How Drug and Alcohol Dependence are Fueled by Depression

Bad days are a normal part of life. Everyone is impacted by the emotional weight brought on by romantic relationships, work, family, or loss. For people prone to depression, the weight of emotional conflict can be a heavy burden. Ordinary setbacks are not only prolonged, they can be far more difficult to navigate. For those who regularly experience despair, depression, and feelings of hopelessness, these burdens can last for weeks, months, or even years. This type of depression can have severe side effects and requires the intervention of trained mental health professionals.


Symptoms of Depression

Over 350 million people suffer from depression worldwide. Depression symptoms can be physical, psychological, or both. The psychological symptoms of depression include lack of interest in daily activities, feeling low, decreased thinking and focus, suicidal thoughts, and feelings of hopelessness, guilt, or worthlessness.

Physical depression symptoms often include exhaustion, weight fluctuation, low energy, and sleepiness. If left untreated, depression can have a negative impact on personal relationships, job, and long-term health (mental and physical). Another common side effect to depression is the prevalence of substance abuse. People who struggle with depression often abuse drugs and alcohol in an effort to counteract low moods, isolation, or overwhelming feelings. This is referred to as a co-occurring disorder and is treated as a dual diagnosis.


Depression & Addiction

The National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) reports that people who are diagnosed with anxiety or mood disorders are nearly twice as likely to have a co-occurring diagnosis that includes a substance abuse disorder. Substance abuse carries a cultural stigma misunderstanding. But medically speaking, people with depression often abuse drugs and alcohol as an adaptive strategy – self-medicating the underlying symptoms of depression. In this way, addiction is not the result of a degenerate character, but rather a unhealthy coping strategy aimed at relieving other symptoms caused by chronic emotional distress.


Long Term Effects of Substance Abuse

Self-medicating is unproductive at best and dangerous at worst. Recreational drug or alcohol abuse can lead to dependence, all the while, damaging healthy emotional regulation. Drugs and alcohol have an immediate (and significant) effect on moods. For this reason, people struggling with depression often develop a substance abuse disorder in their attempts at managing their anxiety and depression.

Additionally, addiction and depression are both characterized by feelings of hopelessness and are difficult to manage without help. The co-occurring disorder formed by addiction and depression negatively reinforce each other. This creates a devastating web of shame, guilt, and feelings of worthlessness.


Finding a Substance Abuse Treatment Plan

Dual diagnosis treatment is complex and requires trained mental health professionals. The disorders are potent in and of themselves, but can potentially intensify the symptoms of each other. An individualized treatment plan that centers around the unique needs of the individual is required. At Launch Centers, our addiction and mental health treatment programs can help you steer your life back on the right track. We specialize in treating young adults who suffer from substance abuse and mental health disorders. Our unique programs offer education and vocational training so that your life has purpose and potential after treatment. Get ready to Launch!


The Link Between Addiction and Attachment Disorder

What is Attachment Disorder?

Human beings are designed for community living and social bonding. As a survival mechanism,  infants will instinctively attach themselves to caregivers. Attachments are developed when psychological, physical, and emotional needs are met. Ideally, these attachments are grounded in trust, communication, and a level of growing independence. Because infants rely entirely on adult caregivers for emotional regulation, their development is directly correlated to the level of security given to them by parents or caretakers. This is the foundation of how humans learn emotional self-regulation.

When infants do not receive reliable attention from parents (or caregivers) they begin to develop alternative ways to calm the distress. Crying babies are a challenge for even the most patient adults. Attentive and loving parents are unable respond to their baby’s every need. Inevitable factors such as this, as well as more tragic factors such as abuse, neglect, and trauma further hinder a child’s ability to develop healthy attachments.

Various forms of childhood attachment disorders, while unique in and of themselves, share a common trait. Namely, the child’s attempt to seek out external modes of self-comfort during stressful situations. A healthy attachment to caregivers is a necessity in early development. For this reason, infants that develop attachment disorders oftentimes never learn how to self-soothe in productive manner.


Understanding How Addiction Develops

How exactly does an attachment disorder correlate to drug addiction and alcoholism? As children grow into adolescence, they naturally become more independent. That is to say, the become less dependent on parents and caregivers. This is a completely natural part of growing up.

