocean, Camden, Essex, Monmouth and Middlesex) made up over half (56.6%) of the total New Jersey addiction treatment admissions. Four of these counties are in the bottom half of per capita income, and two are in the bottom quadrant. Residents seeking New Jersey heroin rehab were most common in these counties.
Substance Abuse Treatment Admissions, 2016 State of New Jersey Top 5 Counties:
New Jersey County
Rest of the State
Poverty and Addiction
Many believe there is a high correlation between the instances of substance abuse and poverty. There is certainly a statistical correlation, though addiction is proven to affect individuals from all walks of life, ethnicities, class levels, educational level, occupations, gender and sexuality. According to the National Council on Drug Abuse, the strongest prevalent correlation linking addiction and poverty is the lack of resources disadvantaged individuals have in seeking adequate treatment. If it’s harder for a distant population to seek treatment, obviously there would be a higher prevalence of substance use in that population. Which is why Gov. Christie’s allocations to Medicaid and Medicare are so important in this battle.
Incarceration: Addiction And Mental Health
According to a 2006 Bureau of Justice Statistics Report, it was estimated that over half of the U.S. jail and prison population had symptoms of serious mental illness as indicated by the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM). A 2004 report indicated that in the state prison population, 47% of violent offenders, 52% of drug offenders and 27% of property owners reported either drug dependence/abuse, and/or exhibited symptoms of serious mental illness.
Historically, jails and prisons have become de-facto mental health and substance use treatment centers, with correctional officers unwillingly placed in the role of mediator, facilitator, and caregiver – most with little or no formal training in social work, case management, or behavioral health care. New Jersey heroin addiction has been outpacing New Jersey heroin rehabs and now New Jersey is working to fix that.
Inmate Drug Treatment Programs
In May of 2017, Governor Christie allocated $20 million to reconstitute a shuttered prison facility at Fort Dix and convert the complex into a 700 bed, acute drug treatment center for male jail and prison inmates. A similar 65-bed women’s program has recently opened at Edna Mahan Correctional Facility in Union Township. Both programs are medium security and provide inmates with access to medication-assisted treatment, 12-step programs, and case management services. Should the program yield successful results, backers of the initiative believe the facilities at Fort Dix and Edna Mahan could serve as a model for states nationwide to replicate.
The United States has a long history of criminalizing drug addiction, but some cities in the U.S. are taking an outside the box approach to those suffering.
Treatment Models In Major Western Cities – Non-Criminalizing
Over the past five years, alternative substance abuse treatment models have emerged, specifically related to the opioid epidemic, centering on the creation of “safe havens” for drug users, operating now in major cities like Seattle, San Francisco, Los Angeles and Denver. Within these “safe havens,” drug use is essentially overlooked, clean needles are provided for users, and these spaces are staffed by counselors and medical personnel supplied with life-saving medication to treat overdoses and to ultimately prevent death.
Taking a more practical approach, these centers ease a user into recovery, keeping him or her as safe as possible while fighting the addiction. At the same time, they isolate the drug use and the corresponding crime associated therein, into one segregated locale, within any given community, minimizing the exposure to other residents, in particular ,the exposure to children.
Recovery Treatment Is The Right Choice
With every opioid dose, the risk of death or serious harm to a user increases. Drug and Alcohol addiction is not sustainable. Maryland Recovery fully supports our neighbors in New Jersey, and across the country. We support the doctors, nurses, therapists and social workers on the front lines battling this crisis. And we support the efforts of governors and lawmakers who are taking commonsense steps to open access to treatment for everyone who asks for help.
At Maryland Recovery, we offer a helping hand to all the New Jersey families struggling with addiction and offer treatment options for anyone in recovery.
Maryland has had its first case of poisoning from synthetic marijuana that can be tied to the rash of frightening poisonings seen in Illinois. On the heels of this case, Maryland health officials are warning residents to beware of the products, and reiterate the message that these illegal drugs are dangerous and deadly.
The drugs in question are synthetic cannabinoids – also known as “spice” or synthetic marijuana. Products of this type have been banned in the state of Maryland since Maryland enacted a tough criminal ban on synthetic marijuana products in October of 2013.
As of April 17th, Baltimore Health Commissioner Dr. Leana Wen resounded the warnings of other U.S. health officials. “We want to warn all of our residents of the warning signs of someone who may have taken synthetic cannabinoids, and urge anyone who witnesses these symptoms to call 911 or take the individual to the ER immediately,” said Doctor Wen.
