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Dual Diagnosis: Heroin Addiction and Depression

A young man struggling with heroin addiction and depression sits on a park bench, deep in thought.
Depression and heroin addiction often go hand-in-hand, resulting in a deep sense of hopelessness that requires expert help to overcome.


People with mood or anxiety disorders are about twice as likely to become addicted to drugs or alcohol.

That statistic—provided by the National Institute on Drug Abuse—is alarming for sure, but it is also insightful.

For people experiencing feelings of hopelessness, heroin can feel like a way out, offering a profound sense of relaxation. The problem—in addition to the risk of overdose—is that 23 percent of people who use the drug become addicted.

Once that happens, depressive symptoms actually worsen. Now, you’re dealing with depression and heroin addiction—both of which are risk factors for suicide.

It’s easy for these people to fall through the cracks. Rejected by rehab programs because of mental illness. Rejected by mental health programs because of their addiction.

Even worse is when they manage to make it to rehab, but the mental illness is never diagnosed or treated.

Recovering from Heroin Addiction

The good news is that, with the right treatment, there is every reason to believe that both depression and drug use can be treated.

The key is to find the right treatment program. Before choosing a place to recover, there are a few questions you’ll want to ask:

  • Do you assess each resident for mental health disorders?
  • Are both the addiction and the co-occurring conditions given the same level of attention and care?
  • Is your treatment team trained in treating those with a dual-diagnosis?

Hope at The Raleigh House in Denver, Colorado

It takes hard work—and expert help—to recover from a heroin addiction, but we see it happen every day. We see despair slowly chipped away by hope. We see a spark as someone realizes, for the first time in a very long time, that they can be happy without heroin. The key? Treating both the addiction and any co-occurring conditions which may exist. Fill out our form or contact us today to learn more about our heroin addiction treatment program.

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