Reading time: 3 min

Depression and addiction accompany each other frequently. A large number of individuals who seek treatment for alcohol or substance use disorder also contend with major depressive disorder or clinical depression. Those who hope to achieve long-term recovery must have both conditions addressed simultaneously. Treating one condition and neglecting the other increases one’s risk for relapse exponentially.

A co-occurring disorder or dual diagnosis – also referred to as comorbidity – is common in the field of addiction medicine. Adults with severe mental illnesses like depression have high rates of co-occurring substance use disorders.

The Journal of the American Medical Association reports that roughly 50 percent of individuals living with severe mental disorders are affected by substance abuse. Research indicates that 37 percent of people with alcohol use disorders and 53 percent with substance use disorder also have at least one serious mental illness. In total, 29 percent of men and women who meet the criteria for mental health disorders abuse mind-altering substances.

Addiction can precede the development of a co-occurring mental illness. Conversely, self-medicating to cope with a psychological disorder can lead to dependence and addiction. The order of development varies from patient to patient; however, the important thing is that both co-occurring mental and behavioral health disorders receive concurrent treatment.

National Depression Education and Awareness Month 2019


Many clients who seek assistance from Hope By The Sea for addiction also have co-occurring depression. It makes sense, especially when you consider that an estimated 300 million people around the world meet the criteria for depression. It is the most common mental disorder and is the leading cause of disability worldwide, according to the World Health Organization(WHO).

October is National Depression Education and Awareness Month. Talking about this most severe disorder and educating the public about treatment is a must. Those living with untreated depression function poorly at work, at school, and in the family.

Such people also contend with suicidal ideations, and the disease is commonly associated with suicide. WHO reports that nearly to 800 000 people die due to suicide every year; it’s is the second leading cause of death in 15-29-year-olds.

During National Depression Education and Awareness Month, we have an opportunity to share the benefits of seeking treatment with the public. Social media is a useful tool for getting the word out about signs and symptoms of depression. Many people are unaware that the way they feel is linked to depression.

You can help educate and empower men and women struggling with depression to seek support services. Please use #DepressionAwareness with your social media posts.

Criteria for Depression

According to the National Institute of Mental Health (NIH), if you have been experiencing some of the following signs and symptoms, then you may be suffering from depression:

  • Persistent sad, anxious, or “empty” mood
  • Feelings of hopelessness, or pessimism
  • Irritability
  • Feelings of guilt, worthlessness, or helplessness
  • Loss of interest or pleasure in hobbies and activities
  • Decreased energy or fatigue
  • Moving or talking more slowly
  • Feeling restless or having trouble sitting still
  • Difficulty concentrating, remembering, or making decisions
  • Difficulty sleeping, early-morning awakening, or oversleeping
  • Appetite and/or weight changes
  • Thoughts of death or suicide, or suicide attempts
  • Aches or pains, headaches, cramps, or digestive problems without a clear physical cause and/or that do not ease even with treatment

Please reach out for a professional diagnosis to learn if you can benefit from treatment.


California Dual Diagnosis Treatment

Seeking help for addiction and co-occurring depression is a sign of hope and strength. Please reach out to Hope By The Sea to learn more about our Dual Diagnosis program. Our team of highly trained professionals will develop a customized treatment program to address your specific needs. The miracle of recovery can be yours too.