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Is There a Link Between Alcoholism and Depression?

The link between alcoholism and depression is clearly defined. The only question remaining is the individual factor of what illness came first. Did depression present such severe symptoms that the individual used alcohol as a coping mechanism? On the other hand, was the individual with an alcohol use disorder engulfed in depression following physical and psychological from the addiction? Dual diagnosis is a common dilemma; both entities’ treatment must be addressed and implemented simultaneously.

Are you experiencing severe depression and feeling lost in sadness and hopelessness? Some people are overwhelmed with their life situations and feel unable to cope. Alcoholism and depression often go hand in hand, with symptoms escalating and no relief, affecting every aspect of a person’s life.

Alcoholism: What if it Comes First?

The relationship with alcohol can go from abuse to addiction quickly. Specific thinking patterns, behaviors, and psychological factors are involved with an alcohol use disorder. Those with a healthy relationship with alcohol do not experience any of these signs or symptoms. Therefore, in understanding the connection between alcoholism and depression, it’s essential to understand alcoholism and alcohol-specific treatment.

Severe alcohol use affects brain chemistry. For example, serotonin and dopamine neurotransmitters regulate mood, happiness, and well-being. Those using excessive amounts of alcohol cause the brain’s vital balance to fluctuate, triggering symptoms of depression and health issues. These kinds of effects on the brain can trigger mental illness, demonstrating the link between alcoholism and depression.

The following thinking patterns and behaviors are a direct indication of alcohol use disorder:

  • Lifestyle, occupational, and relationship difficulties because of drinking
  • Irrational thinking allows for consuming alcohol in unsafe situations
  • Building a high tolerance to alcohol
  • Experiencing withdrawal symptoms when drinking subsides or stops
  • An inability to go through the day without drinking

In the case of an individual with an alcohol abuse disorder, first, drinking can initiate changes in the brain to cause depression, anxiety, and other mental illnesses. Dual diagnosis is more complex to treat than addiction alone or depression alone. Alcoholism and depression can escalate to dangerous levels that are physically disabling and lead to suicidal thoughts and self-harm behaviors.  Finding a treatment center that can treat both illnesses is crucial for success in recovery.

Depression: What if Mental Illness Occurs before Alcoholism?

Depression comes in different forms. Unfortunately, each type of depression is equally disabling. In addition, an inability to incorporate healthy and positive coping mechanisms often results in drinking alcohol or drug use to relieve symptoms. Therefore, understanding the types of depression and the symptoms and causes is an essential educational journey. In grasping the connection between alcoholism and depression, education creates a foundation for possible treatment.

Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD)

Changes in light or daytime hours are the initial cause of this type of depression. However, Seasonal Affective Disorder, or SAD for short, is so much more than the winter blues; it is often referred to. Throughout the winter months, individuals with SAD experience debilitating depression. This depression must be experienced for at least two consecutive years for a diagnosis to be determined. Typical symptoms of Seasonal Affective Disorder can include:

  • Overwhelming feelings of sadness
  • Irritability
  • Long hours of oversleeping
  • Gaining weight from changes in appetite

The link between alcoholism and depression with SAD occurs when the user drinks alcohol to relieve sadness and instill happiness. Catch twenty-two occurs when the individual with SAD craves alcohol to be satisfied. The body becomes dependent, and the brain chemistry is once again affected. Stopping the cycle becomes impossible to achieve alone.

Major Depression

Of all the types of depression, major depression is the most severe. Researchers have proven that twenty to twenty-five percent of adults living in the United States experience at least one major depressive episode. Intense sadness and worthlessness overwhelm individuals and interfere with every aspect of their lives. When alcoholism and depression connect, it’s catastrophic. It is essential to evaluate the following symptoms to conclude you may be experiencing major depression.

