According to the National Institute of Mental Health, depression is the most common diagnosis among adults in the United States today. It is estimated that one out of three depressed people suffer from some form of addiction or substance abuse problem. In addition to the above, there appears to be a common tendency among those suffering from depression to abuse drugs or alcohol as a means of coping with their symptoms. Many of these people end up with an addiction to those substances.
Dual diagnosis can create a very complex situation for both the professional, as well as, the individual. One of the obstacles they face is while the person may feel depressed, there are many drugs, including alcohol that create symptoms similar in nature to depression. The “million dollar” question is, which came first, the depressive disorder or the addiction/alcoholism causing it?
Although there appears to be a clear link between depression and addiction or drug/alcohol use, it is not clear that one necessarily precedes the other. Many times though, the depressive disorder appears first and the person begins to use drugs or alcohol as a means to better cope with the symptoms. This type of self-medication generally leads to addiction or alcoholism with the person in need of drug rehab or alcoholism treatment. Regardless of which issue develops first, they must be treated co-currently in rehab for the person to fully recover.
The most important thing is to work with a physician who fully understands drug addiction, alcoholism and is associated with an accredited addiction treatment center.