The Dangers of Synthetic Marijuana and Synthetic Cannabinoids
The compounds in various forms of synthetic marijuana change often – a tactic the drug manufacturers utilize to try and stay ahead of strict drug laws and avoid the harsh penalties. This has led to some very serious health issues in users, who never know exactly what chemical composition they are actually using. This latest composition has proved to be more deadly than past formulas, leaving 3 dead and more than 80 cases of severe bleeding in the Chicago area.
Officials say that Brodifacoum – a common ingredient in rat poison — was found in the batches in Illinois, and Maryland Poison Center fears there could be more cases like this coming in the Maryland area. The poison causes uncontrolled bleeding – as it is an anticoagulant.
Symptoms of Dangerous Synthetic Marijuana Batches
Residents of Maryland are being told to look out for the tell-tale signs of synthetic cannabinoids use, including:
Additionally, while the sale of these products is illegal under Maryland State Law, some businesses continue to sell the previously unregulated synthetic marijuana products. Officials are asking the public to help identify any businesses that are still selling the products, and businesses can be reported by dialing 311.
In cases of ingestion of any form of synthetic marijuana, get help immediately. Call 911 for emergencies, and you can get #POISONHELP from Maryland Poison Center direct to your phone.
Mainstream treatment options for substance addiction vary significantly in duration, services offered, program focus, cost and projected outcomes. Durations can range from as little as 72 hours and to well over a year. Shorter stays generally yield a higher frequency of relapse. Longer stays, using a holistic treatment protocol, coupled with long-term outpatient addiction treatment programs, provide individualized treatment plans with a better chance to sustain a long-term recovery.
Long-term is the crucial idea in long-term addiction treatment and long-term recovery is the goal that all treatment models aim to achieve for their clients. To achieve that objective, it’s important to realize first, that most addictive behaviors have taken place over a sustained period of time, with months or even years to grow into their current state.
Habitual, repetitive and long-term behavior is not easily curbed or stopped, and is even more difficult to control on your own – without a well-crafted substance abuse treatment plan. It is important to seek qualified, professional help in building your recovery plan.
The First Steps In Building A Long-Term Recovery plan
Realize you need help. Quitting drugs and alcohol isn’t easy. Understanding that a problem exists is the first step to solving that problem.
Seek help. Asking for help is the next step, and as stated before, there are countless options for you or your loved one to choose from to get that help.
Research options. Insurance coverage will vary from program to program, but when choosing a treatment plan for substance abuse consider going with a treatment facility that employs a long-term, holistic approach to recovery. Depending on the program you or your loved one chooses, the chances of sustaining your recovery will significantly increase from the onset of treatment, before you even walk through the door.
Commit for the long haul. Even after the first 30 or 60 days of treatment is complete, many individuals in early recovery are not ready for a full transition back into normal life. Outpatient treatment is an option, utilizing individual and group structured therapy, coupled with AA/NA meetings. Many insurance policies will cover outpatient addiction treatment programs for the first year of sobriety.
Once a patient begins treatment, physical and emotional health typically improves quickly.
Chemical dependency subsides
Cognitive functioning increases
Diet is regulated
Social skills return
Long-term goal setting begins
What’s Next? The Freedom To Dream
With a clear mind, free of addictive substances, most individuals in recovery are given a window into a new world; the ability and the time to explore new ideas, new people, and new opportunities. Our world is filled with endless possibilities, and exploring these ideas, setting realistic goals, mapping out a plan for achievement is paramount to sustain any long-term recovery from substance use.
Start by asking these questions of yourself:
What makes me happy in life?
How can I weave that happiness into a career?
Where do I see myself in thirty days? Six months, a year, three, ten years down the road?
Begin to dream, but it’s important not to lose sight of your short-term objectives as well.
Five Things To Focus On While You Are In Treatment
Effective recovery centers usually have a medical professional on staff to treat and advise clients. Listen to the advice, ask questions, and don’t be afraid to explore all treatment options. One in three individuals who suffer from addiction also deal with mental health issues. There is no stigma, and there is nothing shameful about exploring options with a physician to improve your mental and emotional health.
In a typical recovery center you will have access to hundreds of years of lived experience, some professional, some shared, some more valuable than others. Use this time to get to know the staff and your peers, and try to gain insight from their experiences, to help improve your outcomes moving forward.
Don’t be afraid to speak up and share your own journey, to articulate your own truth to those same staff members and peers. Have a thick skin; not all humans are conditioned alike.
Process those experiences in group and individual therapy sessions, in social settings at mealtime, and on outings. Talk to your family or loved ones back home – get their feedback as well.
People who take the time to write out long-term goals, to periodically review, adapt, and update those expectations, are proven to achieve those goals more than individuals who do not take the time to set them.
