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Treating Depression and Alcoholism

Depression and alcoholism are a dangerous combination that can have devastating consequences. When alcoholism and depression occur together, they can become a destructive cycle of substance abuse and mental illness. It is important to recognize the signs of alcohol dependence in order to help someone get the treatment they need. If you or someone you love needs help for depression and alcoholism in Nashville, TN or they are willing to travel to get the best help, give us a call.

How Southeast Addiction Tackles Alcoholism and Depression

At Southeast Addiction Center, our experienced and compassionate treatment team is dedicated to providing comprehensive dual-diagnosis treatment for alcoholism and depression. Our treatment center offers a wide range of evidence-based therapies and interventions that are designed to address both alcoholism and depression at the same time. This includes individual counseling sessions, group therapy, family therapy, 12 step meetings, meditation, mindfulness practices, relapse prevention planning and more.

The reality is that alcoholism can cause depression or make it worse and untreated or under-treated depression can ignite alcoholism. You might say it’s a vicious cycle, or it has the potential to become one. This is why accurate diagnosis and simultaneous treatment of both conditions at the same time is so important. The alcohol addicted person with a co-occurring diagnosis like depression has a twofold challenge. That doesn’t mean they can’t get recovery though. It just means they need the right kind of help to build a solid, stable foundation to build that recovery on.

Dual-diagnosis treatment is essential in treating both depression and alcoholism, at the same time. Dual diagnosis treatment focuses on identifying, understanding, and treating both of these conditions as well as any other underlying mental health issues or conditions that may be present. This type of comprehensive approach is necessary in order to fully address all aspects of the person’s addiction or mental health disorder so that effective recovery can be achieved successfully and permanently. 

Alcoholism Makes Depression Worse

Depression and alcoholism often go hand-in-hand, making it difficult for individuals to get the help they need. Here are five reasons why alcoholism can make depression worse:

1. Alcohol Impairs Concentration:

Because alcohol is a depressant, it impairs concentration, making it more difficult for those with alcoholism and depression to focus on tasks such as work or school. This can further depress an individual’s mood and cause them to feel helpless when they are unable to complete activities that were once easy for them.

2. Increases Irritability:

Drinking large amounts of alcohol over time has been linked to increased irritability in some people, leading them to lash out at others or become overly emotional even over trivial things. This can increase the severity of mood swings and depression, making it difficult for an individual to manage their emotions.

3. Increases Suicidal Thoughts:

A Canadian study found that alcoholism was a huge factor in increasing suicidal thoughts and attempted suicide. The more alcohol consumed, the higher the risk of self-harm or suicide ideation.

4. Interferes with Treatment:

Alcoholism affects many parts of an individual’s life, including their ability to receive treatment for depression or participate in dual-diagnosis therapy programs like those offered at Southeast Addiction Center. If alcoholism is not addressed in tandem with depression, it can interfere with a person’s ability to get better and make recovery much harder than it needs to be.

5. Increases Risk of Substance Abuse:

Finally, alcoholism increases the risk of abusing other substances and can lead to polysubstance addiction which further worsens depression symptoms. People who battle alcoholism and depression should seek help from a professional before their mental health deteriorates even more.

Helping Someone Who is Depressed and Drinking Too Much

If you know someone who is suffering from alcoholism and depression, it’s important to understand that they are in a very difficult situation. It’s challenging to help someone who is struggling with both illnesses simultaneously, but it isn’t impossible. 

First, provide them emotional support by listening without judgment and offering reassurance that their feelings are valid. Acknowledge their difficulties and encourage them to seek professional help. Avoiding judgment and stigma is key here. They need to see that you understand alcoholism and depression are illnesses, not just “bad decisions” or a lack of willpower. 

Second, make sure the person has access to appropriate medical care. If they are drinking every day or almost every day, there is a good chance they will need a medical detox first. NEVER let someone stop drinking abruptly (cold turkey) without medical support. That can result in dangerous seizures that can even be deadly. They must be in a safe environment. When you call Southeast Addiction Center we will make arrangements for a medical detox along with all the followup treatment they will need.

Finally, be a source of stability for them. Offer to spend time together doing activities that are not related to alcohol or drug use. Show that you care about their recovery by asking how they’re feeling and actively checking in with them regularly. If someone isn’t ready to accept help, stay in touch. But make sure not to enable them and don’t downplay the seriousness of the situation. You don’t want to nag or guilt trip them into going to rehab, but you also must not act like everything is OK when it clearly isn’t. Be firm, but gentle. 

Don’t Give Up and Always Follow Through

If the person is completely resistant to your help and you believe they are in danger, call 911 if the danger is imminent. If not, then you might consider an intervention. You can reach out to alcoholism and depression treatment centers like Southeast Addiction Center for more information on professional resources. With proper support, the person can recover from alcoholism and depression.  

No matter what, never give up on someone who is struggling with alcoholism and depression. With the right help and a bit of willingness and determination, you would be amazed at what can happen.  Southeast Addiction Center offers a variety of treatment services to help those dealing with alcoholism and depression.

If you or someone you know is struggling with alcoholism and depression, don’t hesitate to reach out for help. Contact Southeast Addiction Center in Nashville, Tennessee today at (615) 326-6449 and we will plan the next steps together. You are not alone.