Overcoming Depression And Alcoholism

Overcoming Depression And Alcoholism Over the past few decades, multiple studies have linked depression and substance abuse as co-occurring disorders. The interconnectedness of alcoholism and depression is seen in both depressed patients, who are significantly more likely to develop alcohol dependence, and those who abuse alcohol, which doubles their risk of developing depression. [1][2] Because of overlapping factors, including brain deficits, genetic vulnerabilities and stress or trauma, it’s difficult to find if one of the co-occurring disorders causes the other. [3]

Alcoholism and depression research shows that depressed subjects are more vulnerable to substance abuse, while alcohol, as a depressant, changes the brain chemistry in the long run, making individuals susceptible to mental disorders. This makes depression and alcoholism a vicious cycle, and despite the comorbidity, instead of a dual diagnosis, they are often addressed separately, which interrupts the treatment process. [3][4]

Individuals seek addiction treatment through alcohol rehab programs that are usually against prescribing medications for mental disorders, while many physicians focus their attention primarily on mental health, leaving alcohol addiction treatment to alcohol rehab centers. In order to effectively address both conditions, treatment centers must offer dual diagnosis treatment for patients. Through behavioral therapies, and other services, patients can learn how to more effectively cope with triggers and develop healthier thought patterns and behaviors to prevent relapse and manage their mental illness.

One of the most important things is to get the right diagnosis, as symptoms of comorbid disorders are found to be more severe and unlikely to be successfully treated separately. [5]

Recently, more and more clinicians are turning to dual diagnosis treatment as a way to combat co-occurring disorders. Most often it includes behavioral therapy along with some form of medication that has the potential to both alleviate alcohol cravings and address mental disorders. [3]

Research suggests that the most promising types of behavioral therapy for adolescents include multisystemic, cognitive-behavioral and brief strategic family therapy, while adults benefit from dialectical behavior, exposure and integrated group therapy, as well as therapeutic communities and assertive community treatment. [6][7]

It is crucial to seek help from professionals with dual diagnosis treatment experience because they are able to assess and address both the abuse of alcohol and depression, integrate and customize the treatment process, as well as offer the right support and aftercare to minimize the risk of relapse and teach proper long-term management of both conditions.

Get Treatment for Alcoholism and Depression

If you or someone you love is suffering from co-occurring disorders such as alcoholism and depression, there is hope. At Get Treatment, we can help you find an accredited drug and alcohol treatment centers that provides dual diagnosis treatment and meets your needs for recovery.

We will help you find a treatment center that offers individualized care for addiction treatment, as well as expert support for the treatment of mental disorders such as depression and anxiety. To begin your journey to life-long sobriety, dial 855-638-9268 and speak to one of our caring admissions coordinators.


  • [1] Kessler RC, Crum RM, Warner LA, Nelson CB, Schulenberg J, Anthony JC. Lifetime co-occurrence of DSM-III-R alcohol abuse and dependence with other psychiatric disorders in the national Comorbidity Survey. Arch Gen Psychiatry 1997; 54:313–24.
  • [2] Kessler RC, Nelon CB, McGonagle KA, Liu J, Swartz M, Blazer DG. Comorbidity of DSM-III-R major depressive disorder in the general population: results from the US National Comorbidity Survey. Br J Psychiatry 1996; 168(Suppl. 30):17–30.
  • [3] National Institute on Drug Abuse. Comorbidity: Addiction and Other Mental Disorders. NIDA Research Report Series 2008; 3-4.
  • [Link: https://www.drugabuse.gov/sites/default/files/rrcomorbidity.pdf]
  • [4] Khantzian E. Self-regulation and self-medication factors in alcoholism and the addictions: similarities and differences. Rec Dev Alcoholism 1990; 8:255–71.
  • [5] Hasin D, Liu X, Nunes E, McCloud S, Samet S, Endicott J. Effects of major depression on remission and relapse of substance dependence. Arch Gen Psychiatry 2002; 59:375–80.
  • [6] Riggs, P.D. Treating adolescents for substance abuse and comorbid psychiatric disorders. Sci Pract Perspect 2003; 2(1):18–28.
  • [7] Weiss, R.D.; Griffin, M.L.; Kolodziej, M.E.; Greenfield, S.F.; Najavits, L.M.; Daley, D.C.; Doreau, H.R.; and Hennen, J.A. A randomized trial of integrated group therapy versus group drug counseling for patients with bipolar disorder and substance dependence. Am J Psychiatry 2007; 164(1):100–107.

Erica Loret de Mola


Erica Loret de Mola is a communications major who has been writing about addiction treatment for approximately three years. As content manager and editor in chief of Get Treatment, she strives to provide the most accurate and current information available to our clients.


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