Which came first: the depression treatment, or recovery from addiction?
Neither, it is a trick question in my opinion. They kind of have to occur simultaneously or not at all. At any rate, one without the other is not sustainable for long.
If you are still abusing drugs and alcohol, but claim to be making strides in overcoming depression, you are probably fooling yourself. Likewise, if you are clean and sober, and are actively working a program of recovery, but you are still depressed and miserable, then you’re probably not treating your depression properly. In both cases, you run the risk of either lapsing back into depression, or lapsing back into drug use. You have to tackle both problems in order to experience a full recovery.
So for those who suffer from both depression and addiction, what is the best route to go? Well obviously you want to get the best care possible for each condition, and keep any doctors you have well informed about all of your conditions. Believe it or not, some doctors will actually prescribe addictive medications for people who are depressed….so this can become a bit tricky if you are not being fully open and honest with your doctors.
Second of all, I would recommend that any struggling drug addict or alcoholic who wants to make a major life change to tackle their addiction first and try to get into long term treatment somewhere. Now this may not be a realistic goal for everyone in every situation, but if you can make it work in your life, then being in long term treatment will give you the solid foundation and the opportunity that you need in order to finally address your depression.
Recovery from a serious addiction is hard enough, even without a crushing depression heaped on top of it. Most addicts or alcoholics who leave treatment end up going home and simply returning to the same environment that they came from. This can make it really hard to tackle a problem like depression and make the necessary lifestyle changes to overcome addiction and treat depression at the same time. Living in long term treatment for a few months can give you the stability that you need in order to really make some strides in your life.
Most people underestimate the holistic approach in treating both addiction and depression. For example, the role of regular exercise is probably overlooked by most who are much quicker to simply turn to antidepressants as their quick solution. This is not to say that medications are not necessary in treating either addiction or depression, because sometimes they are needed….but they should be one small part of a greater holistic approach.
If you start exercising in your recovery and eating a healthier diet, can you imagine the positive effect that this will have on you in the long run? The holistic approach is very powerful, but only when you stick with it over time, and keep pushing yourself to find new ways to grow and learn.
Finding such an approach takes time, experimentation, and resources. You can get all of that stuff and more while living in a long term treatment center.
Just a suggestion….