Depression and substance abuse are often found together. When this happens it can be very difficult for the treatment team to determine which came first, like the chicken and the egg joke. Depression can cause individuals to drink or use drugs in an attempt to alleviate the symptoms they are experiencing and make them feel better. Excessive drug or alcohol use can cause changes in the brain that can lead to depression as well though, so the treatment team must determine which condition predates the other or whether they occurred simultaneously. This is more complicated and may take more time to achieve than if there is only a single condition being treated.
If you or a loved one suffers from depression it is important to remember that alcohol or street drugs will not help. These substances will only make your symptoms worse and complicate treatment but they also increase your risk of arrest or being placed in dangerous or unsafe situations. If you have a substance abuse problem and you have episodes of depression then you should speak with a professional in this area. There is help available for both conditions, and you can achieve a full recovery and get your life back with the right choice of treatment programs and facilities. If a dual diagnosis is offered then you will need to find specialists who can treat both your depression and your substance abuse. If either one is left untreated then your chance for a full recovery can be drastically reduced.