How to Help Someone With Drug Addiction and Depression

Normalizing the importance of mental health is something we can all work on being an advocate for. If you think about your friends and loved ones, you can probably name at least one person you know that suffers from depression or maybe has even struggled with substance abuse.  Frequently, when people struggle with mental health issues or feel the initial sadness from depression, there is such a societal stigma surrounding these issues they can feel reluctant to mention them. Sometimes, in the initial stages of depression, it can be such a gradual process that a person can almost convince themselves either it’s not a big deal or that it will pass “tomorrow.” 

We can all experience days where we feel particularly low or experience a life-changing event that derails all the well-laid plans we had. The lows that a person experiences can most often be moved past by something pleasant or happy we experience and we tend to move on from the low. When experiencing clinical depression, those periods of time a person feels low last and are more challenging to move past. Drug addiction can be a coping mechanism to the feelings a person cannot seem to move past. It is important to understand how to help someone with drug addiction and depression in a non-threatening manner to advocate for them when they can no longer be one for themselves. 

What is Depression?

We have all experienced periods of grief, sadness, and frustration. Depression is more than just an emotional response to a life event or a periodic mood change resulting from everyday life. 

According to the World Health Organization, over 264 million people of every age suffer from depression. Clinical depression occurs for a period lasting at a minimum of two weeks and interferes with functioning socially, working, and maintaining healthy relationships. 

Typically speaking, those who suffer from depression can experience as many as five or more of these symptoms every day:

  • Energy loss
  • Interest lost in hobbies and activities
  • Frequent periods of sleep or inability to sleep
  • Irritability
  • Anxiety
  • Feeling hopeless
  • Thoughts of suicide or attempt of suicide
  • Sadness to the point of tears
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Appetite increase
  • Appetite decrease
  • Feelings of low self-worth
  • Feelings of shame or guilt

Causes of Depression

There is no specific known cause of depression. Genetics, hormones and brain chemistry can all contribute. Outlined below are some additional risk factors:

  • Geography, age, race, and gender
  • History of depression in the family
  • Some prescription medications
  • Certain chronic diseases such as cancer, diabetes, and multiple sclerosis
  • Sexual or physical abuse
  • Neglect
  • Trauma
  • Domestic violence
  • Low self-esteem
  • Drug or alcohol use disorders
  • Other disorders such as borderline personality disorder, post-traumatic stress disorder, and anxiety disorder

Tips for Helping People With Drug Addiction and Depression

There are some key ways in which we can help those that suffer from depression:

  1. Take the time to research and understand depression on your own time. Understand that they can take different forms. 
  2. Offer to assist with daily tasks.
  3. Keep in touch and offer plans without the fear of pressure.
  4. Try not to take things personally or “fix” them.
  5. Try not to offer experience comparison. 
  6. Take care of yourself too. Establish healthy boundaries.
  7. Offer to help them find support and encourage their commitment to it.
  8. Listen.
  9. Offer patience.

What is the Connection Between Drug Addiction and Depression?

People who experience depression look for a way to cope with how they are feeling. The overwhelming feeling of permanence to the feelings associated with depression can cause an individual to seek out a substance or activity as a cure for the pain they may be feeling. Unfortunately, because there is a root cause issue at hand, which is the underlying mental health component, this can lead to addiction. 

The trouble is that using these temporary methods of self-medication and substance use may offer a brief period of relief. However, they may also cause intensification of negative thoughts and feelings as well. Certain individuals are at higher risk for depression and subsequently more at risk of developing a substance use disorder. These include: 

  • Individuals who are not covered by medical insurance 
  • Individuals who are unable to work
  • Those that have been unemployed for a long period of time
  • Hispanics
  • African Americans
  • Individuals between the ages of 45 and 65

Dual Diagnosis

When you have more than one clinical diagnosis, such as addiction and depression, this is referred to as a dual diagnosis. The signs and symptoms of these diagnoses are often overlapping which can pose a challenge when trying to properly diagnose and treat. It is estimated that approximately one in four of those with a substance use disorder also have a mental illness. Some signs and symptoms of those suffering from a dual diagnosis are:

  • Inability to control emotions/extreme mood swings
  • Financial issues
  • Unable to maintain healthy relationships
  • Unable to maintain employment

Here are a few valuable steps that may be included in comprehensive treatment plans available to assist with combating addiction and depression:

  • Assisting in identifying and changing addictive behaviors
  • Providing practical skills for coping with negative thought patterns
  • Motivation in creating crucial changes in a person’s life 
  • Assistance in understanding depression
  • Coaching, teaching, motivating an individual that recovery from addiction and depression is well within their reach

If you, a friend, or loved one are experiencing signs and symptoms of depression, addiction, or both, it is important to know there is assistance available and a support system well within your reach. Treatment options can include detoxification, inpatient rehabilitation, outpatient rehabilitation, sober living, individual therapy, and group therapy, just to name a few.  

