Interventions for Depression and Substance Use Disorders in Canada

Almost everyone has been affected by depression in Canada whether having experienced it themselves or with a loved one. Unfortunately depression and anxiety are on the rise in our country. 2019/2020 has seen a steep incline in people who are experiencing depression and anxiety due to the restrictions and losses that have come with the pandemic.

Canadian Interventionist Andy Bhatti states that depression and addiction can often go hand in hand. Many of the people he has helped as an Drug and Alcohol Interventionist in Canada were self-medicating for depression with the use of illegal drugs and alcohol. The problem he says is that substance abuse tends to exacerbate the problem of depression or anxiety, especially when using depressants like alcohol. It’s as though you’re feeding fire with fire. It’s a very hard trap to get out of on your own so enlisting the help of a Drug and Alcohol Interventionist is extremely helpful. Andy Bhatti has been facilitating and leading Interventions from Vancouver to NewFoundland for almost 10 years now.

Interventions for Dual-Diagnosis & Co-occurring Disorders in Canada

The dual presentation of a substance use disorder and another mental health disorder is known as dual diagnosis or co-occurring disorders in Canada. For people battling a combination of addiction and depression, it’s hard to determine which disorder came first in many situations. In cases where alcohol is the drug of choice for, it’s hard to diagnose whether it is alcoholism or an actual depressive disorder causing their depression. If opioids are the drug of choice, they can cause a higher risk of the user becoming more susceptible to a depressive disorder.

Dual diagnoses that include a form of clinical depression or anxiety are common.

Studies show that 1 in 3 Canadians who suffer from alcohol or drug abuse also suffer from depression or anxiety. If you have a co-occurring disorder, it is important to seek out treatment for both conditions. Our trained Interventionists are able to assist you and your family in selecting the right drug and alcohol rehab program in Canada.

It is important to understand that your substance use disorder may require detoxification, an inpatient treatment program, an outpatient treatment program or a partial hospitalization program all of which are available in Canada through Andy Bhatti Interventions. We can help you research and select a detox and treatment program in Canada that will offer you treatment for both depression and substance abuse issues. You will need medical staff and trained professionals and not all Canadian treatment centres offer that. There is an overwhelming amount of options and not all are right for everybody. We can help narrow the list and make sure you are comfortable with whatever program you choose before it starts, during and after you finish.

Why do Co-occurring Disorders Happen?

Most Interventionists will agree it’s often difficult to determine the causes of dual diagnoses, as there are many factors that can be responsible. However, depression and addiction frequently involve family history. If a person’s parents struggled with alcoholism, for example, they’re more likely to develop an alcohol addiction, which can trigger depression. Along this same vein, a person whose family has a history of mental illness may develop depression and turn to alcohol or drugs.

Another factor that commonly contributes to addiction and depression, says Andy Bhatti, Interventionist, is unresolved childhood trauma. A person who suffered physical, emotional, or sexual abuse as a child has an increased chance of developing depression in adulthood. Children who repress their trauma or don’t go through therapy run the risk of developing deeper wounds later in life.

5 Reasons Why Depression or Anxiety can lead to Drug or Alcohol Use

Anxiety Leads to Alcohol and Drug Abuse

Being too afraid to ask for help

This plays a big role in the connection between depression and drug use. With depression the desire to do anything fades. It can get to the point where asking for help becomes an overwhelming task. Also when you feel like you have no one to turn to or no other solution (whether it is true or not), drug use quickly becomes an attractive option to cope with the symptoms. The challenge is that depression can sometimes be hard to identify. So, it’s possible for someone to not know that what they’re going through is depression which makes asking for help that much harder.

The stigma of mental health

The stigma associated with mental health can make people want to keep their issues to themselves. This negative stigma convinces some people to stay silent about their struggles. You could worry about what your friends, family or even coworkers would say if they knew. Some view it as a weakness or something that can be fixed with will power. That fear builds until you’re convinced that the best option is to find a way to deal with the depression on your own. Rather than going through healthier channels for help, turning to drug use for relief allows people to stay isolated. It’s part of the appeal of drugs for people who are depressed. It allows you to feel better (at a cost) without challenging any of the negative emotions that are often hard to break.

Erosion of self worth

With depression, a person’s self-worth and self-esteem are generally quite low. People can fall into a cycle of self-loathing. This might even be happening on the unconscious level, but it has a real impact on your motivation to get better. People with a higher sense of self-worth are less likely to use drugs to escape themselves. After all, there’s a reason why developing a higher sense of self-esteem is part of many private residential treatment programs in Canada. An individual might know how destructive treating depression with drug use can be however with low self-esteem, they might feel like they actually deserve the negative result of drug use.

Fear of psychiatric drugs or trust in big pharma companies

Psychiatric drugs are helpful for many people across the country. While they have plenty of benefits, it’s not an exact science. Oftentimes, doctors have to try out a few different drugs to see what you respond best to. For some, the trial and error aspect partnered with side effects makes them distrust psychiatric drugs. As a result, some people feel more comfortable treating their depression with drug use. Instead of having conversations with their doctor, drugs become a more immediate (and dangerous) fix to the problem.

