Living with Depression: A Guide to Addiction Recovery and Mental Illness 

Living with Depression: A Guide to Addiction Recovery and Mental Illness 

When two disorders occur at the same time, it is often called a dual diagnosis. Depending on what the two disorders are – and various factors related to the individual – recovery can include different ups and downs. Dual diagnoses can be incredibly difficult to manage if both aren’t taken into consideration – depression is quite a common occurrence amongst those who also battle with addiction, so it’s important to ensure that both get proper treatment. If you’ve been struggling with depression while working towards sobriety, please know that you’re not alone – and there is help at Enlightened Solutions for healing and restoration. 

Hiding the Pain with Medication 

Millions upon millions of people across the world experience depression and many don’t understand that it’s a mental illness – not their actual reality – that’s making day-to-day life so hard. It’s hard to seek out a diagnosis for depression, however, especially because it’s so hard to talk about and understand. For example, a person with depression may find it incredibly difficult to open up to their friends and family about this issue, because depression causes us to feel as though it’s our problem alone to deal with – and that only closes us off to more people who could help us.

Previous studies have explored issues like depression as it’s related to self-medication, and they’ve found that drugs like marijuana and alcohol tend to be the most common to use because they’re not viewed by society as “severe” as other drugs. Self-medication occurs when a person uses substances in order to try and mask the symptoms they’re experiencing – although this may seem to work in the meantime, the unfortunate reality is that it becomes easier than ever before to become addicted to these substances. We have a chemical in our brain called dopamine, and whenever something releases this chemical (such as food, sex, drugs, shopping, gambling, etc.), our memory stores it in place as a good one. From there, it becomes easier and easier for the brain to recollect those “feel good” memories – which can entice a person to continue using substances. 

Addiction Recovery and Depression: Managing Both Disorders

Routine

Recovery is a courageous endeavor and one that could change your life for the better. There’s no particular “right way” for a person to heal, as each person has different needs that must be addressed. For those with depression, it often helps to talk and open up to people – even if one doesn’t feel like it. From there, it’s nice to create a strict schedule for navigating each day, including times to wake up, eat, and go to sleep. This helps rewire the brain to get back on track so that it’s no longer “stuck in a rut”.

 Therapy 

Cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT)  helps us to identify old, negative thought patterns, while giving us insight into how much importance we’re placing on those thoughts, and if we really need to be giving them much importance considering the effect it’s having on our happiness and health. CBT provides many people with depression the tools and resources they need to really start thinking critically about their thought patterns and what they can do to improve their current circumstances.

Nutrition/Exercise 

When depression hits, it’s common to feel incredibly tired, agitated, and with too many – or too little – feelings to deal with. On top of that, substance abuse can make the situation worse, depriving us of vital nutrients through an unhealthy diet and leaving us with little – or too much - sleep. Depression festers in its own way, and some people even have difficulty maintaining proper hygiene for health and wellness. If you add all of the effects of depression plus the negative effects associated with substance abuse, it becomes a nasty cycle – and exercise can help break the cycle by relieving stress, promoting teamwork and building a sense of community.

Spirituality 

Despite the way depression or detox may be causing you to feel, it’s crucial to begin working on who you are as a person. Spirituality, such as praying, meditating, and creating a strong social support network, can help us to feel as though our lives matter – because they do – and because it’s truly the mental illness causing us to feel as though we don’t. 

The emotional walls we’ve put up, the way we’ve closed ourselves in, the opportunities we’ve passed, the loved ones we’ve hurt, and the substances we’ve relied on can only be healed by choosing to move forward, and spirituality can help us identify what our purpose is in life. 12-Step programs can greatly help aid in this process of discovery, especially as they help connect us more closely to God or another Higher Power.

If you’re ready to recover from addiction and depression, speak to one of our admissions experts today at 833-801-LIVE.


Mania, Not Depression, Is The Hardest To Deal With In Bipolar

Bipolar disorder can feel like living two different lives. Defined by episodes of mania and depression, bipolar is defined by experiencing shifting mood swings in the extreme of each category for extended periods of time. There are two different kinds of bipolar. Bipolar 1 includes more manic episodes than depressive episodes. The episodes can last for weeks or even months at a time. Bipolar 2 includes more depression and can change much more rapidly. Depression in bipolar is similar to other kinds of depression. What someone with bipolar experiences in mania, however, is unlike any other condition. Sometimes it is possible to feel a manic episode coming on. Thoughts might start to change, energy increases, and ideas become bigger over a short period of time. Most of the time, someone with bipolar wakes up at 1,000% instead of 25% and the energy doesn’t stop.

Symptoms Of Bipolar Mania

Bipolar mania will look different for every individual. Generally, there are shared symptoms which include:

  • Feeling “up” or elated
  • Having an abundant amount of energy
  • Feeling overly optimistic and positive
  • Coming up with high standard plans and ideas
  • Feeling invincible, often accompanied by a heightened sense of ego
  • Acting without consequence or consideration
  • “Jammed speech” or talking so fast as though there hasn’t been conversation for weeks
  • Insomnia or restlessness

Shopping beyond budget, participating in reckless behaviors, substance abuse, sexual promiscuity, and other thrill seeking behaviors are common during mania.

