Last updated: 07/19/2019
Author: Addictions.com Medical Review
Reading Time: 3 minutes
One of the issues associated with addiction that many people do not understand or plan for is the likelihood of experiencing depression in addition to the other issues of recovery. Luckily, I had found an addiction treatment program that helped me with this issue, and, in fact, it saved my life. If you are dealing with addiction, now is the time to seek help in the form of professional treatment.
I Thought I Could Do It on My Own
I hadn’t been using opioids for very long when I decided to quit, and though other people in my life asked me to seek help from a rehab center or doctor, I felt like I was able to recover without anyone’s help. I was highly motivated to stop using and to start my life over again. I felt like that was enough. I was wrong.
I had no idea how difficult the withdrawal symptoms would be. My body wasn’t used to feeling lots of pain, so when I stopped using prescription drugs cold turkey, I wasn’t prepared for how intense it would be. But when I started experiencing depressive symptoms, that’s when things really got bad.
I lost all the motivation I had to quit and started thinking about using again. I didn’t want to go out, shower, or even eat very much, and I started sleeping way more than usual. Finally, I started to experience thoughts of suicide. That’s when I knew something was really wrong.
Why I Asked for Help
I was staying with one of my closest friends when things began to change. She noticed and suggested I seek help. She told me when she was younger, she experienced depression and described the symptoms. They seemed similar to mine, and because of her advice, I went to a doctor.
I talked to the doctor about my substance abuse. It felt good to be able to open up and discuss the issue that had been plaguing my life for such a long time. He suggested several places I could go to begin treatment at a rehab facility, but he also wanted to talk about my depressive symptoms. He asked me lots of questions and determined that I had dual diagnosis, otherwise known as a comorbid disorder.
Comorbidity and Treatment
According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, comorbidity among addicts is extremely common. In fact, those who suffer from a drug addiction are twice as likely to also suffer from a comorbid mental disorder like mood or anxiety disorders. Sometimes, these disorders are caused by the type of substance abuse one engages in or, like with me, they can occur during withdrawal. In other cases, they can exist before one starts using and help lead to addiction.
When I found out that I was dealing with both issues, I wanted to make sure I got the treatment I needed. I checked myself into a rehab center and talked to the doctor. One of the first things I was told was that my substance use disorder and my depression needed to be treated at the same time. If they weren’t, I wouldn’t be able to recover safely.
In rehab, I found out I could be treated for both disorders simultaneously and that my recovery didn’t have to be split down the middle. Doctors, nurses, and therapists at rehab centers are particularly adept at dealing with both kinds of issues and treating them at the same time. This is how I was able to safely put an end to my substance abuse while also acknowledging and being treated for my depression.
Rehab Saved My Life
If I hadn’t gone to rehab, there is a strong chance my depressive symptoms would have gotten worse instead of better. Without the medication and therapy I received during my treatment program, I wouldn’t have been able to make the strong recovery I did and reclaim my life from addiction. I may have even experienced worse consequences because of the invisible issue associated with my substance abuse and recovery.
If you’re trying to stop using on your own, believe me, it is much safer to seek treatment. Because so many addicts suffer from depression and other comorbid disorders, it’s absolutely necessary to get assessed and to find out if you are dealing with this issue too.