Preconceived notion that therapy or treatment won’t help 

Some people have a mindset that therapy just doesn’t work. This way of thinking can become even more ingrained if they’ve tried some types of  therapy before and it didn’t work. Compared to drug use, therapy (although healthier) is a process and it takes time.

The Reality of Depression in Recovery

Recovery Treatment & Intervention

Our Interventionists know that addiction is a chronic, progressive disease of the brain. We do not treat it as weakness or take it lightly. After years of consuming mind-altering substances, the way addicts’ brains work is entirely different. Their brain reward system is entirely rewired, often triggering false messages and disrupting feel-good neurotransmitters’ balance. As the body adjusts to functioning without these substances, it enters a period of calibration.

Many recovering from substance use disorders and depression or anxiety in the early days of recovery find it challenging. Unfortunately, many will struggle with depression and anxiety even in sobriety. Our Drug and Alcohol Interventionists from Vancouver to Toronto are there to support you through every step of the way. Risking suffering a relapse and having to go back to treatment is a real and paralyzing fear for many recovering addicts and their families.

We know that regardless of where you’re in your recovery journey, there are ways to manage depression or anxiety in sobriety and other mental health problems that might arise as you navigate through recovery.

How Alcohol Makes Depression Worse

One of the most common addictions that depressed people have in Canada is alcohol addiction. Alcohol is a known depressant that initially acts as a stimulant so it can be confusing to many who use it. Unfortunately, increased alcohol consumption also magnifies depression and other negative feelings like drowsiness and lethargy although it makes you feel euphoric in the beginning. While many people associate alcohol with wild nights and fun memories, a depressed person who is addicted to alcohol is more likely to want to harm themselves or attempt suicide.

Symptoms of Depression

While everyone goes through ups and downs in life, the feelings of sadness usually pass as time goes on. However, for those who have depression disorder, this is not the case. Depression can last weeks, months or even years. While the exact cause of depression is not known, it can be caused by and experienced differently based on many factors including genetics, medication, brain chemistry and hormone.

There’s a misconception that depression equals sadness. The more you know about the depression, the more you’ll be able to act in the early stages. Everyone will manifest signs of depression differently, which is why learning as much as possible about it is so important.

How do you know when you have clinical depression as opposed to just a temporary phase of sadness? There are many depression symptoms that may mean you need to seek depression treatment. Some of them are:

  • Lack of enjoyment of hobbies and activities
  • Lack of energy
  • Fatigue or excessive tiredness
  • Insomnia or sleep problems
  • Irritability
  • Severe boredom
  • Lack of concentration or focus
  • Low mood
  • Feelings of worthlessness
  • Social isolation
  • Appetite disturbance
  • Feelings of shame or guilt
  • Intrusive thoughts of death or suicide

Depression and Anxiety Treatment in Canada

Depression is treated in many different ways. Patients may see their therapist or they may be prescribed antidepressants. Treatment for depression can be a combination of therapy and medication. Antidepressants are usually one of the following:

  • Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors (SSRIs) – SSRIs are a newer kind of antidepressant. They work by changing the amount of the chemical serotonin – a chemical that naturally regulates mood – in the brain. Lexapro, Paxil, Prozac, Zoloft, Celexa, Luvox, Pexeva and Sarafem are all SSRIs.
  • Serotonin and Norepinephrine Reuptake Inhibitors (SNRIs) – A more recent antidepressant, SNRIs work by increasing the norepinephrine and serotonin in the brain. Duloxetine, Desvenlafaxine, Milnacipran, Venlafaxine XR, Venlafaxine and Levomilnacipran are all examples of SNRIs.
  • Monoamine Oxidase Inhibitors (MAOIs) – MAOIs are the most effective type of antidepressant for many patients. Emsam, Eldepryl, Marplan, Zalapar, Parnate and Nardil are all examples of MAOIs.
  • Tricyclic antidepressants (TCAs) – TCAs also work on the levels of norepinephrine and serotonin in the brain. Because the side effects for TCAs can be quite strong, TCAs are usually a last resort in depression treatment. Anafranil, Aventyl, Endep, Adapin, Elavil, Nopramin, Pertofrane, Pamelor, Surmontil, Tofranil and Vivactil are all examples of TCAs.

Some patients prefer alternative forms of treatment for depression. Our Interventionist work very closely with accredited private drug and alcohol treatment centres in Canada that offer a wide range of holistic treatments. There are many mind-body techniques that, when practiced regularly, may be extremely helpful for addiction and other mental illnesses such as:

  • Yoga
  • Tai Chi
  • Meditation
  • Massage therapy
  • Spirituality
  • Aerobic exercise
  • Music or art therapy
  • Sports

How do Interventions for a Dual-Diagnosis with Substance Misuse Help?

Co-occurring disorders and dual-diagnosis require a comprehensive private treatment program that effectively addresses both disorders. One disorder shouldn’t be treated without treating the other since individuals who aren’t treated for both have significantly higher rates of relapse.