What To Expect As You Move Into The Next Phase Of Recovery
There’s an old adage in recovery: people, places and things. The more you update your new life from your old, avoiding the people, places and things that either enabled, or propelled your action, the greater your outlook for long-term, sustainable recovery will be.
It is important to think of addiction recovery treatment as a life-long endeavor. Whether it’s 72 hours of detox, a 90 day rehab, or more than a year of inpatient care, the addiction is not cured. In fact, the addiction is never cured. Typically, successful patients regularly attend support group meetings (AA/NA), connect with a sponsor, and manage their recovery through those outlets for the rest of their lives.
Secondary Aftercare. The resources that support groups provide are highly effective, and extremely important in maintaining sobriety. However, research indicates that those resources are not always enough. Establishing a secondary, unbiased, medical or psychological professional as a supplement to support groups, enhances the probability for long-term sobriety. In this relationship, you’re getting a trained, certified professional; and the action is transactional. Unlike support groups, when a monetary transaction is involved, there is a fiduciary duty for the therapist or psychiatrist, or life coach to serve your best interests.
To Sum Up
Research. When you’re ready to take the first step, and start changing your life or the life of someone you love, research your options for addiction care and drug treatment programs. Consider choosing extended rehab care with a holistic recovery center. Those treatment facilities not only address acute chemical dependence (detox needs), they will also treat the whole person – the mental, social, emotional issues that have contributed to the addiction.
Engage. Once in treatment, take every class, every peer, and every therapist or doctor as an opportunity to learn and grow.
Set goals. Write out your long-term goals and objectives, share them with your therapist or caseworker; talk about those goals with your friends and family members. Take criticism, refine your plan, and never sell yourself short.
Comprehensive Aftercare. Addiction is a chronic, in-curable disease; it is however, manageable, and the best way to ensure long-term sobriety is to employ as many resources as possible. Remember, professional advice and care is key to maintaining your recovery.
Countless Americans struggling with a substance use disorder understand the powerful connection between addiction and depression. In fact, it is estimated that 1 in 3 people suffering from clinical depression will turn to drugs or alcohol in a desperate attempt at self-medication. While drugs and alcohol may be effective in blocking out the painful symptoms of depression in the short term, substance abuse only makes the problem worse over time.
To effectively treat addiction, depression and anxiety must be addressed at the same time. It’s not uncommon for people to work toward sobriety while neglecting other aspects of their mental health. Individuals who make this mistake frequently report that, even after one year sober, depression will eventually lead to relapse.
If you or someone you love is suffering from addiction and a co-occurring mental disorder, the best way to achieve long-term recovery is through a comprehensive dual diagnosis rehab program.
What Is Depression?
Depression and sadness are not the same things. There are many reasons to feel sad from time to time: Losing a job, going through a breakup, even missing the new episode of your favorite show can all lead to feeling down in the dumps, at least for a while.
Depression, on the other hand, is a chronic condition that can last for weeks, months, even years on end, and it interferes with every aspect of a person’s life.
According to the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, or DSM, a person must experience at least five symptoms of depression almost every day for a minimum of two weeks. Some of these symptoms include:
A loss of interest in activities that were once enjoyable
Problems with memory and concentration
Unintentional weight gain or weight loss
A low, depressed mood
Changes in sleep patterns (either sleeping too much, or too little)
Thoughts of suicide, or attempted suicide
Unwanted and intrusive thoughts about death and dying
Slow reaction time and coordination problems
The Link Between Depression and Addiction
Recent research has shown that many of the factors that play a role in drug and alcohol addiction can also increase the likelihood of developing depression. Here are a few of the risk factors for developing these two conditions together:
A family history of addiction and depression
Experience of emotional trauma in the past
Suffering from imbalances in brain chemistry
Does addiction lead to depression, or does depression lead to addiction? This question is pretty hard to answer, as the evidence seems to go both ways.
In one study, roughly 50 percent of patients entering a treatment program for cocaine addiction reported experiencing pre-existing symptoms of depression. In another study, physicians estimated that as many as 20 percent of alcoholics took up drinking as a way to self-medicate their depression.
There are other studies, however, showing that addiction frequently precedes depression. After surveying more than 18,000 American teenagers, researchers found that young people who partake in drug use and risky sexual behaviors are much more likely to experience depression a year later. However, teens who reported being depressed were not more likely to experiment with drugs in the following year.
This “chicken or the egg” question has no easy answer and varies widely from person to person. The important thing to remember is that once someone has developed both addiction and depression, the two conditions reinforce each other. This is why it is so important for people seeking drug addiction depression treatment to make sure both their substance abuse issues and depression are addressed at the same time.
