Dealing with Depression When Recovering from Substance Abuse
Depression seems to be one of the most common symptoms a person experiences when they're recovering from alcohol or drug addiction. Besides drug cravings depression is one of the reasons many people relapse and go right back to using again. Everyone's experience during recovery from drug abuse is different in terms of depression.
Some people have intense bouts of depression that last for long periods of time. A lot depends on the drug or drugs that were abused, how long they were abused and how heavily they were abused. The more frequent and heavily used, cravings and depression including anxiety and fatigue can be very intense during recovery.
Not everyone goes into treatment in order to stop using drugs or alcohol but if they experience depression for very long they should seek medical advice from a physician. Sometimes antidepressants help manage depression symptoms experienced during this time and may help to prevent relapse. Depression has to be taken serious because there are a lot of people who abuse drugs and alcohol that also suffer from mental health problems and they don't even know it.
Mental Health Disorders
Bipolar Disorder, major depression, ADHD, and anxiety disorder are common among long term substance users and when they stop using, the depression can be dangerously intense. That's why it's so important for anyone that's abused drugs or alcohol for a long time, especially if they're heavy users, to seek professional help when they stop and want to get clean.
Instead of getting professional help some people get antidepressants from friends or drug dealers and try to medicate their symptoms of depression on their own. When you take medications that aren't prescribed for your own personal needs they can do more harm than good and lead to another addiction. Your personal physician or a medical professional from a substance abuse treatment center will let you know what's best to treat your symptoms of depression. We can't just rely on medications during recovery to help us with depression and anxiety though, and we definitely don't want to trade one addiction for another.
Substance Abuse Recovery and a Healthier Lifestyle
Most people don't want to hear this but if you're serious about staying clean you need to make changes in your life that will help prevent relapse and help manage depression and stress. You have to eat right and cut way down on sugar and unhealthy foods. This means minimizing the amount of soda, sweets and fast foods you eat. You have to get some sort of exercise daily like walking or jogging. The more physical activity and exercise you get daily the better you will feel because dopamine is released.
This is the same chemical in the brain that is responsible for the euphoria experienced when a person abuses drugs. When dopamine has been forced through the use of drugs for any length of time it stops working right on its own and barely produces. When a person gets high and the euphoria wears off the dopamine level in the brain severely decreases and the user experiences a 'low feeling of depression' which causes the user to repeat their use. So when you stop using drugs altogether, depression is going to be an issue. Exercise causes dopamine to be naturally released which in turn elevates your mood and will also help with fatigue which is another symptom experienced during recovery. This form of physical activity daily or even a couple of times a day will slowly help brain function to get better over time.
Taking a Holistic Approach Toward Recovery
This is one reason I like treatment centers that provide a holistic approach to substance abuse recovery. They realize that drug and alcohol abuse weakens the whole body and they promote healing of the mind, body and spirit. Many holistic treatment centers provide complete physicals for their clients as well as nutritional assessments. If their clients are suffering from mental health problems they're diagnosed during the evaluations and physicals and then addressed during treatment.
They want to make sure their client's not deficient in important nutrients that are necessary to maintain emotional and physical health. They also provide nutrition programs and healthy balanced meals which also restores emotional and physical health. Fitness programs, yoga, massage, and sometimes meditation is provided in many holistic treatment recovery programs which helps with depression and brings inner spiritual peace.
Healing During Substance Abuse Recovery
It takes time to heal from the toll substance abuse has taken on your emotional and physical health. I admire anyone that seeks help for their drug or alcohol addiction and wants to change their life. It takes hard work and determination but you can overcome substance abuse. Unfortunately depression, fatigue, and insomnia are all symptoms experienced by most people when they stop using drugs or alcohol. We can't completely rely on medications to continue to make us feel better although they're medically necessary for many people during their recovery.
Let medical professionals determine if medication are necessary. Don't take medications if they were not prescried for you. Not only can medications do more harm than good if they're misused but many of them can cause addiction and if you're recovering from substance abuse, this will only add to your problems and symptoms of depression down the road.
Seek medical advice if depression symptoms worsen during recovery, join a support group to strengthen your recovery and connect with others who want to stay clean also, cut down on sweets and fast foods, try to maintain a nutritious diet as often as possible, incorporate physical activity daily especially walking, and yoga or meditation can be emotionally and spiritually helpful also.