  • Irritability and moodiness
  • Excessive crying
  • No or little energy and no motivation for anything
  • Insomnia or hypersomnia
  • Recurring thoughts of how to commit suicide

Other Types of Depression

There are many types of depression not mentioned here. Individuals experiencing any form of depression can seldom recover without professional help. In each case, the link between alcoholism and depression is clear. Alcoholism aggravates depression, and the symptoms of depression are aggravated by alcohol use. The problem is more prevalent than most realize. Other forms of depression can include:

  • Psychotic Depression includes symptoms of hallucinations, paranoia, and delusions
  • Persistent Depressive Disorder or dysthymia has symptoms for at least two years
  • Bipolar Depression includes complex and challenging management of severe highs and lows

How Are Alcoholism and Depression Diagnosed?

There is no diagnosis until the individual feels compelled to get help. Both mental illness and substance use disorders are crippling and damage the ability to think clearly. Alcoholism and depression are treated by many treatment centers and can be determined through an assessment, medical examination, and lab testing. Medical and mental health professionals have protocols to make a precise diagnosis before treatment can begin.

The medical professional will eliminate all possible health issues that could be causing the depression from a physical standpoint. Both professions use the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders to reach a diagnosis for depression. Substance abuse disorders have their criteria to be determined in assessments. Alcoholism and depression present at the same time are described as dual diagnoses.

Find Help in Treating Alcoholism and Depression in Tennessee

If you are searching for a qualified treatment center for alcohol use disorder and depression, Freeman Recovery Center in Tennessee has programs to assist you. Dual diagnosis treatment is available, and we can begin an assessment to determine the facts of what you are facing.

Our staff is encouraging and compassionate, understanding the power of mental illness and addiction. We welcome any type of inquiry for more information. Contact us today.

What is Partial Hospitalization Addiction Treatment?

Choosing an addiction treatment program can be confusing, stressful, and overwhelming. For example, what is partial hospitalization addiction treatment? However, if your search for a program has pointed out that your best option is toward Partial Hospitalization (PHP) treatment, Freeman Recovery offers many diverse group opportunities within a clinically structured program. PHP is an excellent opportunity for treatment with a medically supervised, structured day program. PHP is easily coordinated with mental and physical health needs. If you’re exploring this option, this could be a good fit.

What is a Partial Hospitalization Program?

What is partial hospitalization addiction treatment? Daily treatment programs allow patients to receive critical elements of treatment, allowing them to go home at night. Stepping away from detox and residential treatment, PHP continues teaching healthy lifestyle skills, intensive therapy programs, and a structured educational plan. A PHP could be the answer if you’re looking for a vehicle to provide life-long recovery and relapse prevention.

The PHP program utilizes evidence-based therapies, including individual and group. Access to medical professionals and newly introduced mental health holistic therapies are a consideration. What is partial hospitalization addiction treatment? A partial hospitalization program is a vital relapse prevention opportunity for those who need to work or go to school.

The program is structured to encompass attendance five days per week, generally six hours a day, and this option also offers sober living arrangements. In addition, most programs have extensive mental health considerations and encourage newer therapy modalities. For example, experiential & talk therapy is proving to be successful. Finally, in-depth educational opportunities can guide you toward living without using substances as a crutch.

Therapies Provided in Partial Hospitalization Addiction Treatment

Breaking down therapy opportunities with a partial hospitalization program can reveal an insight into their success. Understanding the purpose of each type of therapy will reveal why this program is invaluable. What is partial hospitalization addiction treatment?  This therapy allows the individual to dig deep into their personal growth through constant guidance and an understanding as to why they became addicted in the first place.

  • Individual Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT). A licensed mental health professional is chosen through the initial needs assessment. CBT is geared toward changing negative behaviors and thought patterns that can lead to abusing alcohol or drugs. In addition, this type of therapy offers a safe environment for trust to be developed. In this therapy, the patient learns about identifying triggers that might lead to negative behaviors and thoughts. Then, learning to replace those negative behaviors with healthy coping mechanisms is vital. In addition, CBT involves trauma work, learning about building self-esteem, and new relationship skills. Finally, goal setting is vital in learning how to increase self-worth.
  • Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT). A form of CBT, DBT is geared toward learning how to recognize, regulate and process emotions and feelings.
  • Experiential and talk therapy. Found to be highly effective in treating substance use disorders, a combination of theories including Gestalt therapy, talk therapy, and specific aspects of CBT.  This therapy addresses denial, initiating cooperation in treatment, developing insights, and using more positive approaches in the process.
  • Group therapy. Trained mental health professionals facilitate group sessions each day. Peer support is incredibly effective for relapse prevention, building social skills, and learning how to communicate effectively. Trust and vulnerability being essential factors in the group, allow the patient to remove their walls and share their fears and difficulties.