Depression After Becoming Sober
It’s not uncommon for individuals to develop depression during the recovery process, which can be an especially troubling experience. After all, making the decision to get sober is a good thing, so it doesn’t make much sense when the person feels worse about themselves than they did before.
When this happens, it’s important to keep in mind that many addicts use drugs and alcohol as a way to keep negative emotions at bay. When such a person is no longer using substances, they are forced to confront their suppressed thoughts and feelings head on, often for the first time in their lives.
There is a growing body of evidence showing that even after 90 days sober, depression symptoms may still persist. Researchers at Yale University have discovered that it takes on average between 90 and 100 days for the brain to fully adjust to sobriety. While it may be painful, going through after-addiction depression is often a necessary part of the healing process.
The Best Addiction and Depression Rehab Strategies
Finding the right treatment plan for someone suffering from addiction and co-occurring depression is not easy. Symptoms of depression like low self-worth, lack of motivation and a desire to isolate oneself can make the work of recovery much harder. And because the symptoms of depression are so similar to the symptoms of withdrawal, an addiction therapist must perform a thorough psychiatric assessment to accurately diagnose a person’s clinical depression.
Once diagnosed with co-occurring depression, clients enrolled in a substance abuse rehabilitation program will be assigned a customized course of treatment. Some of the most effective treatment options for those with co-occurring depression include:
Motivational interviewing allows clients and therapists to work together in discovering strategies for achieving goals and making positive life changes. Motivational interviewing is especially effective for clients struggling with depression, as they tend to need extra guidance in order to uncover the internal sources of motivation needed to achieve sobriety. This type of therapy typically takes place in a one-on-one setting with a professional therapist.
Activities such as yoga, meditation and physical exercise have a huge impact on treating the symptoms of depression. Rehab programs for co-occurring depression and substance abuse are much more successful when they incorporate holistic therapies during treatment, as recovery is just as much about healing the spirit as it is about healing the body.
The types of therapies will vary from facility to facility, so make so you inquire about the provider’s holistic program before beginning a dual diagnosis treatment program.
Potential Antidepressant Medications
The most widely used antidepressant drugs are SSRIs like Prozac, Celexa and Zoloft. These medications help the brain produce more serotonin, a neurotransmitter that plays a major role in mood regulation.
Because SSRI medications can help reduce the harmful symptoms of depression, addiction recovery usually becomes much more manageable. However, you want to make sure to only use this medication for a short amount of time if your treatment team prescribes it to you. SSRIs can be fairly addictive in their own right, so all parties should tread carefully.
Seeking Addiction & Depression Recovery
It can be tough to accept help for your depression, especially when you’re also struggling to accept help for drug or alcohol addiction. But getting treatment for both at the same time through a dual diagnosis rehab program is the best way to get your life back on track.
Learn more about the innovative approach to dual diagnosis treatment at Maryland Recovery, and begin your journey toward a life free from addiction today!
After prolonged drug or alcohol use, the first step to making your life whole again is to rid your body of the toxic substances that fueled the addiction. In addiction treatment, this first essential step is commonly known as detox. In a physiological sense, detox is a process by which harmful chemicals or toxins are removed from your biological system. Ridding your physical body of these toxins can take days, weeks or even months to complete. Though the deep-rooted psychological effects of prolonged drug or alcohol addiction can take years to heal.
Research indicates the most effective treatment trajectory for someone in early recovery is to be found in the comprehensive treatment of holistic drug and alcohol rehabs.
What Does Holistic Mean?
Holistic describes a series of interconnected parts, whose collective purpose is only revealed in the context of a greater whole. In this case, the person is the greater whole.
Holistic medicine is a mode of treatment designed to improve the health outcome of the whole person and to focus care beyond just the physical symptoms of the disease. Holistic rehabs incorporate mental, spiritual, emotional, and social functioning into the treatment plan. Whether it concerns holistic heroin detox, holistic alcohol detox or holistic prescription drug detox, the goal of treating the whole person is constant.
Why Are Holistic Addiction Programs Important?
Whether an individual has spent weeks, months or decades battling addiction, the chemical imbalances produced in the brain take time to heal and recalibrate. Over a prolonged period of substance use, normal social functioning, the ability to maintain healthy interpersonal relationships with friends, family and loved ones can be severely affected. The ability to maintain employment or educational goals, establishing consistency with your diet and adhering to a regular exercise routine, can all be hindered by substance addiction.
Essential Aspects Of A Holistic Addiction Treatment Program
Medical treatment. Treatment in a holistic detox center involves the whole body, including the physical and mental states – and looking at short-term and long-term medical options to regulate the systems of your body and brain to promote long-term recovery. This can include medication for depression, anxiety or compulsive disorders.