It’s not uncommon to struggle with depression or other mental illness problems while you’re seeking substance abuse treatment. In fact, the majority of people in addiction treatment are also suffering from undiagnosed mental health problems. Unfortunately, not everyone seeks the right treatment for these conditions.

For someone with an addiction who is also depressed they might not see the problem as clearly as their friends and family do. Our Interventionist can help provide clarity to the person struggling along with outlining the consequences of their actions and the next steps to be taken..

It is also common for Canadians to be unaware of either condition. Therefore if only the substance use disorder is treated, the person will often go back to abusing substances when they feel depressed. When only depression is treated, the person will likely continue using the substance of abuse, leading to a relapse in depressive symptoms.

Drugs used to treat depression can be affected by alcohol use. The use of alcohol with depression medications has the potential to counteract the benefits of the drug. The person may still feel depressed or even anxious when drinking while taking the medication. Alcohol may cause the person taking the drug to feel drowsy or become sedated. As a result, the treatment team needs to be aware of all co-occurring issues; a comprehensive assessment at the beginning of treatment can help to identify and diagnose these issues.

Our Interventionists know that treatment for depression and substance abuse generally includes the use of both medications and therapy. Antidepressants may be used to stabilize mood, and various medications may be used as needed to moderate withdrawal from substances of abuse. Therapy makes up the backbone of treatment, addressing issues related to both disorders.

How to Manage Depression in Sobriety

It must be noted that even if someone undergoes a dual diagnosis program, depression can still creep back into life. For those in early sobriety, experiencing depression can feel like a setback and potentially lead them to relapse. This is why it’s essential to stay active during your sobriety and continue seeking help and support from those around you. Once you become a client of ours we stick with you. We offer Canadian after-care programs and support through every phase of your recovery. You are not left alone to deal with it once you finish treatment. We are always here for you.

Here are some suggestions from our Canadian Drug and Alcohol Interventionists of what you can do to keep on track with your recovery and keep your depression away:

Attend Therapy or Contact a Drug & Alcohol Interventionist in Canada

If you feel that depression is taking over your life, talk to a counsellor trained to deal with both addiction and depression. therapist. Even if it’s once a month, going back to therapy can be helpful. A licensed counsellor can help you navigate your emotions and identify unhealthy behaviors that might trigger your symptoms.

Consider Support Groups

Sober life can be new, strange, scary, intimidating, and challenging at times. Consider joining a sobriety support group to not only help you stay sober but to offer peer support and fellowship. It can help being around people who don’t judge you and who understand where you are coming from. Talking to others that have gone through similar experiences can be quite therapeutic and help you feel supported and seen.

Practice Mindfulness

It’s easy to lose control of your mind and let it take over when you don’t practice mindfulness. We live in a world where we’re bombarded with distractions that make us feel less at the moment. Try practicing mindfulness through meditation, yoga, exercise, and prayers. Make mindfulness a part of your life by limiting distractions while you eat, when you talk to your partner, or spend time with your children. By being mindful of your surroundings, you’ll also become more aware of any trouble-alerts your body might try to send you.

Consider Medication

In the end, depression is a mood disorder, an actual mental health condition that can be diagnosed. While it might seem scary for a recovering addict to take medications, you might need them. Antidepressants can be beneficial for some people, and not so much for others.

Discuss with your counsellor and doctor the possibility of taking medication to manage your depression symptoms. Be honest about your history of substance abuse and create a medication management system to ensure you don’t relapse on antidepressants.

Is Taking Antidepressants a Relapse?

Many recovering addicts worry about taking medication. They believe that based on the abstinence method of most 12 step programs, taking antidepressants would be considered a relapse. However, in reality, it is not.  The use of antidepressants to manage depression symptoms and other mental health conditions like anxiety doesn’t mean you have an active addiction. Interventionist Andy Bhatti states that if someone takes their medication for health-related purposes, they’re not relapsing. They’re taking care of their health.

How Can I Get Help?

Contact a Mental Health Intervention Specialist 

One of the best things about the detox and rehab centres our Interventionists work with is that there are actual addiction specialists on staff that will evaluate and assess your individual situation, and with them we will be able to formulate an individualized treatment program to meet your needs. With skilled addiction specialists and healthcare professionals on staff, patients with co-occurring disorders will find the treatment they need. If you are suffering from depression as well as substance use disorder, help is only one call away. Reach out to one of our Interventionists today at 1-­888-988-5346.

Drug and Alcohol Interventions in Canada

There’s nothing harder than watching a loved one in pain. Seeing someone you care about deeply, struggling with the disease of addiction, can be intense and heartbreaking. What can make addiction even harder to deal with is a dual diagnosis. You’ll need to understand the relationship between the two conditions and then you’ll be able to learn how best to support an important person in your life. We can help explain everything about what your loved one is experiencing with easy to understand non-judgemental facts in a private comfortable setting. We can assist with family interventions all across Canada within 48 hours of your phone call to us at 1-­888-988-5346.

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