The Dual Diagnosis


Everyone has bad days. Whether it’s because of problems at home, at work or in our relationships, we all experience down periods in our lives. For most people, the down periods come and go in a reasonable, ordinary fashion and can be remedied by things that make us happy. But for those who suffer from depression, the emotional low periods don’t go away so easily. Clinical depression is a serious mental disability with severe consequences for the individual and his or her loved ones. 
Depression affects millions of people – keeping them from living normal, happy lives. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates that 10 percent of Americans suffer from this psychiatric disorder. The following groups have the highest risk of depression, according to data compiled by the CDC:
Substance abuse is common among people who are battling a depressive disorder. Because alcohol is a central nervous system depressant, the use of this drug tends to trigger depression symptoms like lethargy, sadness and hopelessness. However, many depressed individuals reach for drugs or alcohol as a way to lift their spirits or to numb painful thoughts. As a result, depression and substance abuse feed into each other, and one condition will often make the other worse

When an individual has both depression and an addiction, it is called a Dual Diagnosis. A Dual Diagnosis can be made up of any combination of a mental disorder (anxiety, depression, bipolar disorder) and addiction (drugs, alcohol, sex, gambling). Dual Diagnoses that include depressive disorders are among the most common forms of the problem; in fact, the Journal of Clinical Psychiatry reports that one in three adults who struggle with alcohol or drug abuse also suffers from depression
Depression is all too often a gateway into drug and alcohol use. It’s easy to see why. Those who experience feelings of depressions take alcohol and drugs in order to escape their negative emotions. But those who are clinically depressed are going to stay depressed if they do not seek treatment. And if these individuals are using drugs and alcohol on a regular basis, chances are their usage will soon turn into full-blown addiction as they continue in a vain attempt to self-medicate.
For some individuals who have depression and a substance use disorder, giving up drugs or alcohol can actually make depression worse. If you’ve been using alcohol for years to bury your depressive symptoms, you may find that your depression rises to the surface in sobriety. That’s why it’s so important to receive integrated treatment for both depression and substance abuse at the same time.

Without treating the depression that drives your addiction, or vice versa, you’re likely to go back to your addictive behaviors or to experience a return of your depressive symptoms as soon as you finish rehabilitation. In many cases, people who have depression and substance abuse drop out of conventional rehab programs because sobriety is too much to handle without the right level of therapeutic support.

If you or anyone you know is battling with depression and Substance Abuse please visit: or call 866-750-3936

All calls are Confidential

While The ARB Foundation believes in the power and efficacy of treatment, you are responsible for interviewing and selecting the provider or treatment. As The ARB Foundation does not provide treatment services, We cannot accept responsibility for any of the services provided by these or any other providers. 

If you have any questions please email us at:

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