Menu Close

Overcoming Substance Abuse and Depression

Overcoming Substance Abuse and Depression

Wondering how to overcome substance abuse and depression? Read on to find out how to get the help you need.

Therapy for Substance Abuse and Depression

Substance abuse and depression are complicated disorders that frequently coexist. It’s crucial to understand how they are connected in order to treat them properly. Substance use disorder (SUD) is when someone uses drugs or alcohol too much and hurts their body, mind, and social life. Depression makes people feel unhappy, lose interest, and act differently. 

Both SUD and depression can be hard, so it’s important to treat both together for optimum outcomes.1

What is Substance Abuse?

Substance abuse is when people use drugs or alcohol in unhealthy ways or use too much of them. This can be detrimental to a person’s health, relationships, and ability to get through the day. 

Drugs or alcohol can hurt your health, make it hard to get along with others, and cause problems at school or work. SUD can also affect your mental health.

It’s important to be aware of these negative consequences of substance abuse. SUD can raise the chances of developing mental health issues such as depression and worsen their symptoms.2

What is Depression?

Depression is a mental health disorder affecting a person’s mood and emotions. It can prevent individuals from enjoying activities they once found pleasure in. 

It can affect their food, energy, sleep, and ability to focus or make decisions. Depression is a serious illness that needs professional examination and treatment.3

Link Between Substance Abuse and Depression

Both substance abuse and depression are serious conditions that can have major impacts on a person’s well-being. These two conditions often happen at the same time – this is known as a co-occurring disorder – and research has shown that they may be linked. For example, substance abuse can be a risk factor for depression.

When people use substances to deal with tough feelings or hard situations, it can make things worse and even lead to depression. When someone is already sad because of depression, they may try to feel better by using drugs. But using substances to cope can create more problems in the long run. It’s important to look for healthier ways to deal with emotions and challenges instead of relying on substances.

Considering Both Substance Abuse and Depression in Treatment

Understanding the connection between substance abuse and depression is crucial for effective treatment. Addressing both conditions occurring can lead to better outcomes in the recovery process. Integrated treatment approaches that target both SUD and depression are often recommended.

People who use drugs and are depressed can get help from different kinds of therapy, such as counseling or treatment. These treatments can help them understand and control how they feel, how they think, and what they do when they have one or both of these conditions.

Sometimes, depression or other mental health problems can be treated with medication. Groups of people who understand your situation can help you feel better and stay motivated while you’re getting better. These groups are called support groups or peer support programs.

Recovery from Substance Abuse and Depression

Recovering from substance abuse and depression is a personal journey that takes time and effort. It could mean making changes to your lifestyle, learning healthy ways to deal with problems, and having a strong support system.

Even after finishing formal treatment, it’s important to keep taking care of yourself. You can do things like going to therapy, joining aftercare programs, and using healthy coping strategies to avoid going back to old habits. These things will help you keep making progress and moving forward.

Understanding Substance Abuse and Depression

Substance abuse and depression are often linked, and both can have a big impact on a person’s life. Drug misuse can lead to physical and mental health issues, family conflict, school, and employment troubles.

Impact of SUD

SUD can affect a person’s health, relationships, money, and legal standing. It can harm the body, create mental illness, and impair thinking. It can also result in legal issues, such as drug offenses. 

Drug-induced behaviors can affect relationships with family, friends, and others. Medicines can be expensive, making them hard to afford or even costing someone their job or financial security.

Impact of Depression

Depression is a mental health issue that can make a person feel sad a lot, lose interest in things they liked before, have trouble sleeping and eating, and struggle to focus. Sometimes, people with depression even have thoughts of harming themselves. It affects a person’s emotions, thoughts, and body and can have a big impact on their quality of life overall.

It’s important to know that depression and drug abuse often go hand in hand. Using drugs or alcohol can make depression worse by changing how your brain works, making you feel more alone, and making it hard for you to sleep. Depression can sometimes make people more likely to try drugs because they want to feel better.

Bidirectional Relationship Between SUD and Depression

Research shows a strong connection between substance abuse and depression. It shows that both conditions can increase the risk of developing the other. Sometimes, when people feel depressed, they may turn to drugs or alcohol to help them feel better. On the other hand, substance use can disrupt the balance of chemicals in the brain, leading to mood changes and depressive symptoms.


When substance abuse and depression occur together, it can make recovery more complicated. Diagnosing, treating, and recovering from these conditions can be more challenging. Establishing the chronological sequence or causal relationship between two states can be difficult. That’s why it’s important to get help from people who know how hard it is to deal with both depression and substance abuse.

Important Consideration

Remember that using drugs or alcohol is not a healthy or effective way to deal with depression or other mental health problems. It may provide temporary relief, but it can also worsen the symptoms and create a cycle of dependence.4

Co-Occurring Disorders: Understanding Dual Diagnosis

These disorders are simultaneous diagnoses of depression and substance misuse. Research shows that patients with substance use disorder (SUD) are more likely also to have depression and vice versa. SUD and depression symptoms overlap, making it difficult to diagnose and treat co-occurring illnesses. Both problems must be identified and treated simultaneously.