Benefits of Partial Hospitalization Programs

What is partial hospitalization addiction treatment? A beneficial, cost-effective, flexible, transitional treatment in a structured, professionally supervised environment. Without flexibility and structure, relapse is possible. Therefore, it is essential to remember the goal is sobriety and relapse prevention.

  • Medication management is a desirable and helpful benefit of partial hospitalization programs. However, new treatment approaches are leaning toward softening the blow to include medications that are useful to counteract chemical changes in the brain that have caused damage. This benefit is only possible through scrutiny of the professional medical supervision supplied in the program.
  • Drug Testing for Accountability: Relapses can happen. Although the goal is to stay sober, patients must maintain accountability, and drug testing is crucial. All patients must know that random drug testing is part of the program.
  • Flexibility in Program Length: This is a personal determination. Depending upon the severity of the addiction and the previous programs participated in, the program time frame varies. Compliance, support systems, and the ability to manage a successful and sober lifestyle are determining factors.

What is partial hospitalization addiction treatment? This addiction treatment is an exciting, flexible, and desirable option. Insurance may pay for this part or all of this type of program. However, if you are serious about a life-long commitment to sobriety, starting on the right foot using all available tools is a wise choice. Freeman Recovery Center can help you make this vital decision while addressing concerns.

Find Help In Choosing Partial Hospitalization Addiction Treatment in Tennessee

Are you deciding to invest in your future by choosing a PHP for addiction treatment? If you are in Tennessee or looking to recover in this area, Freeman Recovery Center offers professional, flexible, and successful PHP programs. It is a lovely program with many group therapies and sober living opportunities. Contact us to start your journey now.

Understanding the Cycle of Addiction

Understanding the cycle of addiction is vital when using drugs, alcohol, or other substances and having no control. But, of course, no one intends to become addicted to a substance. Developing the urge to use and the cravings for the highs was never the goal of that first-time user. Recreational use was fun, and everyone seemed to be doing it too. It doesn’t take long, but alcohol and other substances begin to threaten the well-being of people who never intended to become addicted.

With initial uses, the user enjoys the euphoria or the relaxing effect of the substance. However, in a very short time, tolerance builds for the substance, and more is needed to achieve those feelings of being high or relaxed. The cycle of addiction involves the body and mind becoming dependent on a chemical change that occurs as a result of substance abuse. It happens without the user realizing they have crossed a line into addiction.

What is Addiction?

Obsessive thinking and compulsively needing drugs, alcohol, food, sex, or anything, despite the negative results of their actions, define addiction. The cycle of addiction always starts with an innocent initiation to the substance, the attraction to the high or desired effect, and tolerance and dependency.

Other factors of addiction are intense physical cravings and emotional obsessions. Addiction can begin with prescribed legal medications or a few drinks after work with friends, but when chronic usage continues, misuse occurs. After misuse, tolerance, and dependence contribute to the cycle of addiction and abuse begins. The steps of the cycle of addiction include:

  • Misuse
  • Abuse
  • Addiction

What Does Addiction Do to the Brain?

Alcohol, drugs, and other substances alter the brain’s chemistry. Neurotransmitters are part of the brain’s control center, sending messages about the functioning of the brain and body. The changes in brain chemistry are made in the initial stages of the cycle of addiction. The neurotransmitters serotonin and dopamine are responsible for sending messages throughout the body.

The effect on the neurotransmitters is where tolerance, dependence, and addiction are built. The brain’s chemistry is altered, and this new alteration becomes the standard brain chemistry. Addiction then alters the thought processes and decision-making capabilities. Although an addict understands they are addicted, they develop denial and other harmful habits involved in the cycle of addiction.

In the cycle of addiction, once denial has become established in the addicts’ thinking, they begin to minimize and justify their substance use. Even in lucid moments when the addict allows themself to think about stopping using, to break the cycle of addiction, the addicted brain says no. The cycle is now more powerful than rational thinking. The brain wants the euphoria, the pleasure, the substance. It is in control.