Individual therapy. Having an independent third-party expert evaluate your past behavior and weigh in on your future goals and expectations is also essential in any holistic drug or alcohol rehab center.
Group therapy. Finding respite from your own situation through the shared experience of others – group therapy allows individuals in recovery to not only benefit from the connections made, but to begin giving back, sharing advice, helping peers find their own strength.
Physical activity. Exercise reduces stress and produces natural endorphins that can counteract the withdrawal symptoms resulting from substance detox. Regular physical activity can bring structure to an otherwise chaotic life, can have a positive effect on confidence, and increase the probability of achieving life goals.
Substance addiction often results in poor diet and malnutrition. A healthy diet can affect not only your physical appearance, but also your mental and emotional well-being. Exercise combined with diet can increase longevity and provide an added layer of structure to your life.
Meditation and Yoga are proven methods to reduce stress, focus your good energy and promote positivity. As a coping mechanism, exploring spirituality can reduce stress, reduce your chances for relapse, and decrease your risk of any number of major health conditions.
Individuals battling addiction typically struggle to maintain healthy interpersonal relationships. Cultivating and sustaining healthy relationships are essential to achieving and sustaining happiness in life. It may take time to re-build and to mend fences. Accountability, empathy, humility, and grace – focusing on: What can I do for you, not how can you help me.
12-Step Programs. These programs are a key component of most holistic rehabs, and the longest standing method of treatment for drug and alcohol addiction – Narcotics Anonymous (NA) and Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) programs have proven to be among the most effective ways to maintain long-term sobriety.
The Dangers Of A Non-Holistic Treatment Program
Non-holistic treatment programs typically have a single focus: to get the client off the substance he or she is addicted to. Typically, there is no counseling or therapy involved. These programs are positioned solely to physically remove the toxins from a person’s system. Once an individual is stabilized medically the treatment ends.
Non-holistic treatment programs typically have a higher rate of relapse than the programs of holistic rehab centers.
A National Institute on Drug Addiction report found that heroin users who received non-holistic opioid detox reported a 91% relapse-rate in drug use. And 59% of those cases reported relapse less than a week after receiving treatment.
Holistic Dual Diagnosis Treatment
According to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHA), in 2014 there were 21.5 million Americans suffering from substance use disorder, with 7.5 million of those also suffering from a persistent mental health disorder. This classification is known as a dual diagnosis, or co-occurring mental health and substance abuse disorder.
More than one in three individuals suffering from addiction issues is also battling a serious mental health condition. The substance issue may be a result of the individual self-medicating the symptoms of the disorder.
Common symptoms of a mental health disorder include:
One of the difficulties in treating a patient with a dual-diagnosis is that those individuals are not always open and honest with medical professionals regarding the drugs or alcohol he or she may using. Psychiatric drugs should never be mixed with even a small quantity of alcohol, and certainly not with any powerful street drugs or prescription opioids.
How Does Holistic Rehabilitation Integrate Mental Health And Addiction Treatment?
Holistic prescription drug detox and holistic alcohol detox rehabilitation take your mental health and well-being into account; the treatment is not confined to the biological process of detoxifying the harmful chemicals from your body. That detox process is always the first step, but holistic rehabs push further, providing individuals in recovery with the tools, the insight, and if needed, the psychiatric medication, to facilitate a long-term, sustainable, substance-free life.
During and after recovery from an addiction, support groups are necessary. Support groups give those recovering from addiction a formal support system. Active participation in these groups can reduce the rate of relapse and encourage commitment to recovery. Group members provide support and friendship to others who have suffered from the same addictions. Group members encourage sobriety and work to keep others on track.
Traditional Recovery Support Groups
One of the most common support groups for addiction recovery is Alcoholics Anonymous (AA). The group created a 12-step program model for recovery, which many groups still use. AA and 12-step programs are based in spiritual practice, requiring members to surrender to a higher power. Many people have found this practice unappealing. Luckily, there are several alternatives to these popular programs.
The most important part of any addiction recovery is finding a treatment plan suitable for your needs. This includes finding a long-term support group to fit your belief system. There are a variety of support groups available, each providing a different experience for its members. Research a few different groups to understand which would be best for you.
