Depression and drug addiction commonly co-occur among thousands of people all around the world. But while addiction is generally well-understood in the sense that treatment options are very straight-forward, treatment of depression is not. Depression affects everyone differently; its causes and symptoms vary so widely from person to person that it can be difficult to define at all. However, when combined with drug addiction or alcoholism, depression can prove especially troublesome as it can serve to exacerbate substance abuse problems, and substance abuse can exacerbate depression issues. These powerful combinations can lead to serious, potentially fatal consequences.

Depression is a serious, debilitating disease that left untreated can lead to suicidal behaviors. Clinical depression is defined as persistent feelings of sadness, loneliness, self-loathing, isolation, the inability to find pleasure in once-enjoyable activities, disruption of work or social life, inability to feel emotions, exhaustion, lack of motivation, feelings of helplessness and sometimes suicidal thoughts and even suicide attempts. Depression is usually diagnosed during an individual therapy session and can be treated with a number of different drugs and family/social therapies.

One of the most significant problems with depression is that many people seek out drugs or alcohol in an effort to self-medicate the debilitating symptoms of this condition. Over time depressed people who turn to substance abuse will become more and more tolerant to the drugs they use, eventually developing a physical and emotional dependence to the substances. Once full-blown addiction has set in, any prior symptoms of depression are often greatly amplified, leading to more drug abuse and more depression.

However, herein lies one of the major problems with depression and addiction. Many therapists and addiction experts believe that by treating the depression you will automatically treat the addiction. However, this cannot explain the fact that both addiction and depression occur independently of one another, and that some people suffer from depression and then addiction, whereas some become depressed because of their substance abuse. Additionally, treatment for each condition must be independent because addiction is not simply a "symptom" of depression – it is a clinical, neurological disease. Therefore even if you treat the depression successfully, the addiction will still remain.

People who suffer from drug addiction and depression are more at risk than most people who have either condition independently. This is because while suicide is a serious risk during depression, substance abuse also is associated with suicide, as well as violence and homicide. Therefore these two co-occurring conditions should be taken very seriously; in order to treat one with a chance of lasting success, you must treat the other concurrently.

If you or someone you care about is suffering from both addiction and depression, you should know that there are treatment options available that can successfully treat both conditions at once. Or if you have been battling depression for so long you're considering turning to drugs or alcohol, take action right now. Your life – and the life of those around you – could depend on it. Call us right now or click on one of the links below to start the rest of your life today.

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Author's Bio: 

Rachel has led a diverse writing career including journalism, marketing and internet-related writing and editing positions. A specialist in the fields of addiciton and alcoholism, Rachel is also an extremely adept financial writer.