What is the Cycle of Addiction?

What begins with single use, the cycle of addiction continues to change an individual’s brain chemistry. It began with physical or mental pain resulting in the need for relief through a substance. Once the substance affects brain chemistry, rational thought can’t control it. The following signs and symptoms are characterized by the cycle of addiction.

Do you recognize any of these signs, symptoms, or behaviors?

  • Frustration and emotional or physical pain lead to a demand for relief.
  • Discomfort leads to fantasizing that alcohol or drugs can relieve the intense pain.
  • Fleeting thoughts of alcohol and drugs change into obsessive thinking about how much better life would be if they used alcohol or drugs to alleviate their pain
  • Engagement with addictive activities involving using substances to get relief
  • Loss of control of the usage and behaviors
  • Feelings of dissatisfaction because of guilty, shameful, or remorseful thoughts
  • The addict promises to stop the behavior and substance abuse to themself

The cycle of addiction calls out once the pain returns. The fantasies return, and obsessive thoughts of using the substance for relief. This cycle can be interrupted at times but almost always returns without treatment. The addicted brain controls the situation, and it chooses the substance.

Breaking the Cycle of Addiction

Intervention, a desperate crisis, or a moment of clarity can break the cycle of addiction. Once the addict decides to stop using and expresses it outwardly in public to someone, time is of the essence. The cycle of addiction will pull the addict back in quickly. Family, friends, or the addict themself must seek treatment, get through detox, and begin living a sober lifestyle. Learning how to cope with pain, emotional or physical, without the use of a substance.

Detox is the breaking point. It is advisable to enlist in medical detox and, in some cases, medication-assisted detox. Withdrawal symptoms are brutal. The cycle of addiction breaks when the brain chemistry is restored to normal, new positive, healthy coping mechanisms are learned and utilized, and the promise of sobriety becomes a priority and the goal.

Treatment for Addiction

Breaking the cycle of addiction is staying sober is a new reality. Medical detox helps maintain sobriety. Professional treatment teams provide support and education to maintain sobriety and avoid relapse. In addition, medical professionals monitor physical and mental stress from withdrawal.

Cognitive behavioral therapy is individual therapy between two people. The goal is to learn why old behaviors occurred and how to form new positive and healthy habits. Self-exploration, revisiting past traumas, and finding the addiction’s roots helps prevent relapse. Group therapy offers a support system for peers experiencing the same processes.

Find a New Understanding of the Cycle of Addiction in Tennessee

If you are struggling with an addiction or a loved one is trying to find treatment, contact us at Freeman Recovery Center. Our beautiful facility offers a peaceful environment to find sobriety and begin a new healthy, upbeat lifestyle. We can help you to understand the cycle of addiction and break it. Contact us now with your questions. We want to help you begin a challenging but rewarding journey.

How Will I Know When I Hit Rock Bottom?

Most people think of hard times when someone says they have hit rock bottom. However, addiction can be the most challenging time of anyone’s life. In treatment terms, the addict has a moment of clarity when the realization happens that the consequences of the addiction outweigh the benefits. In these moments, the person with a substance use disorder ends their denial, stops blaming everyone, and asks for help.

The term “rock bottom” is a term that Alcoholics Anonymous coined as the necessary motivation to seek help for addiction. Much like the stigma that surrounds mental health, at one time, physicians believed addiction was a moral failure instead of a disease. Currently, it is understood that thinking you must hit rock bottom before starting treatment is a myth.

What is Rock Bottom?

A place of heartache, pain, and desperation for those who hit rock bottom in addiction and have reached their breaking point; it can’t get worse. In many situations, rock bottom is reached after a significant event. Whether it is a DUI, losing a job, or losing everything tangible in their world, they must get help. Often rock bottom is the turning point for detox and treatment to begin.

With most people experiencing a substance use disorder, there are warning signs that rock bottom is about to occur. Educated treatment professionals can assess or evaluate the status of the addiction by observing what type of warning signs are present. Unfortunately, those who hit rock bottom have had their share of tough times. Therefore, it is essential to understand that not all people who are addicted will reach rock bottom.