Alternatives To AA And 12-Step Programs
If traditional support groups do not fit into your lifestyle, there are several alternatives to AA and 12-step programs. It is important to find a program that fits your specific needs. There are many avenues used to combat addiction, such as:
Self-Management And Recovery Training (SMART) Recovery
SMART Recovery is a program rooted in the self-empowerment of its members. The group offers in-person meetings but also has a strong online presence. Online support provides daily meetings, chat rooms, and discussion forums. Members have access to these features 24/7. Recovery support follows a four-point program:
Obtaining and maintaining motivation
Learning to manage urges
Handling emotions, thoughts, and behaviors
Finding and striking balance in life
During group support sessions, members focus on one of the four support points. Members receive homework or projects to complete during the week. The group is secular and nonprofit. Group members focus solely on the four points and supporting each other as each works through them.
Women For Sobriety
This group concentrates on the emotional needs of women focused on achieving and maintaining sobriety. The support group bases itself on the belief that addictions begin as a response to stress, loneliness, frustration, or emotional deprivation. Women for Sobriety is a self-help program, supplemented with online meetings. Meeting attendance includes six to 10 women, all working through their own addictions. Each woman supports the others and works through the 13 statements of acceptance.
Group members read the acceptance statements each morning, choosing one to practice daily for a week. Individuals work through each of the 13 statements with the support of other group members. The goal is to make each of the acceptance statements part of everyday life and promote self-enhancing behaviors.
Secular Organizations For Sobriety (SOS)
SOS is a nonprofit organization focused on supporting one another through group meetings. The organization does not have a formal structure. Rather, SOS is a loose-knit organization allowing anyone to start a group. If there are no in-person meetings available to individuals in need, the organization provides online support systems also.
The organization is based solely on group support. Unlike other recovery organizations, it does not have a set of rules or standards for members. Instead, the group environment encourages members to share experiences, insights, and scientific information. The group prides itself on being secular and not having “hidden agendas.” The group offers support for those suffering from any addictions, including drugs, alcohol, food, and sex.
LifeRing Secular Recovery
LifeRing Secular is a worldwide network of members suffering from addiction to alcohol or non- prescription drugs. The organization’s philosophy is to strengthen the Sober Self and weaken the Addict Self. Meetings occur in person and online and allow members to connect with others for support. LifeRing encourages members to only accept aspects of treatment that work for them and choose a path to fit individual needs.
The group has three fundamental principles, known as 3-S. The 3-S model is the focus of conversation and recovery for members.
• Sobriety: Basic membership in LifeRing requires members to remain abstinent from drugs and alcohol. Sobriety is the number one priority of LifeRing members.
• Secularity: Religion is not an aspect of recovery, nor is it discussed during meetings. LifeRing prides itself on remaining secular. The group also encourages members to attend 12-step meetings, if they feel doing so would be helpful.
• Self-Help: Individual motivation and effort are the keys to recovery. The group is available to support the individual’s recovery and abstinence efforts, regardless of approach.
This organization devotes itself to individuals in the beginning stages of problem drinking. Moderation Management works to prevent members from going from problem drinking to developing a full-blown alcohol dependency. The group promotes the recognition of risky drinking behaviors, teaching members to drink in moderation. Moderation Management believes drinking in moderation is a more achievable goal than complete sobriety. The group holds members to five standards:
Members take personal responsibility for their recovery from a drinking problem.
People helping people is the strength of the organization.
People who help others to recover also help themselves.
Self-esteem and self-management are essential to recovery.
Members treat each other with respect and dignity.
Only those with non-physical dependencies should consider Moderation Management.
As a Christian recovery group, Celebrate Recovery is based from the 12-step program. The program is not associated with AA and works out of churches across the country. The program itself is free but does require members to purchase books and literature on the recovery steps. Supporting literature includes in-depth steps, Biblical comparisons, and eight principles of recovery based on the beatitudes.
Local Addiction Support Groups
Nearly all towns and cities provide local support groups for those recovering from addictions. Those seeking nationally chartered or private groups can find them through an online search of their local areas. After finding a local group, visit websites or review group documentation to ensure the values align with your own. There are many wonderful, supportive groups available that do not have formal organizations.
Finding A Support Group To Fit Your Needs
There are many options available to suit personal needs. Religious and non-religious addiction support groups offer unparalleled support for those in recovery. Choose a group to fit your belief systems and motivating factors. Finding a group of supportive individuals can prevent relapse and isolation, increasing your chances for success.
The Dangers Of Benzodiazepine Withdrawal – Finding Safe Benzo Detox
Benzodiazepine medications are some of the most commonly prescribed drugs in the United States. These drugs can treat anxiety disorders, seizures, and sleep disorders. However, they are also habit-forming and one of the most dangerous types of addictive drugs. Detoxing from benzodiazepines requires a carefully planned cessation program and medical assistance, especially once physical dependence has manifested.
