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Recovering from Heroin: The Link Between Depression and Addiction

Heroin Recovery and Depression
Recovery happens every day—and it starts by finding a rehab program that treats the whole person, not just his or her addiction.

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Nearly seven percent of all adults in the United States experienced at least one episode of depression in 2015, according to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration.

That means they may feel sad, empty, anxious, worthless and hopeless. They experience a loss of energy. Some describe it as feeling like a heavy boot is on their chest. Others say even the smallest task feels like climbing a dozen flights of stairs.

It’s easy to imagine how someone experiencing depression would do anything to escape those feelings, even self-medicating with heroin. It allows them, at least for a short time, to feel hopeful, content and happy.

Indeed, 53 percent of people who abuse drugs also have at least one mental illness diagnosis, according to the American Medical Association.

The Long-Term Effects of Heroin

If your loved one is using heroin, that’s obviously dangerous in many ways. But if he or she also suffers from depression, heroin may cause an even faster downward spiral. That’s because, when the effects of heroin wear off, a person is likely to feel even worse than before using.

When combined, heroin addiction and depression lead to a significant risk of suicide. The rate of death by suicide among heroin users is as high as 35 percent, according to the Society for the Study of Addiction.

The Solution: Dual Diagnosis Addiction Treatment

If your loved one suffers from both depression and addiction, then both conditions must be treated. Whether depression led to addiction or vice versa, it doesn’t matter.

The problem is that, historically, treatment programs were designed to treat just the addiction. That means patients left those rehab centers still feeling hopeless. It’s easy to see why so many people in that situation relapsed—and quickly.

What’s more, you may not even know if your adult child is suffering from depression or some other co-occurring condition. Research shows that the majority of people who abuse drugs are living with at least one mental illness. But they may have never been officially diagnosed and, by the time they’re experiencing full-blown addiction, it can be very difficult to tell exactly what’s going on.

The bottom line? Even if you don’t know if your adult child is suffering from a co-occurring condition, it’s best to choose a rehab center that is prepared to diagnose and treat mental illness, as well as addiction.

Hope at The Raleigh House

At the Raleigh House, our first priority is to make your child safe and comfortable. After that, we get to work. Your loved one will be cared for by our team of doctors, psychologists, master’s level therapists, nurses and even a nutritionist. Together with your loved one, they will make a plan for rehab—and for the future. Fill out our form or contact us today to learn more about the heroin addiction treatment program at The Raleigh House.

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