Addiction And Depression

What is depression?

 

Depression is a persistent feeling of sadness or low mood that can last for weeks or months at a time or even longer term than that.

 

Typical things that we notice if we are suffering from depression can include:

 

– Lack of enjoyment or losing interest in everyday activities

– Difficulty making decisions

– Not being able to cope with things that has previously been routine

– Feeling exhausted, restless or agitated

– Reduced appetite or weight loss

– Physical pain

– Sleep difficulties

– Thoughts about self-harm or suicide

 

There are a number of theories as to the reasons why we can become susceptible to depression, ranging from genetics or reactions to illness or significant changes that may occur in our lives, trauma we may have experienced or reactions to medication or other substances we may be using. But there is very little conclusive evidence as to why some people are more likely to develop depression than others.

 

depression

 

 

Anxiety and depression do have close links – it is fairly common for someone to experience feelings of depression as a result of the anxiety they have been feeling.

 

Broadly speaking, the main difference between anxiety and depression if we are separating the two, is that the moods experienced don’t fluctuate so much. We don’t get that extreme tense feeling when we are contemplating a situation that is coming up, or we think might be coming up and how we feel about the uncertainty around it.

 

We tend to be contemplating such situations as if we know that the outcome has always been and will always be negative. ‘I cant do this, I will never be able to do this….’

 

It’s a negative cycle, a negative spiral of thinking. One thing goes wrong or feels wrong and we assume everything else will follow this pattern.

 

And often the issue is that if we follow this way of thinking, it can become a self-fulfilling prophecy and the ways that we think and act can lead to negative outcomes.

 

Addiction as a response to depression

 

So what we choose to do when we reach our limit of tolerating these feelings is to turn to something to try and block out these thoughts. This is often alcohol or drugs.

 

Our brains are receptive to these, they stimulate the reward circuitry and block out the depressive feelings.

 

So, we get away from the depressive feelings. However, as we know from considering the principles of why addictions develop, we are creating another issue to add to the one we have tried to cover up.

 

And that is all we are doing by using substances to get away from these feelings. Because the brain will want us to repeat this process when we experience the negative feelings again. We will be tempted to repeat the behaviour and will become reliant on doing so to get away from the depression.

 

We will then have the withdrawal to deal with when the effects of the substances wear off and that will cause temptation or craving to use the same method of getting away from the issue.

 

Once we are in that situation, our tolerance levels to the substance will increase and so our brains will be wanting greater quantities of the addictive substances in order to reach the same level of satisfaction we had experienced.

 

In addition to substance addiction, there is also the risk of other addictive behaviour developing in response to depression. Looking for something to fulfil us and move us away from these depressive feelings can lead to issues such as gambling or sex addictions to name just two. These behaviours have a similar effect as craving substances to alleviate negative feelings in that our brains will encourage us to access these activities more and more to satisfy our needs. Depression can also act as a trigger for developing eating disorders or self-harm, especially if we feel there is a lack of control in some aspect of our lives.

 

Dealing with depression effectively

 

We have seen many cases of clients dealing with depression successfully by developing and maintaining an active lifestyle.

 

This involves maintaining a sufficient number of activities or interests to keep our minds focused and stimulated. It can be any number of things, such as regular exercise, a variety of hobbies, socialising regularly, even something as simple as getting out and about and having a change of scene regularly enough. Feeling a sense of purpose and satisfaction from our work.

 

But the key here is variety. Enough different options for us to keep that stimulation working.

 

If we have enough variety of activity that can help regulate our sleep patterns, which can become irregular if we are experiencing depression. After a busy day, we can become naturally tired in the evenings, which means our minds and bodies are ready for the natural rest that sleep provides. If our mind has been suitably stimulated by our activities, then it is more likely to naturally switch off when we are tired and allow for restful sleep. Sufficient sleep will then allow us to feel rested and ready to focus to give our best and get maximum fulfilment again the following day.

 

Sometimes we need help getting to that stage where we can develop enough activity in our lives. We can work with our GP to use appropriate medication to reduce the effects of depression. We can seek counselling, which can help us to process the reasons for feeling depressed. Many different types of counselling exist and are suitable for different needs, but Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) techniques can be especially helpful in dealing with depression. They can help us explore our thought patterns and adjust those which may be having a negative or counter-productive effect on us.

 

Talking, whether through therapy, peer support groups or just chatting with friends or family, can be very useful. This can help relieve the burden of thoughts or feelings we have been building up and can help us start to take back control of shaping how we want our lives to develop.

