Addiction is very complex and mental health contributes to a person using drugs or alcohol to self-medicate. Alcohol is a depressant, and can increase symptoms of an underlying mental health illness, such as depression. Coping with a loved one’s addiction is very overwhelming and stressful for family and friends. When your loved one has an addiction and depression, things get even more complicated.

If a person is suffering from addiction and depression, he or she must be treated for a dual diagnosis. Both illnesses should be addressed because one usually accompanies the other. Treating addiction and depression simultaneously will have better results in recovery than treating them separately.

How do you help a loved one battling addiction and depression?

  • Listen and learn about addiction and mental disorders. This allows you to get a better understanding of your loved one’s dual diagnosis.
  • Plan an intervention. Include loved ones impacted by the individual’s behavior. Everyone should write down how the loved one’s addictive behavior makes them feel.
  • Set reasonable boundaries. If you live with your loved one and are not comfortable with drugs or alcohol being around, set boundaries and stick to them.
  • Follow through with consequences. Let your loved one know the consequences for any boundary violations.
  • Use positive and encouraging words to let your loved one know how much you care. Using negative, belittling, or shameful language only reinforces any guilt, depression, or shame the person already feels.

Many people with anxiety or depression turn to drugs or alcohol to cope with their condition. Depression can linger for years and puts a person in a constant, overwhelming sadness that interferes with sleep, work, family, friends, and his or her self-worth and self-esteem. When a person has depression, he or she might turn to drugs or alcohol to cope. These substances can increase the symptoms of depression.

Understanding the relationship between addiction and depression can help your loved one in his or her recovery process. Being there for your loved one will help him or her see that you are there for them in their time of need. Compassion, understanding, and encouragement will help your loved one on his or her journey to recovery.

“My recovery must come first, so that everything I love in life does not have to come last.”

~ Unknown

If you or a loved one struggle with addiction, get help now. Nexus Recovery Services specializes in addiction treatment and encompasses holistic therapy for the mind, body, and soul with a focus on staying active and connected to nature. Our mission is to provide tools and support for every client’s seamless transition into a meaningful and fulfilling life of sobriety. We offer a free and confidential consultation. Call us to get started: 310-881-9151

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