Dealing with Depression and PTSD in Early Sobriety
Learning how to deal with depression and PTSD is challenging for anyone, but it can be especially difficult in early sobriety. Click here to learn what you need to know.
Recovery from drug and alcohol addiction is a challenging road. Coupled with depression, the struggle becomes even worse. Learning how to deal with PTSD and depression while recovering is essential to avoiding relapse.
The connection between depression and substance abuse is now well-established. People with mood disorders are twice as likely to abuse substances. One-third of people with depression are alcoholics.
You may be ready to begin your path to substance abuse recovery. But perhaps you were masking your depression with your substance of choice. Are you ready to take on depression without the substance?
Understanding Depression During Recovery
Depression during recovery comes from a combination of areas. Recovery from substances causes depression itself. Losing your crutch and facing your new reality can be a burden, even a trauma.
Despite clear connections, doctors still struggle to understand them. In many cases, they don’t know whether depression or addiction came first. Drug use can cause depression and vice versa.
We’ll discuss more on the relationship between drug use and depression. You are facing important challenges ahead. Be heartened by the countless others who have made it through the same hardship.
Learning how to deal with PTSD and depression begins with understanding the context. There are several drug-related factors contributing to your condition. We can broadly identify them as your addiction and your situation.
The absence of the drug itself causes backlash to your system. You might be struggling with sadness because of your current situation. But depression can leave you immobilized and in despair.
You may just start to be becoming aware of the effect drugs have had on your life. This alone can trigger depression and feelings of helplessness. If you burned bridges with loved ones you may not have enough support.
In this way, your addiction compounds your problems. But if you’re in the process of eliminating your drug use, have hope. This is one ingredient to the problem that will soon be gone.
Depression manifests itself in ways most people don’t understand. It can cause physical pain and discomfort. It can suck away motivation and the ability to feel joy. And it can create sadness and desperation for relief.
People with all kinds of mental illness ‘self-medicate’ to manage these symptoms. This involves treating one’s symptoms with intoxicating or illicit drugs. Many sufferers turn to alcohol, heroin, and other narcotics.
About half of people that suffer from depression are undiagnosed. Once they begin using it’s difficult to see which was first. As a result, learning how to deal with PTSD and depression during recovery is complicated.
How to Deal with PTSD and Depression During Sobriety
Start with optimism. Unlike when using, the path to sobriety is full of opportunities. You can start building a foundation for your life, one day at a time.
Everyone reaches out differently. You may need medical treatment or the care of a loved one. The following are some key suggestions for getting started.
1. Seek Medical Help
Most people think of being hospitalized as a bad thing. The reality is it’s an opportunity for a better life. The alternative for many is to be ‘back out’ and using again.
There are several options available, many of which you might need. You might need ‘dual diagnosis’ treatment to get started treating both problems. This involves treatment of both depression and addiction at once.
If you’re having withdrawals, going without treatment could be dangerous. You need to enter a detox facility. Becoming a patient will also prevent you from relapsing.
You will want to speak to mental health counselor to learn what’s causing your pain. The more you understand it the more you can ‘stay on top of it.’ You may need medications for depression and withdrawals.
The important thing is to relax. You’re getting help in the right place. Your family members will be relieved that you’re safe.
2. Build a Support Network
Ideally, you have relieved family members waiting to help. This is not the case for many. Some addicts burn their bridges during their periods of abuse.
Start with your strongest existing connections. This may be a friend, sibling, or spouse. Communicate with these people about what you’re going through.
Participate with your caregivers and tell your connections about it. Tell them about your medications and conditions for care. They will feel better knowing your condition and needs.
Finally, consider reaching out to those with whom you lost touch. Letter writing is a sincere way to say everything you need. They will be relieved that you’re in proper treatment.
3. Work Hard on Your Mental Health
Many people think therapy ‘works’ or ‘doesn’t work.’ The truth is, therapy is a mutual effort. You must work with your caregiver to understand yourself better.
If you’re given medication, you need to communicate. Sometimes you don’t get the dosage or medication right the first time. You can talk to your doctor about what’s working or not.
Mental health recovery takes time. If you collaborate with caregivers you’ll make progress every day. If you keep a journal, you may look at past entries later to see your progress.
Finally, be mentally productive. This starts by not comparing yourself to your peers. You can take ownership of your situation and set realistic goals.
4. Participate in Every Social Engagement
When you’re depressed, socializing is far from your mind. Ironically, this is an essential part of recovery. You can fight dejection through the acceptance of others.
If you’re in treatment, participate in group activities even if it scares you. Put yourself in the room and you may be surprised. Even small conversations are part of your progress.
You will always find alone time to work on yourself. But social opportunities are fleeting. You will have done something difficult and possibly rewarding.
5. Plan for Your Discharge
In time you will be prepared to re-enter the world. This can be a frightening time due to unpredictability. You may be worried you will begin abusing again as well.
The key is to make a steady plan to continue your treatment. You will need to take everything one day at a time. That means focusing on what you’re doing in the moment rather than worrying about long-term outcomes.
Ensure you have a safe place to go where you’re not alone. Don’t begin working unless you’re sure you feel ready. You don’t have to start up a ‘normal life’ right away.
You’re in a place of opportunity. As you push forward, your new life will come into focus. Stay proactive about recovery and you’ll keep on track.
Don’t Wait–Get the Care You Need Now
Muse Treatment provides specialized care for recovering addicts just like you. Struggling with how to deal with PTSD and depression? Our caregivers are experts in treating dual diagnosis patients as well.
You don’t have to suffer any longer. Contact us now just to talk or to get started.