The real tragedy behind addiction is there is usually more behind the curtain than most people realize. Addiction is an illness. There is no virus or bacteria that causes it. However, there is always a driving force or source behind every person’s addiction.
More times than not, people enter rehab with more going on than their addiction. There is usually some level or kind of emotional or mental problem lingering in the background. If there is evidence of a direct correlation between a mental or emotional illness and the addiction, the addiction treatment community refers to those issues as co-occurring disorders.
It is nearly impossible to overstate the importance of direct correlation for mental illnesses and addictions to get labeled as co-occurring. In many cases, it is going to affect the kind of treatment program that a rehab facility’s staff is going to recommend. We will discuss that below. For now, the focus is on the correlation factor.
There are plenty of times when an alcoholic will show signs of depression. A reasonable person would understand that’s quite common. It doesn’t mean there is a correlation between alcohol addiction and the depression issue.
To qualify as co-occurring disorders, one disorder must be at least the proximate cause of the other disorder. Allow us to explain.
If a person is suffering from depression and starts drinking to cope with the depression, that represents causation or correlation. Likewise, a person who starts drinking heavily and falls into a state of depression because of the drinking would also represent a scenario where causation or a correlation exists.
Conversely, a person who was dealing with depression and then started drinking because of a relationship problem doesn’t really represent causation or a correlation.
With all of this in mind, we hope you can understand the difference and can identify when one disorder might be causing the other. It matters because the proper course of treatment for co-occurring disorders is what the addiction treatment community calls dual-diagnosis therapy.
Do Treatment Centers for Alcohol Also Treat Depression?
The short answer to the titled question is yes, a lot of alcohol addiction treatment centers do treat depression. However, it is usually limited to the co-occurring disorders scenario.
When a client shows signs of having co-occurring disorders, the proper call for treatment is the aforementioned dual diagnosis therapy option. The call can be made when the client enters rehab if the client already has a diagnosis of clinical depression. If it’s not evident but the client suffers from depression, the call can be made by a therapist when the depression correlation does become evident.
The key to dual diagnosis therapy is treating both disorders at the same time. This is vitally important because an untreated disorder will always remain a threat to the overall treatment process. If the client gets treatment for an addiction caused by depression, what good would it do to not treat the depression? In such cases, it’s very likely the client would relapse because they are already conditioned to drink when they feel sad. That’s a hard connection to break.
Knowing that dual diagnosis therapy becomes necessary, there are three ways a rehab can handle such a case:
- Assign an in-house addiction therapist who is also certified to treat emotional/mental issues
- Assign two inhouse staff therapists to treat the client, one with the therapist certified to treat emotional/mental disorders treating that side and an addiction treatment specialist dealing with the addiction
- Have an inhouse addiction treatment specialists treat the addiction while outsourcing the emotional/mental side
Clearly, the first option would be the best option. Having that kind of continuity of treatment is a great advantage. At the other end of the spectrum, trying to outsource the emotional/mental health issues presents logistical issues. That would especially be true if a residential treatment patient with a severe addiction problem would have to worry about transportation to another facility for a portion of treatment.
There you have it. If you have concerns about your addiction and a potential mental health issue, you need to get help immediately. In our facility, we do have the capacity and resources to offer dual diagnosis therapy. What you need to do to start your recovery process is to pick up the phone and call one of our staff members at 833-610-1174. From that first call, we would be glad to talk about your circumstances and how we could help you recover from your addiction.