The Warning Signs Before Rock Bottom

If your loved one is struggling with a substance use disorder, you may recognize the following warning signs. Drugs and alcohol can devastate every aspect of a person. However, understanding and recognizing these warning signs do not ensure that your loved one will hit rock bottom. Instead, understanding the standard thinking and behaviors of those with substance abuse disorders can help you support your loved one.

  • Hygiene fails when you hit rock bottom. One of addiction’s initial signs or symptoms can be depression. When depressed, it takes too much effort to take care of yourself. No shower, brushing your hair and teeth, and getting out of bed can be impossible. When you hit rock bottom, it is a dark place.
  • Physical illness. When self-care fails, those with a severe substance use disorder experience more extreme physical symptoms. When they hit rock bottom, your mind, and body are broken. General overwhelming feelings of being unwell are triggers for desperation.
  • Feelings of hopelessness and helplessness prevail. Those close to hitting rock bottom feel trapped. When you hit rock bottom and are overwhelmed with suicidal thoughts, it is time to seek help. Suicide is the tenth leading cause of death in the United States.
  • Alienating the inner circle. When you are in a dark place, you push people away. Then, just before they hit rock bottom, there is a loss of control. Emotions may be high, and dealing with people is impossible so the addict will isolate themselves. In extreme cases, anxiety and panic are extraordinarily high, and some develop agoraphobia.
  • Wild mood swings. Right before addicts hit rock bottom, it’s common for their emotional health to be exhausted. Feeling grumpy, irritable, temperamental, and so restless, no relief exists; the user is on edge. People will want to stay away and steer clear of the negativity. Lashing out at those trying to help is not uncommon.

What Happens When You Hit Rock Bottom?

Not every person will hit rock bottom. Likewise, successful sobriety is not dependent upon hitting rock bottom. However, many treatment professionals can connect with the substance abuse user during this turning point. Then, finally, there comes a moment of clarity when the user can accept help.

Feelings of failure are typical for those experiencing a substance use disorder, especially during the rock bottom moments. However, when you hit rock bottom, you can understand the effects of addiction on yourself and everyone around you. Rock bottom represents the worst moments of addiction, and looking back brings a sense of accomplishment for those who undertake treatment. With the help of therapy, the substance user will understand they are not a failure.

Difficulties Found at Rock Bottom

Rock bottom is challenging and painful. Detox is complex and carries discomfort. Those who hit rock bottom and accept help have a mountain to climb. Facing friends and family who have painfully stood by is difficult. However, the initial stages of treatment and becoming sober can be successful with the help of the treatment team and support system.

Medically monitored detox is advisable for long-term addiction. Then, the individual, group, and family therapies can all work together to form a successful treatment plan for a sober future. Most people who have completed treatment do not like to think back to when they hit rock bottom. It is best to look forward, not backward, and live a happy and healthy lifestyle free from addiction.

Find Help When Someone You Love Has Hit Rock Bottom in Tennessee

If you or a loved one is experiencing rock bottom in their addiction, now is the time to reach out to one of our treatment professionals. Freeman Recovery Center understands that the essential moments of rock bottom could be a prime opportunity to accept treatment help. We can schedule an assessment and begin the journey to sobriety quickly. Contact us to speak with our understanding staff now to find help.

What are the Stages of Addiction Recovery?

Addiction has a devastating impact on the lives of individuals and families. Treatment options offer hope for those with a substance use disorder. Addiction is a meaningful, life-changing process. Taking on addiction in stage, the stages of addiction recovery, can help rebuild a solid foundation for a sober lifestyle.

What are the Stages of Addiction Recovery?