 

If we feel that we have developed or at risk of developing substance addictions, then  A Residential Rehab is a safe place where you can have a medical detox along with intensive counselling and psychotherapy. It will include all of the above-mentioned therapies and more. To find out if residential rehab is the right option for you, please call 0330 088 9518.

 

 

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Detoxification (detox) is the medical intervention required for someone who is physically dependent to drugs or alcohol. If required, medical detoxification would be the first step taken in residential rehab. Detox is used to prevent uncomfortable and dangerous (even fatal) withdrawals symptoms resulting in suddenly becoming abstinent from alcohol/certain drugs.

The goal of a medical detox is to aid in the physical healing required following long term addiction and rid the body of all together of substance whilst providing a cushion for unpleasant symptoms of withdrawals. Detox is not considered the whole treatment for drug/alcohol addiction and it is always recommended that a comprehensive rehabilitation program is used along side to help maintain long term abstinence.

Medication is often required for alcohol detox. If you are dependent on alcohol and experiencing withdrawal symptoms it is vitally important to seek medical advice prior to stopping. There is a long list of medications used when treating alcohol addiction and the exact medication given to an individual will depend on their needs/medical history. Some of these include;

  • Chlordiazepoxide (Librium)
  • Lorazepam (Ativan)
  • Diazapam (vailium)


Librium and Valium are the most commonly used detox medication in the UK. All medication used to help with alcohol detox have been proven to help reduce the effects of withdrawal symptoms.

There are also a number of drugs recombined by the NHS to help treat alcohol misuse. Some of these include:

  • Naltrexone
  • Disulfiram (Antabuse)
  • Nalmefene
  • Acamprosate (campral)

Medication is always required for heroin detox. For someone suffering from heroin addiction, the thought of detoxification (detox) can be exceptionally daunting. Withdrawal symptoms from opiates, such as heroin, can be severe and include pain, vomiting, nausea and shaking.

There are different ways that heroin detox can be carried out, most usually either ‘maintenance therapy’ or ‘full medical detox’.

Attempting to switch from heroin to a heroin substitute, usually on a controlled prescription, is known as Maintenance therapy. Subsites used are most often methadone or buprenorphine.

A full medical detox from heroin will always be carried out in a residential rehab setting and will allow the individual to switch form heroin to a substitute and slowly withdraw completing treatment free of all substances. Someone using a heroin substitute can choose to have a full medical detox at any time, however detoxing substances such a methadone can often add to the length of detox required. Drugs most commonly used to fully detox from heroin are, Subutex, Suboxone and Methadone. Much like alcohol, the exact drugs used will be dependent on the individuals needs/medical history.

Once detoxed from heroin the risk of overdose is much higher following relapse due to tolerance following withdrawal.

The length of treatment in a residential rehab depends on a number of elements. Some substances require longer periods of detox than others.

Private paying patients will also often choose a length of stay that suites their therapeutic and financial needs. As a rule, a full treatment program in a rehab is considered to be 28 days (often referred to as a month), however, treatment is offered in several different ways and lengths starting at 7 days.

Treating alcohol addiction will always require a minimum of 7-10 days, this would be considered the detoxification (detox) faze. The length required for treating drug addiction can vary drastically depending on the substance being used. Detox for Heroin addiction is generally around 14 days minimum, with more time required if substances such a methadone are being used. Treating prescription drug addiction can often take the longest. The time required for treating gambling addiction, eating disorders and sex addiction will be based on the individuals needs.

Rehab programs can be as long as an individual requires but primary treatment is normally caped at 12 weeks, with the offering for further secondary and tertiary treatment thereafter.

*based on average rehab stays, everyone will vary dependant on needs and medical requirement/history.

There is no need for your employer to know that you are seeking help for trauma and addiction unless you choose to involve them with the process. All employers should have a policy that explains what you do if you cannot come to work due to illness – illness to include treating alcohol addiction/treating drug addiction.

If your work absence extends over 7 days your employer is likely to require an official statement of fitness to work which would be obtained from your GP. This would need to supply evidence of your illness as well as any adjustments required for returning to work, fazed return or reduced hours, but does not need to specify in detail the reason why you have been absent.

If you are absent from work for 7 days of less, for example entering rehab for a detoxification (detox) on a Saturday for 7-10 days taking a full week away from work, you can self-certify your illness by letting your employer work you will not be attending work for that period of time. Exactly how an individual would do this would be dependent on a specific companies’ policies on taking sick leave.

Any time longer than 7 days it is likely an employer will require a note from the individuals GP certifying their sickness and a fit note on return. Most companies have a clearly outlined policy on sickness and receiving sick pay so the exact requirement can vary. A rehab will always be willing to advise on time off work.