Co-occurring disorders, such as depression and substance misuse, can affect a person’s mental and physical health and well-being. Depression might complicate SUD treatment. Substance misuse can worsen depression symptoms, including sorrow, loss of interest, disturbed food and sleep patterns, and poor concentration. Yet, depression can worsen the symptoms of substance misuse, establishing a circle.

Understanding the Root of SUD and Co-occurring Disorders

One condition might feed into the other, making it tougher to overcome both. It’s important to know that both SUD and depression are serious illnesses that need to be diagnosed and treated correctly. They are not caused by weakness or not having enough willpower. Instead, they are caused by complex medical conditions that affect the brain and body. Everyone’s experience with SUD and depression is unique, including the severity and length of their symptoms.

Diagnosing Co-Occurring Disorders

Diagnosing co-occurring disorders can be challenging due to overlapping symptoms. Substance use can make depression worse, even though some people may turn to it to cope with depression. It can make it challenging to identify the primary cause of specific symptoms. Doctors need to do careful check-ups to diagnose and treat both SUD and depression properly. This helps them create a good plan for treatment.

A “holistic” approach is used to help people who have more than one problem, like drug abuse and depression. It includes personalized medical, psychological, and social interventions. Treatment might include therapy, medication, support groups, and changing your lifestyle. People with both mental health and substance problems need ongoing help to control their symptoms and avoid going back to old habits.

Importance of Dual Diagnosis in Treatment

When someone struggles with both substance abuse and depression, they need to be treated for both at the same time. This is called an integrated approach. It’s important to treat both problems together, not just one or the other. Treating only one condition can result in incomplete recovery and an increased risk of relapse.

Integrated Treatment Plans

Integrated treatment plans look at the physical, mental, and emotional health of the whole person. It means that doctors and nurses will look at how both drug abuse and depression affect a person’s body, mind, and feelings. By dealing with all parts of these disorders at the same time, people have a better chance of getting better for good.


If you get help for both substance abuse and depression, you’ll be treating the root causes of your mental health and addiction challenges, rather than just remedying the symptoms. This can help you feel better and avoid going back to old habits. I

Treatment Opportunities for Co-occurring SUD and Depression

If someone has both substance abuse and depression, there are different treatments that can help them feel better. Some of these evidence-based treatment options include:

  • Psychotherapy: This therapy involves discussing issues with a skilled professional. CBT, DBT, and motivational interviewing can help. These therapies can help drug addicts and depressed people improve their attitudes, actions, and feelings.
  • Medication-assisted treatment (MAT): This type of treatment combines therapy with medication. People with substance abuse and depression may take antidepressants, mood stabilizers, and anti-anxiety drugs. These drugs can treat depression and aid substance abuse recovery when prescribed by doctors.
  • Support groups: These people help each other emotionally. Substance addiction and depression support groups can help individuals settle into a safe space and begin healing. These groups build connection and understanding by connecting people with similar experiences. This promotes accountability as well, and gives individuals someone to rely on and/or look up to.
  • Holistic approaches: Wellness practices include mindfulness, exercise, and diet. These holistic methods can help people cope with stress and recover from depression and substance abuse.

How Rise Above Treatment Can Help

At Rise Above Treatment, experienced staff use proven therapies and a supportive environment to help people with both substance abuse and depression. We create individualized plans to meet each person’s unique needs and circumstances.

Our compassionate and highly-skilled staff at Rise Above Treatment focuses on finding out what causes substance abuse and depression, what triggers them, and how individuals cope with them. By addressing these underlying issues, we enable individuals to fully heal, enabling lasting recovery.

Whole-Person Approach to Healing

We help people with substance abuse and depression by using therapy, medication, support groups, and other approaches that focus on the whole person. This can help individuals overcome their challenges and feel more empowered. The goal is to help individuals build a healthier, more fulfilling life in sobriety.

Our Mission

At Rise Above Treatment, we believe everyone should have the chance to overcome depression and substance misuse. We provide a safe and supportive environment to help people recuperate. We treat substance abuse and depression with evidence-based therapy and holistic treatment modalities.

We are wholly committed to your wellness and recovery, and will walk with you every step of the way.

Contact Rise Above Treatment Today

Rise Above Treatment is your trusted partner in overcoming substance abuse and depression. Our counseling service addresses the underlying factors that lead to substance abuse and depression. 


Our skilled professionals will help you overcome problems and reclaim your life. Rise Above Treatment provides unmatched support and evidence-based treatment. Do not allow substance abuse and depression to hinder your progress any further. 


Initiate the journey towards healing by taking the first step with Rise Above Treatment. We can’t wait to help you heal.

Table of Contents

Are you ready to Rise Above your mental health and addiction challenges?

Reach out to us today. Let us provide the support and guidance needed for sustainable recovery and wellness, allowing you to lead the happy, healthy, and fulfilling life you deserve.