It is necessary when dealing with a dual diagnosis to seriously consider a treatment option in which both disorders can be treated simultaneously. It is challenging enough to handle mental illness, but when you factor in the abuse of a substance, it becomes more important than ever to be surrounded by professionals who can treat both effectively. The most effective treatment is one in which you can customize the treatment plan specifically for each individual’s needs and provide the tools for them to understand better how to develop healthy coping skills and understand their mental illness. 


The truth is it doesn’t just take a village to raise a child. It takes a village to navigate this thing called life. We may not have all been blessed with a perfect support system and the tools to use our minds and bodies to the best of our abilities, but we can create a great support system, and we can undoubtedly acquire those skills and tools. With the assistance of treatment centers, outpatient programs, group therapy, individual therapy, friends who become like family, and so much more, we can handcraft the support system that either we need or our friends and loved ones desperately need. 

Never underestimate the fact that small steps daily are still steps in the right direction. It is imperative to know that you can overcome your challenges, fears, and obstacles with one small step each day. People are more resilient than they ever think of giving themselves credit for. With the nature of depression, it is easy to believe that hope is no longer available. It takes so much courage to take the steps necessary to make lasting changes and align with a proper support system to remind yourself daily that hope still exists. 

As a loved one extending care and support, offering compassion, listening to an individual’s fears, challenges and concerns are important aspects of helping someone with drug addiction and depression. It is worth mentioning that there is a fine line between creating codependency and enabling addictive behaviors. It is essential to develop healthy boundaries and remember that the individual must be willing to take ownership of their actions. One of the most helpful things that can happen is fostering an environment where it feels safe, and recovery from addiction and depression is possible. 


Clinical depression: What does that mean? | Mayo Clinic

Depression: Facts, Statistics, and You |

Depression and Addiction |

How Long is Rehab for Alcohol?

Choosing recovery isn’t easy. But it is one of the bravest choices you can make. Many factors contribute to recovery, and there is no one-size-fits-all model that works for every individual. It is essential to understand your health, what the signs and symptoms of alcohol use disorder look like, what treatment options are available and how you can maintain a healthy and happy sober life. 

Alcohol use disorder is something that can often be a silent threat because of its social acceptance. It is often viewed as normal to most Americans to drink socially. It can be easy to overlook friends and family’s drinking habits because of the social acceptance of alcohol in daily life in the United States. The role that alcohol plays at events such as parties, family gatherings, dates, and so much more significantly reduces how dangerous alcohol consumption can be. Some people may even recognize that alcohol may negatively impact their life but do not to the degree they want to stop independently. 

What is Alcohol Use Disorder? 

First of all, people from all walks of life are affected by alcohol use disorder. It does not discriminate based on age, gender, ethnicity, or socioeconomic status. Alcohol use becomes harmful when you develop a behavior pattern in which you cannot control your drinking habits. 

You likely have an alcohol use disorder if: 

  • You continue to use alcohol while recognizing it is causing problems in your daily life and activities.
  • You have become preoccupied with the use of alcohol.
  • You notice signs and symptoms of withdrawal after you decrease your alcohol intake.

This disorder can range from mild to severe depending upon how many symptoms you exhibit and your daily use. It is also marked by negative emotions when you are not consuming alcohol, compulsive drinking, and loss of control over alcohol use and is considered a chronic brain disorder.  Symptoms of withdrawal and intoxication from the use of alcohol are key signs of alcohol use disorder. According to a 2019 survey conducted by the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, approximately 86% of individuals age 18 and above reported drinking alcohol at some stage in their lives. In an age range from 12 years and older, it is estimated that 15 million people had an alcohol use disorder. It is extremely important to be aware of signs and symptoms of alcohol abuse to prevent the development of an alcohol use disorder.

