The Effect of Substance Abuse on Depression

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Updated: May 16, 2022
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The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (2016) state, “the consequences of undiagnosed, untreated, or undertreated co-occurring disorders can lead to a higher likelihood of experiencing homelessness, incarceration, medical illnesses, suicide, or even early death (para. 2). One strategy to support the treatment of Rhonda is to provide help with regulating her emotions rather than how to cope with alcohol and nicotine cravings. In the study from Holzhauer & Gamble (2017), it was found that women with depression and substance use disorder had an increased problem with regulating emotions than women without these co-morbid conditions.

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They also mention that the focus should be more on helping them control their emotions around the addiction than helping them control their cravings (Holzhauer & Gamble, 2017). Another strategy to support the treatment of Rhonda is to give her antidepressants while she is being treated for alcoholism and nicotine addiction.

American Addiction Centers (2018) say that an antidepressant can help even out her mood while learning to take control of her emotions and find other ways to cope rather than drink alcohol. The center mentions that antidepressant medications can take a few weeks before seeing any effects so it is important to get started with it right away. In addition, when alcohol is consumed often, the liver learns to make more enzymes that break down alcohol, resulting in other medications consumed to be processed slower. (Hart & Ksir, 2015). Therefore, it may be difficult to get the right dosage initially. The combination of treating the depression, cigarette smoking, and alcoholism together can be used with Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, which help people to identify their feelings and how to better deal with those feelings (American Addiction Centers, 2018). The scenario about Rhonda is all too common in this country.

Treatment for depression as well as an addiction to alcohol and smoking cigarettes can be difficult. With the right treatment, she could live a much happier, fulfilling life with her children. In this essay, dual diagnosis was explained as well as why Rhonda is considered to have a dual diagnosis. How alcohol and nicotine affect the body and the health problems associated with it were also explained as well as the way depression is affected by alcohol and nicotine. In addition, problems were identified regarding treating someone with depression and substance abuse and two strategies to help Rhonda in treatment were discussed. There is hope for Rhonda to get through treatment and remain sober if she is willing to put forth the strong effort needed.

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The Effect of Substance Abuse on Depression. (2020, Jan 26). Retrieved from