Five stages of addiction recovery can lead people with a substance abuse disorder to a sober and healthy life. Individual treatment plans can combine evidence-based therapies with new holistic therapies that are successfully integrated. Addiction recovery demands the decision to get treatment, strong willpower, and support from family, friends, and group therapy. The five stages of addiction recovery are:

  1. The decision to stop using drugs or alcohol and accept treatment. (Some people consider this the “pre-contemplative” stage.)
  2. Initiating treatment through a professional alcohol and drug program (also considered the contemplative stage).
  3. Early abstinence through detoxification (also considered the preparation stage).
  4. Learning to maintain abstinence with treatment through the experience of the action stage completes treatment.
  5. Advanced recovery to prevent relapse and live a sober lifestyle

The First Stage

Contemplating a life that does not include using a substance begins the stages of addiction recovery. Initially, people stuck in addiction are defensive and continually justify their use of drugs or alcohol. This problematic stage involves conflicting emotions, feelings, and thoughts. Lacking the ability to have a clear view of their existence in addiction, they may have tried to quit before and failed.

The person stuck in this stage can not understand that there is light at the end of the tunnel. Still absorbed in physical and mental tug-of-war, the person longs for normality and sobriety. The stages of addiction recovery are implemented to address these fears and complex emotions. The critical concept to grasp in this stage is a seed has been planted, and there is hope.

The Second Stage

The decision to change is the key characteristic of this crucial stage of the recovery process. The stages of addiction recovery are laid out to take advantage of this decision immediately and move forward. Support from family and friends and solid advice from a professional treatment counselor guide their thinking into hoping for a positive outcome.  Somehow the person with a substance use disorder can put aside blame, judgments and accusations and listen to reason.

The stages of addiction recovery begin with complex conflicting thoughts, emotions, and feelings about the addictive substance. Ambivalence and denial are constantly fought in the first hours of rehab, with the help of professional therapists who can ease confusion. During this initial stage, the treatment plan is to keep the goal of sobriety at the forefront and encourage continual participation in recovery.

Assessment is initiated, an addiction history is taken, and the treatment plans are introduced to the patient. Exploration of the stages of addiction recovery includes pointing out the severe effects of addiction. Next, engaging the patient to embrace their decision to change can include looking at their feelings of denial. Finally, one can implement the plan, and treatment proceeds to the third stage.

The Third Stage

This complex and challenging stepping stone of sobriety includes detoxification from the substance and difficult withdrawal symptoms. This stage points to the importance of professional addiction treatment programs. Perhaps the turning point towards sobriety is the most intense of all the stages of addiction recovery; detox or early abstinence is the turning point toward sobriety. The following factors outline the challenges presented in the third stage of addiction recovery.

  • Identifying triggers and how to handle cravings
  • Withdrawal symptoms
  • Physicality of cravings
  • Psychological dependence

Acquiring coping skills during this phase is imperative. The positive and healthy coping skills learned during this challenging stage will carry the patient through recovery. Encouragement from the treatment team is paramount. Strategies learned in the stages of addiction recovery will be used throughout the first ninety days of recovery treatment.

  • Participating in healthy activities
  • Self-help group participation
  • Learning to recognize triggers as they occur
  • Healthy and positive behavior changes to turn to

The Fourth Stage

Moving out of treatment after ninety days is the action stage of maintaining abstinence. Some patients may have begun treatment involving detox and inpatient treatment during the first ninety days of sobriety. Others may have participated in an outpatient treatment program. The stages of addiction recovery have built the foundation for the newly sober patient to learn how to rely upon their freshly learned skills.

The coping skills learned in treatment help with the following lifestyle factors and avoiding relapse:

  • Avoiding substituting addictions
  • Building positive and healthy relationships
  • Living a drug-free lifestyle
  • Understanding and implementing occupational skills and money management
  • Processing emotions and feelings in a healthy manner
  • A healthy lifestyle, including nutrition and exercise

The Final Stage

Advanced recovery after five years sober includes living a satisfying and fulfilling life as a sober person. People in this stage can develop long-term goals. Therapies may subside, although it is always essential to consider continuation with group therapy. Successful integration of a happy and healthy life incorporates the stages of addiction recovery.

Find Help with the Stages of Addiction Recovery in Tennessee

Finding yourself in that initial stage of addiction recovery can be confusing and complicated. Freeman Recovery Center in Tennessee can guide those with substance use disorders in the initial stages of recovery. We understand how complex feelings and emotions can be during this process. Deciding to become sober is life-changing. We can help with the process. Contact us today.

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