Symptoms of Alcohol Use Disorder

It can be extremely challenging to tell the difference between someone that has a drinking problem or someone who likes to have a few drinks. According to research, alcohol use is widely accepted and available. It has a close link to and is often found in many social engagements. Major consequences can be avoided if alcohol abuse is identified and treated early on. Looking for warning signs is important because addiction can get worse over time. Signs and symptoms of addiction to alcohol are: 

  1. Alcohol consumption frequency has increased
  2. Alcohol use during times when and in places where it isn’t appropriate, such as upon waking, at place of work, etc. 
  3. Dependent upon alcohol to cope with daily life.
  4. Change in behavior
  5. Change in friends
  6. Contact with loved ones or formerly close friendship avoided.
  7. Fatigue, decrease in motivation, or other emotional issues. 
  8. Keeping your alcohol consumption from friends and family.
  9. Loss of job or arrest. 

It is important to remember that if you are concerned about a friend or loved one, approaching them in a supportive way is ideal. Provoking feelings of guilt or shame could cause them to retreat or be resistant to any assistance offered. 

Risks and Complications of Prolonged Heavy Alcohol Use

An individual’s overall health, gender, body mass, genetic factors, and the amount of alcohol consumed are influential in the body’s response to chronic excessive drinking. Excess alcohol builds in the bloodstream and is circulated by the heart throughout the body when more alcohol is consumed than can be metabolized by the body. Excess alcohol in the body can lead to changes in normal bodily functions and a result in altering body chemistry. 

Here are some of the risks and complications of prolonged heavy alcohol use:

  • Ulcers and gastrointestinal issues
  • Dysfunction of the immune system
  • Brain damage
  • Deficiency in vitamins and malnourishment
  • Heart disease
  • Increase in the risk of cancer
  • Complications with vision
  • Increase risk of Injuries and accidents 
  • Congenital disabilities
  • Bone damage
  • Menstruation and sexual function issues
  • Adverse interaction with medication

Most of the risks and complications associated with alcohol use disorder can be prevented or treated when addiction is recognized and treated early on. Finding the right treatment center is crucial to the success of your recovery. Once you have chosen to seek assistance, selecting a specific treatment option to the needs of you or your loved one is an important part of rehabilitation and recovery. 

Treatment Options for Alcohol Use Disorder 

The goal for rehabilitation is lifelong recovery. This goal can be achieved by finding a treatment program, a support system, and a person-driven commitment toward the goal of sobriety. There is no predetermined set length of time for rehabilitation. Every person and every set of circumstances are unique and should be treated as such. 

Programs designed to treat alcohol use disorder will typically last for seven to 10 days and continue as long as necessary for each person. A great way to help determine which treatment option would be best for you or your loved one is to know your goals and seek the advice of a medical or treatment professional. Some of the main treatment options for alcohol use disorder include, but are not limited to: 

  • Detoxification: Detoxification is typically the beginning, or first step, in the treatment process. During alcohol detox, alcohol consumption is eliminated along with the harmful toxins built up inside your body.
  • Inpatient treatment: During this type of treatment, it would occur on-site in a residential treatment program. One of the advantages of this type of treatment option is removing the patient from an environment that would cause a trigger or temptation to re-engage alcohol consumption. It allows a person to have 24-hour access to medical and treatment professionals to help guide a person’s detoxification process, therapy and offer support.
  • Outpatient treatment: Outpatient treatment is care in which you are not admitted into a facility. This can include a 12-step program, group and individual therapy, and attempts to balance personal accountability and independence coupled with support.
  • Sober living: Sober living homes can serve as a bridge between rehabilitation and entering back into your normal daily lifestyle. This treatment option allows for a certain level of structure while allowing for the opportunity for adjustment to gain a person’s independence back. In-person support is offered daily. 


There are a wide variety of treatment options available for the treatment of alcohol use disorder. There are many pathways and no one-size-fits-all model toward treatment and recovery. Recovery and support can involve community, family, finding value in emotional and physical well being and so much more. Hope can be encouraged by support groups and peers, and family and goes a long way toward fueling the desire to continue a sober lifestyle. 

There is hope, and there is a pathway for each individual. Seeking treatment and admitting you need assistance is a huge step in an individual’s ability to regain control over their lives. It is never easy to acknowledge that you may have a problem, but the sooner it is recognized and treated, the better chance you have to eliminate the serious risk of harm to self or others. Through the new relationships and life, you build you can be empowered to live the life you have always wanted.