What Makes Mania Difficult

After spending a period of time in a depressive state, mania can feel like a welcome relief, if not an escape from the doldrums. Unfortunately, mania can quickly get out of control. The brain can become so rapid fire that it turns all the positive energy in a different direction. People in manic episodes might experience psychosis and paranoia because their mind is moving so quickly.

Mania is not an upside to depression in bipolar. It can mean feeling out of control, unable to trust oneself, and not knowing when the madness will end. It can mean not knowing mania is even happening until money is spent, arguments are started, and reckless behaviors take a toll.

Bipolar and addiction often go hand in hand. To treat dual diagnosis problems, there is a solution. At Enlightened Solutions, we see the holistic approach to treatment work successfully in bringing peace and serenity to our client’s lives. Our integrative partial care programs fuse together spiritual wellness, clinical therapy, and 12 step philosophy. For more information, call us today at 833-801-5483.


Pornography Addiction

Sexual compulsion is not regarded as a mental illness by many. Shamed and stigmatized by mass culture, sexual addictions are swept under the rug and made a joke of. For someone suffering from an addiction to sex, sexual activity, or pornography, their illness is no laughing matter. Money, relationships, careers, and even physical health, are compromised by a compulsive need for sex.

Pornography addiction

is categorized as a process addiction. Process addictions do not necessarily include an end result, as opposed to getting high or drunk on drugs and alcohol. Instead, they involve the compulsivity and impulsivity of an entire process, like watching pornography. Process addictions can cause equal damage to one’s life as drug and alcohol abuse can. Most affected is the individual themselves and their mental health.

Obsessive and impulsive behavior surrounding pornography causes a disruption in the mental health of the individual as well as their family. Recently, celebrity Teri Crews disclosed his addiction to pornography. In multiple interviews, he explained that hours upon hours of his daily life was being lost to compulsively watching pornographic videos, viewing pictures, and more.

Pornography addiction can include chat rooms, forums, “sexting”, and webcam viewing. Because of the sexual nature of pornography addiction it is often confused with sex addiction. As a result, many assumptions are made about the details. Pornography addiction does not necessarily include any actual sexual acts. For example, someone addicted to pornography is not necessarily addicted to masturbation, which commonly accompanies pornography watching.

Where it is involved, however, the pleasure affiliated with viewing pornography gets hardwired. When it comes to real life affection, intimacy, and sexual relation, someone addicted to pornography feels that it falls short. The brain has programmed itself to be turned on by the extremes and detached reality of pornography.

Human relationships suffer. Feeling isolated, ashamed, and alone, someone might go deeper into their pornography addiction looking for solace. Online subscriptions and memberships can cost a lot of money, bringing on financial strain.

Recovering from addiction to pornography is possible with treatment and therapy. Discovering the underlying causes for the compulsion to watch pornography usually reveals unresolved issues. Assessing those issues and working through them therapeutically, along with creating a program of recovery, helps to relieve the obsession to engage in pornography.

Enlightened Solutions treats dual-diagnosis patients of substance abuse and mental disorders. If you or a loved one are suffering from mental illness and are seeking treatment call us today 833-801-5483.


intensive outpatient program

Mental Health is a Problem for Children in School

Addiction is both a disease of it’s own and a symptom of others. The Big Book of Alcoholics Anonymous aptly states that “our liquor was but a symptom.” Increasingly, addiction, alcoholism, or general substance use disorder is being dually diagnosed. Dual-diagnosis refers to the two prong diagnosis of substance abuse and other mental health disorder. Depression, anxiety, and ADHD are three of the most common dual-diagnosis issues found in conjunction with substance use. Without the early intervention and treatment of mental health disorders, substance abuse can develop as a coping mechanism.

Mental Health is a Problem for Children in School

NPR reports that in the United States, one out of every five school children shows signs of mental illness (in a given school year). Problematically, upwards of 80% of children who demonstrate symptoms of mental illness and may have it will not be treated for it. Untreated mental illness in early stages of development tends to worsen through the hormonal changes of puberty. Entering teenagehood when adolescents are naturally beginning to experiment with drugs and alcohol, a young adult with preexisting mental illness will be prone to addiction.

Addiction is not the only problem that can be created by untreated mental illness in school age children. Unless there is an active parent supporting their specific needs in learning, a child will suffer academically. As a result, they will likely receive criticism, ridicule, and punishment from their learning institutions. Wishing to avoid the humiliation and frustration, they might start skipping classes, underperforming academically, and turning to drugs for escape.

A similar occurrence happens in much of the treatment industry. Though dual-diagnosis is becoming more common, many treatment centers are not equipped to work with such clients. Enlightened Solutions is a certified and licensed dual-diagnosis treatment facility. In uncertified facilities, they might view the symptomology of mental illness as a lack of willingness, lack of motivation, or problematic behavior. Just like acting up in school, patients in treatment will begin to rebel. Sadly, their frustrations will lead to discharge and potential relapse.

Recognizing and treating co-occurring mental illness disorders in addiction patients is critical at any age or stage of development.

If you are concerned you or a loved one may be suffering from a mental disorder that is causing complications such as substance abuse, call Enlightened Solutions today 833-801-5483.