How much does rehab cost is a very frequently asked question. The cost of treatment can range from £1,000 per week upwards depending on the place, with luxury rehab being the most expensive.

There are free options available on the NHS but the waitlist of those looking for free treatment is longer than that for privately paying patients. Some private health insurance policies will cover treatment in some rehabs around the country.

Choosing the right rehab centre will often be based on priced but it is important to follow guidance on the most suitable treatment centre for an individual’s needs which our expert team of advisers are on hand to offer.

There are certainly pro’s for both treatment near by and traveling for treatment with one of the most asked question being should I get rehab near me? There are rehabs all over the UK and around the world that all offer expert programs, let’s look at how to choose a rehab.

Local treatment

Being close to home gives certainly has benefits. Visitors are normally permitted in rehab following the first 7 days stay, therefore if an individual is in treatment for a length of time longer than that being local will make it easier for loved ones to visit.

Most rehab centres will also provide a full aftercare plan for someone following treatment, this will include ongoing aftercare in the specific treatment centre. Living close by can make it easy to take full advantage of ongoing aftercare. There can also often be the option for ongoing care with an individual therapist, again being close by will allow that treatment to be carried out face to face.

Some individuals wish to be local but are willing to look broader, for instance the greater city of residence (London, Manchester, Liverpool, etc)

Treatment Away

Getting treatment away from home can be very appealing to some. Being out of the local area makes it a lot harder to just walk out of treatment as resources locally are unknown. Some also take comfort in knowing that they are not near home and focus more on treatment.

As the price for treatment can vary so much from one residential treatment centre to another, private paying patients often would rather travel to keep the cost down. Those using private health insurance may also have to travel to find a treatment centre covered in their policy.

When opting for treatment away from home this can be anywhere in the UK and also abroad. Aftercare can still be carried out and very successful using tools such as The Online Rehab.

There is no right or wrong when choosing where to go to residential rehab, but our expert advisors are always on hand to help provide information on all possible options.

Whilst millions of people in the UK have taken recreational drugs (amphetamine, cannabis, cocaine, crack, crystal meth, GHB, heron, ketamine, methadone, and prescription drugs) and drank alcohol not all become ‘addicted’. Most recent reports show that 279,793 individuals were in contact with drug and alcohol misuse services in the last year with over half of that being from opiate addiction and a quarter for alcohol.

There are several risk factors invoiced in addiction and those using drugs and alcohol socially, simply take the risk. These risks are as follows;

Tolerance – basically, if a substance is used repeatedly an individual’s tolerance to it will build. This will result in more of the same substance being required to get the same effect. In the long run this can easily lead to addiction and physical dependencies.

Environmental risks – these can include influences such a peer pressure and stress as well as physical or mental abuse of an individual (particularly as a child). Overall, those who live with frequent pressures and stress are more likely to reach for a substance to cope and are therefore at higher risk of becoming addicted.

Drug type – it is very well known that certain drugs are simply more addictive than others. Using substances such as heroin increases the risk of becoming addicted for need to ‘chase’ a high as well as physical dependency.

Drug administration – how a drug is administered can affect its addictive qualities. A drug injected rather than smoked or snorted will release a quicker and more intense high thus making it psychologically (and in many cases physically) more addictive.

Biological factors – it is now widely reported that being an addict is not only psychological but also biological. This includes your genetic makeup, mental health, sex and age. It is also reported to be 8 times more likely for the child of an addict to become an addict themselves.

Its believed that addiction is approximately half genetics and therefore some are 50% more likely to become addicted than others.

How do you help a loved one trapped in addiction?

The first step is to help and encourage the individual to become willing to accept help. They do not need to be shouting this off the rooftops, but they do need to be willing to go into treatment. There are ways to help someone become willing to get treatment for alcohol or treatment for drugs.

Set boundaries – set boundaries and stick to them. Once you have laid them out follow through with whatever consequences you have set however hard it is.

Stop finances – if you are financially supporting someone stopping these finances can be the quickest way for the addict needing to ask for help. With no money to acquire a substance an addict’s options become very limited.

Intervention – getting together with other family members/friends/colleagues and staging an intervention is often very successful in the fist stage of acceptance and gaining an admission to residential rehab.

You can’t make them quit, this can lead to dangerous withdrawal. Boundaries are very important in helping someone become willing to get help. Unfortunately you cannot do someone’s recovery for them and without self-motivation it is very hard to make it work.

The next step is to call our highly trained advisers 0330 088 9518.

There is a huge range of rehab options available and where to start can be completely over whelming so let us help.