If you or someone you love is struggling with alcohol use disorder, here are some great reasons why it is beneficial to seek professional treatment. 

  1. Support can be offered 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
  2. You are not alone during the process of treatment and recovery.
  3. The likelihood of recovery is much greater. 
  4. Your mental and physical well-being is important.
  5. During moments where you feel you may not be able to continue recovery, you will have a support system.
  6. You will have the ability to regain a healthy and productive lifestyle. 
  7. Your treatment can be highly customized to your unique set of needs. 


Alcohol use disorder | Mayo Clinic

Social and Cultural Contexts of Alcohol Use | US National Library of Medicine National Institutes of Health

The 23 Effects of Alcohol on Your Body |

Dana Point California Rehab Center Options

Deciding on the ideal place to receive professional treatment is an important decision. Recognizing the value of change taking place is an extremely positive step toward your recovery journey. When thinking of how to go about selecting a treatment center, there are many options to consider. The types of amenities offered, the variety of treatment options available, the location of treatment center, and your short and long-term goals should be factored into your decision. 

Some factors that may not always be front of mind but are just as important to consider are:

  • The client-to-staff ratio
  • Certifications and credentials of the treatment center
  • Experience and education of the staff 

Each individual prefers a specific type of recovery environment based on their unique needs and desires. Some people would prefer a more tranquil, simple, and serene location. Some people would have a preference for a more luxurious setting with a plethora of additional amenities. No matter which option you would prefer, some basic amenities should be standards of care. These include:

  • The opportunity to exercise 
  • Healthy and well-balanced meals should be offered at in-patient centers in order to assist with recovery
  • 24-hour support from licensed professionals 
  • A clean and comforting space that provides the basic comforts of home

Does Location Matter When Selecting a Rehab Center

Many areas of the United States have extremely basic rehabilitation programs that may not have a lot of integrated treatment options available. Discovering a treatment center that will offer you an environment that feels as close to home as possible but a treatment program that offers a multifaceted approach can be crucial in the recovery journey’s success. When thinking about treatment options, you want as little barrier as possible toward achieving your goals. 

When seeking a specialized approach, Southern California offers a robust selection of options for rehabilitation, specifically in the Dana Point area. 

There are many benefits of choosing Dana Point for your recovery:

  • It can be beneficial to eliminate the familiar surroundings that aided in harmful behavior. 
  • It can help you remain as anonymous as possible and place you outside of your core network of people you may be concerned about being judged.
  • The weather in the area is very pleasant the vast majority of the year. 
  • The ocean is a tranquil setting for you to regain your inner peace and focus on your mental health. 
  • The likelihood of checking out early is decreased by selecting a site that may not be in your hometown.

How to Make the Most of Your Progress 

You’ve found the perfect setting to seek treatment. You have short-term and long-term goals you want to live by. You probably have many questions about how you’re going to make the most out of this experience. It’s very important to remember that this experience will be what you make it, and as intimidating as that may seem at first, there are ways you can set yourself up for the best possibility of success. 

Here are some helpful tips to assist you in remaining focused on what’s important:

  1. Pack things that will motivate you to remember why you started. This can be a journal, a favorite photo of your loved ones, or something from your home that you would normally find comfort in, such as favorite socks, a pair of slippers, or a favorite shirt.
  2. Trust in the process. You didn’t get to where you are overnight, and your progress will take some time but will be well worth it. Each day is a fresh start to change negative habits and thought patterns into the positive ones you need to have a healthy life.
  3. Remember that it is ok to feel frustrated at times. The longer you commit to your goals, the easier each day will become. Just take one day at a time.
  4. Learn how to be protective of your space and energy. Your goals of sobriety and mental wellness are absolutely achievable. It’s important to accept the support offered and learn how to set healthy boundaries.
  5. Be prepared to continue your journey after your treatment.

What Happens After Treatment? 

Understanding what happens after treatment is crucial to maintaining sobriety and achieving your long-term goals. There are many positive aspects to care about treatment, and it can diminish the risk of relapse. Programs that take place after your care at the treatment center of your choice are typically referred to as aftercare. Treatment can look like, but is not limited to, one or more of the following:

  • Group counseling regularly
  • Participation in a 12-step program
  • Individual counseling 

Aftercare treatment length will vary from person to person and will be tailored to your individual needs. When a person learns a new set of skills, those skills often need honing and practice. Aftercare can help you practice the new skills you have learned and continue to gain the support you deserve. 