However, children that have developed an attachment disorder will seek out external forms of coping to fill this void. Humans need emotional support healthy self-regulation. When children reach their teenage years, they often begin to be exposed to drugs and alcohol. If an attachment disorder has been developed, these teens will find the illusion of security in negative behaviors. There is an increased vulnerability to substance abuse, eating disorders, self-mutilation (cutting), aggression, and perfectionism. This is also a time of heightened social emphasis. Young adults with attachment disorders may begin to establish unhealthy relationship habits that are distinguished by dependency, manipulation, or avoidance.

Drugs and alcohol can seem like an effective way to self-soothe to the teenage mind. Alcoholics and drug addicts oftentimes recall their first experience with substance abuse as a notable experience, filled with feelings peace. Drugs and alcohol can have profound emotional effects. They create fleeting feelings of euphoria.

At an early age, people that have developed an attachment disorder oftentimes have low self-esteem accompanied by feelings of worthlessness. Later in life, this can manifest itself as a fear of intimacy. Adolescence is awkward, and intoxicating substances offer the illusion of refuge and understanding to young people seeking emotional comfort.


Moving On From Addiction & Attachment

At Launch Centers, we use the awareness of the link between addiction and attachment disorders to customize treatment programs to the unique needs of each individual client. This approach to treatment is known as Dual Diagnosis. This is when mental health issues are treated simultaneously with substance abuse disorders. The two are typically intertwined.

Drugs and alcohol feed feelings of isolation and detachment. This is way addiction recovery programs prioritize the development of healthy relationships with reliable people. Relationships that promote intimacy offer a solid foundation for people in recovery – helping to repair patterns of avoidance that are so often prevalent in addicts.

Contact Launch Centers today to learn how our addiction and mental health treatment programs can help you steer your life back on the right track. We offer educational programs and vocational training so that your life has purpose and potential after treatment. Get ready to Launch!


Addiction Treatment: Treating the Individual

The Flawed Individual: The Addiction Stigma

According to the American Medical Association (AMA), alcoholism and drug addiction are a form of chronic and progressive brain disease. Prior to the 1970’s, individuals who suffered from substance abuse disorders were viewed as flawed individuals and degenerates. Think of how many decent people this kept from getting the help they needed.

When the AMA changed their view of addiction it opened up the floodgates and helped to destigmatize our cultural understanding of addiction and the way it is treated. Sadly, large portions of the population still view addicts and alcoholics flawed citizens who are solely responsible for the circumstances leading to their substance abuse disorder.

Culturally, we tend to admonish addicts. We fail to understand the invisible circumstances that lead to drug-seeking behavior. Co-occurring disorders often accompany substance abuse disorders – this is referred to as dual diagnosis. Effective addiction treatment necessarily must include a compassionate understanding of the circumstances that contribute to the disease of addiction.  

In order to most effectively treat drug and alcohol addiction, mental health professionals and addiction treatment centers need to provide unique recovery plans that provide follow-up (and job placement programs) to ensure success. This will ultimately reduce the potential for relapse.


Addiction Treatment: Healing the Individual

The best way to treat addiction depends on a biological, psychological, and social variables. Everyone is different. The job of mental health and addiction treatment professionals is to uncover the unique way to get through to the client.

Biologically speaking, it is important for the treatment team to understand the genetic factors that influence the addicted individual’s predispositions. Some important things to consider are family history and intergenerational drug and alcohol abuse.

The addiction treatment team then needs to examine the psychological factors at work by properly detecting and diagnosing any co-occurring disorders that may be present. This allows addiction treatment professionals to provide the most appropriate care. Co-occurring disorders are strongly correlated to long term substance abuse. Clinicians need to understand the unique psychological complexities of each client so they can customize treatment, therapy, and medication accordingly.

Lastly, the client’s social history (and current social environment) need to be explored to identify factors that contribute to addiction. Do dynamics with friends and family enable the substance abuse? It is the job of mental health and addiction treatment professionals to prepare the addict for being discharged back into their everyday life. It’s much easier to be healthy in a controlled environment than it is when back in an environment that nurtured (or tolerated) addiction and negative behavior patterns.

How does Launch Centers help clients understand triggers and provide support as they assimilate into everyday life?


