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Depression and Addiction Signs, Symptoms and Treatment


Dealing with depression and addiction at the same time can be very challenging as well as disturbing. It is difficult to break this vicious cycle. Treating both conditions occurring at the same time requires proper education and knowledge about rehabilitation. The term dual-diagnosis or Co-occurring disorder is used by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) when these conditions coincide, i.e., mental illness or substance use disorder (SUD).

What is Depression?

Depression is a common mental illness affecting people's everyday lives by making them upset and lazy. People with depression may lose interest in daily activities like eating, working, or doing other chores. There are many types of depression, including major depressive disorder, psychotic depression, postpartum depression, etc.

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Treatment of Dual-Diagnosis

There are various symptoms of depression, including:

  • Feeling upset or sad

  • Losing interest in hobbies and activities

  • Constant guilt or worry

  • Feeling helpless or worthless

  • Decreased energy of fatigue

  • Irritability

  • Difficulty in sleeping or oversleeping

  • Difficulty in concentrating and remembering 

  • Weight and appetite changes

  • Being slow and lazy 


If a person has been experiencing these symptoms for the last two weeks or more, they may be suffering from clinical depression. Correct diagnosis, proper treatment, and rehabilitation can help reduce these symptoms and extreme outcomes such as suicidal thoughts.


What is Drug Addiction?

 “Addiction is a chronic, relapsing disease of the brain, characterized by compulsive drug-seeking behavior despite adverse consequences,” according to the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA). People with a drug addiction may initially seem to be experimenting with different substances, but later, they find themselves taking them regularly. With continuous usage, they develop tolerance to the drug. They must increase the dosage every time to get their desired results because of the tolerance. Withdrawal or not taking the drug can cause severe mental and physical symptoms, making them addicted to the drug.

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Expert Contributor

Dr. Williams presently serves on the board of Directors for two non-profit service organizations. He holds a Master’s degree in Human Services from Lincoln University, Philadelphia, Pa, and a Ph.D. with a concentration in Clinical Psychology from Union Institute and University. In Cincinnati, Ohio. He is licensed to practice addictions counseling in both New Jersey and Connecticut and has a pending application as a practicing Psychologist in New Jersey.

More Readings

Signs and Symptoms of Drug Addiction

Some of the most common symptoms of drug addiction include the following:

One of the most common symptoms of drug addicts is losing interest in their lives, depression, and lack of energy.

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How Depression and Drug Addiction Interlink

Depression and drug addiction are linked together because having substance use disorder (SUD) or drug addiction might cause depression or vice versa. Both mental health conditions have similar signs and symptoms like lack of appetite, sleep disturbances, and losing interest in the activities they used to enjoy. According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse (2007), people with mood or anxiety disorders are twice as likely to be diagnosed with a substance use disorder.

A person who is a drug abuser and taking drugs for a long time can disturb the normal physiological functions and change the workings of certain hormones. This can cause symptoms of grief and may cause depression. Likewise, if a person is depressed, they might start using drugs to minimize the signs of distress and negative thoughts.

Alternative Treatments

It is complex and challenging to deal with depressive episodes or moods of feeling hopelessness and pity for both the family and the patient. Not paying immediate attention or seeking help can enhance both conditions (Depression and Substance use disorder).


The patient has depression and deals with emotional changes. Feeling lonely and isolated from the world later causes severe negative thoughts like suicide.

  • Will insurance cover drug and alcohol rehab?
    Private insurance is the most common and effective payment method for addiction treatment. It can pay for a significant number, if not all, of your rehabilitation appointments. Thanks to the efforts by private lobbyists and the government, rehabilitation for drug and alcohol addiction is now a mandatory benefit under insurance after the passage of the Affordable Care Act (ACA).
  • Paying for addiction treatment
    Ways to Pay for Addiction Treatment Here are the five points for financing that might be helpful for your treatment: ​ 1. Insurance 2. Self-Pay or Payment plan 3. Loan or second mortgage 4. Funding or Scholarships 5. Family Insurance ​ If a person has some benefits, they can use them for treatment and take advantage of insurance. If you use health insurance providers so that you can recover yourself from addiction because they collect payment regularly or they have scheduled their income as well. Self-Pay ​ The second method is self-pay, and in this method, you can pay for treatment in lump sums or months and create a payment plan so that you can pay weekly, monthly, or whatever you choose the way to treat. Loan ​ The third method to pay is a loan. You can take a loan or a second mortgage from those homeowners. Funding or Scholarships ​ If you do some research, then you can find a lot of funding or scholarships for you that are available to you there. Family The last method to pay is family. Your family can help you financially with your treatment. There are many options available for you as a key for financial assistance so that you can choose one of these methods for addiction treatment.
  • Will I lose my job if I go to rehab?
    Employees who get treatment for addiction while still at work are protected by the ADA and other laws like the MHPAEA, the ACA, and the Family Medical Leave Act, which all work together to make them eligible to return to work after the treatment.
  • How much does addiction treatment cost?
    Depending on your needs, treatment options for addiction vary from extensive medical detox to inpatient (or residential) care plans to less intensive outpatient ones. If your addiction is chronic or you are also grappling with a dual diagnosis, then long-term care at a residential facility is often the best option; but it is more costly. It's even more expensive when your situation necessitates the consultation of many specialists and the administration of costly drugs.
  • When is it time to go to rehab?
    Many believe that a person does not need to go to rehab, even if they struggle with the most severe addiction withdrawal symptoms. Still, studies show that last year almost 100,000 people died in the United States due to substance use disorder or overdoses. As 22 million people are suffering from addiction to either drugs or alcohol, there is a need to talk about this subject more casually. Many people don’t go to rehab because they feel ashamed of being addicted. There is a need to make them realize that no one can judge them if they see any symptoms; they should decide to visit a rehab as soon as possible.

How to Deal with Individuals who Have Both Conditions


Healthcare providers prescribe certain medications to ease the depressive symptoms first. These antidepressant medicines include Fluoxetine, Citalopram, and Sertraline. These drugs work on the brain's chemical imbalances and increase happy hormones like Serotonin and dopamine levels. SSRIs are considered the first line of choice in treating patient depression.

Integrated Treatment Plan

Co-occurring disorders have two types of issues that need to be treated at the same time. Focusing the treatment on one condition like substance use disorder (SUD) can increase symptoms of mental disorders like depression. Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) suggested the integrated treatment plan as a standard of care in treating dual diagnosis or co-occurring disorders (having depression and drug addiction). The treatment protocols include various strategies like counseling, effective behavioral therapy, and medications.


Cognitive Behavioral Therapy

Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) helps the patient change intrusive thoughts and negativity, then promotes positive and rational thinking. The cycle of actions and reactions is based on an individual’s assumption, perception, and concentration. The cognitive and emotional functioning changes during CBT to help the patient deal with problems effectively and develop healthier relationships. It also helps in reducing cravings for drugs or alcohol.


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Many inpatient and outpatient facilities provide care and treatment for individuals dealing with a co-occurring disorder. Many sober living homes are also beneficial to reducing relapse and making life happy and healthy again.

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What is depression?
Treatment of dual-diagnosis
What is drug addiction?
Signs and symptoms of drug addiction
How depression and drug addiction interlink
Alternative treatments
How to deal with individuals who have both conditions
Integrated treatment plan
Get Support
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