There are many areas of support that can be accessed through aftercare. Some of them include:

  • Budgeting support and financial planning
  • Support academically
  • Legal advice and support
  • Career counseling and support
  • Goal setting and coaching
  • Case management
  • Substance monitoring

Starting Life in Recovery

Stepping back into normal life after treatment can require a transition process. Aftercare is just as important as the care you receive during your initial treatment. Creating a support network of sober and like minded individuals will aid in the encouragement you deserve to get back on track. A key to life outside of addiction is to create new and lasting habits to help you sustain your new lifestyle. If you were on a fitness journey, you would want to clear out your refrigerator and pantry of any tempting food and make sure you were on an exercise plan as well.

Making a list can help organize your thoughts on how to approach your new start. Here are some ways you can tackle the next chapter:

  1. Slow and steady wins the race. All good things come in time. Step by step, day by day, you will take on the new challenges ahead of you. Try to focus on one single day at a time.
  2. If possible, find a way to apologize for any damage caused to friends and family. This can help clear your mind and conscience and pave the way for healthier relationships with those you care about.
  3. Focus on keeping your word to both yourself and others. This creates trust in yourself, and it can go a long way in re-establishing trust with loved ones.
  4. Seek out camaraderie with sober friends and support groups. Risking having relationships with those that are not sober and do not align with your current lifestyle can be detrimental. Seek out those that are heading in the direction you want to be going.
  5. Find activities that spark a passion in you to occupy the time. Reigniting your love for what brings you joy can replace negative habits.
  6. Exercise can help you take the confidence you are building to the next level.
  7. Make sure you are eating well balanced meals and getting enough rest. Great, nutritious, food and enough rest can make you feel like a new person.
  8. Have the courage to pursue the life you always dreamed of. The life you have is what you create, so go out and pursue greatness. 


Your life can feel like a complete blur when taking the first few steps toward recovery.  The thought of making so many different choices, often simultaneously, can feel incredibly overwhelming. We have covered that it is in your best interest to take a really good look at what your options for treatment are and where they are located. You wouldn’t just purchase a new home without checking out the builder, the land, the neighbors, the school district, etc. 

Southern California can be an ideal setting to achieve all that you want to accomplish on your recovery journey—having the peace of mind of knowing that you will receive the best care possible can be well worth the trip. It is important to remember that no two treatment centers are alike, just like no two people are alike. What may be suited for one person may not be to the liking of another. What matters the most is that you have the clinical expertise backing your journey and the environment you know you can thrive in. 


Exercise as a Potential Treatment for Drug Abuse: Evidence from Preclinical Studies | US National Library of Medicine National Institutes of Health

Substance use recovery and diet | MedlinePlus

How to Navigate the Addiction Treatment System | Partnership to End Addiction (

Anxiety and Addiction: What’s the Connection?

Understanding addiction can be complex. There are typically many factors that contribute to addictive behavior. It is crucial to understand risk factors to assess and identify how to reduce the risk of becoming addicted and treat the root cause. 

This article will explore what addiction is, what common risk factors are, what anxiety is, and the relationship between anxiety and addiction. Many factors can rule substance abuse. Understanding the relationship between those factors can assist in the prevention of substance abuse. It can also help develop a more comprehensive, individualized treatment plan for a person, tailored to the individual’s history and needs. 

What is Addiction?

Addiction is recognized as a chronic, treatable medical disease. This disease is shaped by a person’s life experience, environment, genetics, the total sum of those factors, and their connection to the brain. Individuals with addiction can engage in behavior or use of substances that become harmful, and despite the consequences, frequently continue. 

When thinking of addiction, the first thought that may come to mind is substance abuse. Addiction is now typically recognized in two different categories: behavioral and chemical addiction

  • With behavioral addiction, a person craves or becomes dependent on a set of behaviors. Common behavioral addictions would be gambling, food, sex, and shopping. Therapy and support are recognized as valuable treatment options for behavioral addiction.
  • Chemical addiction involves substance use and is often marked by the continued compulsion to use the substance regardless of the harmful or negative consequences. Continued substance abuse can cause lasting changes in how the brain functions. Treatment options for substance abuse can include, but are not limited to, inpatient treatment, outpatient rehabilitation, and therapy, just to name a few. 