Aftercare: The Beginning of Sober Living

One of the primary benefits of Launch Centers is that we treat the individual. We do this by customizing treatment to fit the needs of the individual, and through providing aftercare support when addiction treatment ends. In an intensive outpatient treatment setting, you adhere to a routine schedule in a healthy environment that promotes healing. Removing clients from the triggers that spark the urge to self-medicate is a necessary step. But it is equally important to have a plan when all of that ends. This is where many addiction treatment centers fall short.

After rehab, the sober journey is just beginning. The compassionate and experienced addiction treatment team at Launch Centers works with each client to establish a plan for after treatment. We set up follow-up appointments, offer ongoing support, and give clients the tools required for a successful recovery. We even offer job placement and internship programs to ensure that those who pass through our doors leave with confidence and excitement about their new journey. The goal here is long-term sobriety and fulfillment.

We believe in treating addiction at the earliest stage possible. Launch Centers specializes in treating young people who are addicted to drugs or alcohol by treating the underlying mental health issues that often lead to addition. We do this through therapy, education, and job placement programs.

Our job doesn’t end the moment you walk out the door. Contact Launch Centers today if you or a loved one needs to help of trained addiction professionals. We provide Intensive Outpatient care as well as a network of sober homes to provide the solution the best fits your lifestyle.

Community In Recovery: It Takes a Village

People have belonged to tribes since the early days of humanity. Being part of something larger than yourself gives you a sense of belonging, purpose, and inclusion. In addiction recovery, having a sense of community provides a lifeline. “It takes a village” is an enduring phrase for a reason. The phrase is typically used to describe raising children, but it also captures the essence of being human.

Alcoholics and drug addicts can’t rely on their willpower to quit abusing substances. In fact, they are in dire need of the love and support of their “village” in order to stay clean. Without communal support, addicts tend to dwell in isolation. This often leads to mental health disorders such as anger, depression, and an increased chance of relapse. A popular saying in Alcoholics Anonymous is “I can’t stay sober, but we can.” This captures the communal essence perfectly.


Finding Support in Recovery

In the early stages of recovery, it is advisable to avoid parties and social settings that have the presence of alcohol or drugs. It’s not uncommon for newly sober individuals to withdraw from people and places that increase the temptation to relapse.

Part of a successful recovery is learning to live in a healthy way while establishing meaningful relationships. The path of sobriety requires you to withdraw from unhealthy relationships. You will inevitably need to seek support and fellowship in safe circles. Community can be found and embraced in many settings – family, the workplace, school, church, etc.

The success of your recovery will be intertwined with your ability to seek the companionship of other sober people. Sober friends will likely provide valuable support and insight during vulnerable times.


Live a Healthy Lifestyle

Recovery is so much more than quitting drugs or alcohol. Sobriety means creating a healthier lifestyle by stepping into growth, rather than defaulting to old patterns and unhealthy behaviors. New relationships must be established with supportive individuals. A sober relationship supports a sober lifestyle. By prioritizing the development of relationships grounded in healthy lifestyle choices you will ensure a successful recovery.


Find Joy in Sobriety

In the early stages of sobriety, it can be hard for drug addicts and alcoholics to picture enjoying a social life free of substance abuse. Socializing while sober can be unfamiliar and challenging to the person in recovery. With patience and practice, they will be well on their way to finding fulfillment in activities and relationships that support their recovery efforts. When you make an effort to prioritize healthy living, a deep connection is formed. This lays the foundation for living a more fulfilling life.


Give Back to Your Community

Giving back is an important aspect of community involvement. When a recovering addict is held accountable for their loved ones they are given a jolt of strength that aides them in their recovery efforts. Serving your community will help you develop a sense of purpose and belonging. When a recovering addict shares their journey of strength and hope with those around them it can provide inspiration to others. This is one of the most impactful ways a recovering addict can give back to their community and truly overcome adversity.


Launch Centers

Launch Centers is dedicated to helping young adults free themselves drug and alcohol addiction. We teach them to cope with the mental health disorders that lead to addiction and illuminate a path that helps them succeed in life. Our experienced team of addiction and mental health professionals work with each individual client to design a therapeutic, vocational, and educational curriculum to meet the client where they are at, to set new goals, and reach them.

We have a network of sober homes and top-tier outpatient treatment program that allows us to provide treatment to each individual based on where they are in their journey.