Uses For Benzodiazepine Medications
Most benzodiazepine medication acts as a depressant on the central nervous system, suppressing some of the automatic responses that lead to the symptoms of anxiety disorders or seizures. Most doctors recommend short-term use of these drugs and will gradually lower a patient’s dose until he or she does not need them anymore. This is a very delicate process because people who abuse benzodiazepine medications put themselves at risk of addiction and the subsequent withdrawal, which can be fatal in some cases.
Types Of Benzodiazepines
Benzodiazepines exist in hundreds of forms, some of which are slow-acting and long-lasting while others are fast-acting but wear off quickly. Different benzodiazepine medications will lead to similar patterns of abuse and withdrawal symptoms, but the rate of addiction varies based on the type of drug.
Xanax – One of the most commonly prescribed benzodiazepine medications in the U.S. is alprazolam, also known as Xanax. This fast-acting anti-anxiety medication acts on the central nervous system to calm the symptoms of anxiety and produces sedative effects. Xanax addiction is one of the most common forms of prescription benzodiazepine abuse in the country.
Librium – Chlordiazepoxide, also known as Librium, is a fast-acting sedative that requires careful doctor supervision. Users can build a tolerance, which leads to physical dependency and addiction.
Klonopin – Clonazepam, also known as Klonopin, can treat anxiety disorders as well as seizures and the symptoms of acute alcohol withdrawal due to its sedative properties.
Tranxene – Tranxene is the brand name for clorazepate dipotassium, a sedative benzodiazepine medication intended for short-term treatment of anxiety.
Valium – Valium is the brand name for diazepam and can treat a variety of anxiety disorder symptoms and aid sleep. This drug depresses the central nervous system and can be fatal if overdose occurs.
Prosom – Estazolam, commonly called Prosom, is a type of benzodiazepine medication prescribed as a short-term sleep aid.
Dalmane – Flurazepam, sold under the brand name Dalmane, can treat the symptoms of insomnia when used appropriately. Dalmane can cause memory problems and respiratory complications if abused.
Ativan – Lorazepam is the generic name for Ativan, a very commonly prescribed sleep aid intended for short-term use.
Versed – Midozolam, sold under the brand name Versed, is a fast-acting and powerful sedative that can help anxiety disorders. However, doctors rarely prescribe this to patients who do not have strict supervision.
Serax – Serax is the brand name for oxazepam, and doctors often prescribe this slow-acting medication for short-term use to treat insomnia and anxiety.
Restoril – Restoril is the brand name for temazepam, often prescribed for short-term use as a sleep aid.
Halcion – Halcion, the brand name for triazolam, is a sleep aid intended for short-term use.
Doral – Doral, the brand name for quazepam, is a powerful sedative only recommended for occasional, supervised use.
Risks Of Prolonged Use
Virtually every type of benzodiazepine medication works best when used in the short-term with a cessation plan. When people abuse benzodiazepine medications they often run out sooner than intended and experience withdrawal symptoms. Depending on the degree of addiction, this can be significantly damaging or even fatal in some cases.
Proper Cessation Of Benzodiazepine Medications
A doctor who prescribes a benzodiazepine medication to a patient will typically only recommend short-term use or supervised dosages at the doctor’s office. These medications are very powerful and many are fast-acting, making them problematic for patients who take them before working, going to school, driving, or engaging in risky physical activities. When a patient is nearing the end of a round of benzodiazepine medication, his or her doctor will typically recommend tapering off the medication gradually. In some cases, the doctor may recommend switching to a slower-acting but longer-lasting benzodiazepine, and then tapering that medication.
Dangers Of Benzodiazepine Withdrawal
When addiction manifests or a benzodiazepine user attempts to quit “cold turkey,” benzodiazepines’ withdrawal symptoms are common, and often significant. Many patients will experience an intense resurgence of the symptoms the medication originally intended to treat. For example, a person who has developed a dependency on a benzodiazepine medication prescribed for anxiety may experience intense feelings of anxiety, nervousness, paranoia, and irritability.
The benzodiazepine withdrawal timeline depends on the type of drug and degree of addiction. Stronger benzodiazepines or advanced dependencies will lead to more damaging withdrawal symptoms, including coma or death. Most benzodiazepine medications act on the central nervous system, and addiction can result in both physical and psychological withdrawal symptoms.
Benzodiazepine detox involves careful medical supervision and a regimen of gradually tapered doses. In most cases, a patient will receive smaller and smaller doses of the previously abused benzodiazepine medication or receive a longer-lasting alternative and then taper off of that. During this time, patients also receive nutritional support, counseling, and may have access to other forms of treatment as well.