Engaging in behavior such as exercise, eating your favorite foods, or visiting friends can release a chemical messenger in the brain called dopamine. Dopamine is a messenger in your brain that can create a feeling of happiness or reward when engaging in certain activities. When the brain releases dopamine, it creates a reward loop initiating the desire to re-engage in the behavior that caused the enjoyable or pleasurable experience. The brain reinforces behavior that will increase the chance to engage in activities that pleasure is derived from. 

Substance abuse can create an intense, euphoric, experience also causing a surge of dopamine to be released larger than normal. This response causes changes in how the brain functions. The desire to reinforce that large surge of dopamine can encourage the brain to look toward a substance instead of more positive activities that may be more healthy to produce the desired effect.  By identifying risk factors that lead to addiction, we can work towards preventing substance abuse before it may start. 

What are Common Risk Factors for Addictive Behavior?

Research has been poured into understanding the abuse of drugs, how it begins, and how it can be prevented. At certain stages in development, some risk factors may be stronger than others in influencing the likelihood of drug usage. Risk factors can include:

  • Environmental: Family history, stress at home or in the environment, the influence of peers, drug availability. If there is little adult supervision, chronic stress in the home, coupled with the availability of drugs and peer pressure, all of those things can have an impact on especially children and adolescents and put them at increased risk of substance abuse and addiction.
  • Mental illness: Anxiety, depression, mental disorders, etc. There are several possibilities for an increase in risk factors for this category. One of the possibilities is that substances can often be used as a coping mechanism or to influence their mood.
  • Stage of development: It has been determined that the earlier the introduction and use of drugs begins, the more likely the risk for addiction. This can also stem from the changes that take place within the brain after repeated exposure to drugs. This may influence the use of substances and subsequent addiction later in life.
  • Biology: Genetics can account for approximately half of an individual’s risk of developing an addiction. 

What is Anxiety?

A natural response to stress, anxiety can be described as apprehension or a feeling of fear of what’s to come. Anxiety can be a response to common activities such as public speaking, a job interview, or the first day of school jitters. If the feelings of apprehension and fear become extreme, interfere with daily activities, and last longer than six months, it is important to seek a medical professional’s guidance to determine if you have an anxiety disorder. 

An anxiety disorder can feel debilitating and can sometimes prevent you from engaging in activities you enjoy. Anxiety does not discriminate and at any age can affect anyone. According to the Anxiety and Depression Association of America, highly treatable, the most common mental illness in the U.S. is anxiety disorders. Each person’s experience with anxiety may feel different. General symptoms of anxiety can include: 

  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Challenge in falling asleep or staying asleep 
  • Rapid breathing
  • Increase in heart rate
  • Feeling of restlessness

The exact cause of anxiety is unknown. Numerous factors can play a role in what causes anxiety. They can include brain chemistry, environment, genetic makeup, stress, and diet. It is important to pay attention to signs and symptoms of anxiety. Managing your anxiety can prevent the cycle of it being increased over time and the desire to cope in an unhealthy way. Some positive ways to manage anxiety include:

  • Exercise
  • Healthy diet
  • Limiting triggers that can increase anxiety, such as alcohol or caffeine 
  • Make sure you are getting plenty of sleep
  • Therapy

Is There a Relationship Between Anxiety and Addiction?

When experiencing anxiety, people can often turn to substance abuse to cope with their feelings. Substance abuse can be seen as a remedy for assisting with falling asleep, feeling calmer, or eliminating the feelings of apprehension and fear. This is risky behavior due to the addictive nature of drugs and is only temporary relief from the underlying issue. Individuals who have mental health disorders and substance use disorders have what is called a dual diagnosis. 

It is important to treat a dual diagnosis together instead of separately treating the addiction problem and mental health disorder. These challenges may have been treated separately in the past, but we now understand that these disorders have a relationship and impact on one another. A combination of therapies can be used in treating a dual diagnosis. It is important to find a medical professional or treatment center equipped to treat your unique needs.

