Young man with head in had thinks alcohol can assuage his depression and anxiety.Depression and anxiety are very serious mental illnesses and also two of the leading causes of addiction. You may have started to have the symptoms of mental illness and not known what to do about them. Self-medicating with drugs or alcohol is often the easiest way to feel better, but then it becomes a problem. You may also be one of the people who became addicted to the medications you’ve taken for mental illness.

Understanding Depression and Anxiety

Anxiety is something that’s completely normal and happens to everyone, but some individuals have a different experience of these issues. It’s important to understand that anxiety is part of our survival instincts that help us steer clear of danger. When a danger is present, the part of the brain called the amygdala reacts as our fight, flight or freeze response. Some of the symptoms that occur when this response happens can include:

  • Much faster thought process
  • Sweating
  • Increased heart rate
  • Large pupils
  • Adrenaline

This part of the brain is supposed to deactivate once the danger or threat is gone, but it’s different with an anxiety disorder. Those with an anxiety disorder have this part of the brain triggered when the threat isn’t really a threat. There are also issues when this part of the brain doesn’t deactivate when the danger is gone. Others with a Generalized Anxiety Disorder have anxiety triggered sporadically for no clear reason.

Much like anxiety, depression is a normal symptom, but it’s having debilitating sadness to an extreme extent that causes problems. There are chemicals in our brain that are supposed to help us feel joy and optimism. These chemicals are lowered when something makes us sad, but eventually, they elevate in healthy individuals, causing the sensation of joy again. Those with depression have a brain that has difficulties creating the chemicals that let us feel joy.

How Depression and Anxiety Lead to Addiction

The symptoms of depression and anxiety can form at any point in a person’s life, but it often happens to young people. During teen brain development, you are at a much higher risk of these symptoms beginning to form. Without knowing what’s happening or who to turn to, the brain’s response is to seek out pleasure. Alcohol or drugs may have been your way of feeling happy when depressed or feeling peaceful when anxious.

The problem is that humans, much like other living creatures, form habits through reward-based learning. From the moment your brain makes the connection that alcohol or drugs make you feel better, it’s risky. The brain logs this memory to give you the idea to do that again the next time you experience depression and anxiety. Repeating this habit eventually leads you to be on autopilot, immediately turning to drugs or alcohol.

Overcoming Depression and Anxiety in Drug Treatment

Beaches Recovery specializes in dual diagnosis treatment because we understand the links between mental illness and addiction. Alcohol and anxiety often go hand-in-hand as well as substances used for depression. Our goal isn’t just to teach you how to overcome your addiction but how to manage your mental illness in healthy ways. We use different therapeutic techniques to help you become the driver of your own mind.

We understand that without treating your mental illness, recovery is going to be an extremely difficult journey. Depression and alcohol don’t mix, though many suffering with an alcohol addiction fail to realize this. Through individual and group therapy, you’ll receive suggestions on how to cope with mental illness. We’ve helped many people who are just like you go on to live much healthier and happier lives. With our help, you’ll be able to begin healing yourself and the relationships with those around you.

Don’t hesitate to call us today at 866-605-0532 so we can get you started on a path to sober living where your addiction and mental illness are in remission.