Comprehensive Care For Benzodiazepine Addiction
Besides alcohol, benzodiazepines are one of the most dangerous chemicals to detox from. Benzodiazepine treatment involves careful analysis of the root cause of the addiction in conjunction with therapy and medical treatment. If you or a loved one are currently suffering from benzodiazepine addiction, it is important that you consider the potentially life-saving aspects of a medically supervised benzodiazepine detox program.
Getting sober for good can be extremely difficult. If you or a loved one is thinking about quitting alcohol (or if you’ve already tried), then you know what a hurdle this problem is to overcome. Unfortunately, one of the reasons that people have such a hard time quitting their addiction is because they don’t have all the tools they need to be successful.
Among the most important resources a person needs to stay sober is access to long-term care. Alcohol addictions rarely disappear overnight. In fact, self-destructive drinking is typically tied to a host of other mental health or behavioral issues.
Without the tools and education needed to tackle these challenges head-on, those struggling with addiction are put at a huge disadvantage as they go through recovery. People who have been through a short-term recovery program and still struggle to stay sober know this reality firsthand.
The goal of this post is to highlight the options that individuals have for effective long-term recovery from alcoholism. Our hope is that those struggling with substance abuse can get the right kind of help from qualified treatment professionals, allowing them to live happier and healthier lives free of addiction.
Effective Long-Term Treatment Models for Alcoholism
One strategy for alcoholism recovery that has found great success is the pairing of recovery home services with those of an intensive outpatient or partial hospitalization treatment program.
In these combined programs, patients live in a recovery home that helps them avoid the many temptations that they would face back home. Those living in recovery homes are expected to attend to work or school obligations and then return home by a certain time.
Additionally, a number of treatments are available through intensive outpatient programs that partner with recovery home communities. Each day, an individual may wake up at a recovery home, head to work, come home to participate in intensive outpatient therapy, and then get ready for the next day that would be mostly free of distractions or temptations.
The following services are just a few examples of the types of treatment a person may receive while living and participating in a recovery community:
Group and individual therapy
Relapse trigger coaching
Making Recovery More Affordable
A recent trend that has made a big impact on addiction recovery across the country has been how insurance companies have adjusted their coverage of substance abuse treatment. In the past, insurance companies tended not to cover for weeks or months of inpatient care. Recent studies, however, have shown that the once popular 30-day model is not able to guarantee long-term abstinence from alcohol.
Today, insurance companies are more inclined to cover services that offer greater flexibility and cost-effectiveness than a month-long stay in an addiction treatment center. Thankfully, these types of alternative programs are now more readily available than ever before.
Relearning A Healthy Lifestyle
The key advantage of pairing an intensive outpatient treatment program with a stay in a recovery home community goes beyond affordability. It is true that insurance companies look more favorably on these more modern approaches to addiction recovery, but the cost savings do not contribute to a successful recovery on their own.
The most important advantage of this type of alcoholism treatment is that recovery home living puts patients in scenarios where they can practice a sober lifestyle but still have a supportive safety net. After treatment, connections with alumni and recovery specialists will form the core of a person’s recovery network.
Additionally, many outpatient treatment programs leave their doors open to former patients. This attitude encourages struggling individuals to come back if they face powerful addiction triggers and need help learning to deal with them the right way.
Without long-term recovery resources, a person can relapse once and find themselves right back where they started. Conversely, people who make mistakes within a long-term rehab plan are better equipped to get back on track as quickly as possible.
This is an important advantage of treatment strategies that revolve around intensive outpatient treatment and staying in a recovery home. Participants have time to confidently transition from rehab back to their normal lives instead of being pushed to find solutions over a period of a few short weeks.
Furthermore, the self-esteem developed through long-term care is critical for helping individuals to keep off drugs and continue down the path to sobriety.
Experience Long-Term Alcoholism Recovery
The science and thinking behind addiction recovery continue to evolve. It’s no surprise that the solutions and methods that were widely celebrated across the industry are quickly falling out of favor with the introduction of more innovative and affordable alternatives.
This is the natural course of medicine, however. Treatment methods will continue to improve as researchers collect more information, and the same could be said for addiction treatment.
Today, it is well known that access to long-term care options like alumni support, relapse prevention education and a treatment center with an open door policy all go a long way toward helping a person end their substance abuse. These are just a few of the many reasons why the experts at Maryland Recovery are so passionate about the special care they use when treating patients.
Want to learn more about recovery from alcohol addiction? Know of a friend, spouse or family member that is drinking too much but aren’t sure how to help? We encourage you to reach out to us with your questions about alcoholism, successful treatment and recovery.