Signs of anxiety can include:

  • Worrying excessively
  • Fatigue
  • Panic Attacks
  • Irrational fears
  • Feelings of agitation 
  • Trouble sleeping 

Signs and symptoms of substance abuse can include:

  • Personality changes
  • Behavior thaSuspicious behaviort is suspicious
  • Grooming habit changes
  • Missing medication/drug presence
  • Loss of interest in normal daily activities 
  • Loss or change of friends
  • Lack of motivation
  • Poor decision making 

Dual Diagnosis Approach to Anxiety and Addiction

Support and learning positive coping mechanisms can assist with both managing anxiety and addiction. There are comprehensive treatment programs available that can help you start your journey to the management, recovery, and treatment care plan for after your recovery. Your treatment plan should cater to your individualized diagnosis and needs. It is important to remain comfortable and safe throughout your care. 

Some key principles when seeking effective treatment options are:

  • Treatment is unique to each individual. 
  • It is important to review treatment as necessary to adjust to changing needs. 
  • Addiction is a treatable disease but can often be complex. It affects brain function and behavior and requires addressing both the potential of mental disorders and addiction. 
  • It is imperative to remain in treatment for an adequate amount of time. 
  • In order to be effective, treatment does not need to be voluntary.
  • Group, individual, and family counseling are among the most commonly used form of treatment for the abuse of drugs. 


In summary, tackling anxiety and addiction alone can feel isolating and overwhelming. It is important to know that help is available and you are not alone. There is an enormous amount of courage in admitting you need help. If you are experiencing signs and symptoms of addiction, anxiety, or both, you need to seek a medical professional or treatment center’s guidance.

With treatment, therapy, and support groups, there is a path to recovery. You are worthy of a happy and healthy life. 


Types of Addiction and How They’re Treated |

Dopamine |

Treatment of Co-occurring Anxiety Disorders and Substance Use Disorders | US National Library of Medicine National Institutes of Health

Klonopin Addiction: Treatment Steps

Klonopin is often a helpful tool for people with short term insomnia, chronic anxiety, or panic attacks. The drug can help to ease unpleasant symptoms while therapy uncovers the root causes and helps patients to develop better coping mechanisms. Unfortunately, this is rarely how Klonopin is used.

Many people find themselves addicted to Klonopin, either by taking their prescriptions or from buying the drug illegally. If you’re worried that you or someone you love might have a problematic relationship with Klonopin, you need to learn the warning signs and understand the available options for help. 

What is Klonopin?

Klonopin is a brand name of the drug clonazepam. Clonazepam is a benzodiazepine drug like alprazolam (Xanax) and lorazepam (Ativan). Klonopin works to suppress certain brain receptors that cause anxiety or excessive alertness. With these receptors blocked, people are less prone to experience insomnia or panic attacks. They find it easier to relax. 

Klonopin was initially developed to manage seizures in patients who experienced them frequently. Further studies determined that the drug should not be used long term in the way that other seizure drugs are intended to be used. 

How Should Klonopin Be Used?

Klonopin is generally recognized as safe when prescribed at a proper dosage and for a limited duration. Klonopin was never intended to be used for longer than two weeks, but many physicians continuously refill scripts for their patients. This means their patients are technically abusing the drug, but are completely unaware that they’re doing so. 

Klonopin should not be taken in conjunction with many other drugs, particularly opioids. When benzodiazepine drugs and opioids are taken simultaneously, they overlap to create the effect of increased potency. This significantly increases the potential for accidental overdose, which can sometimes be fatal. 

Are Benzodiazepine Drugs as Dangerous as Opioids?

Opioid pain medications are widely regarded as controversial for their addictive potential and the physical dependence they create. Benzodiazepine drugs were once regarded as safer, and are regulated less intensely than opioids. This doesn’t mean that benzodiazepine drugs like Klonopin are not addictive. 

Klonopin has the potential to be the most addictive benzodiazepine drug. It differs from its counterparts in the way it works. Klonopin is rapid acting and has a very long half life. Its effects begin to take hold within an hour and remnants of the drug can remain in the system for a few days. This is the perfect storm for fostering drug dependency. 

Much like opioids, benzodiazepine drugs like Klonopin change the way your brain works. Any drug that alters your brain’s balance of chemicals or the way that its receptors or neurotransmitters work can cause dependency. The brain adapts to the changes the drug causes and notices when the drug is missing. Its response leads to withdrawal symptoms.

What Are The Signs of Klonopin Addiction?

If you have been taking Klonopin for longer than two weeks, you are technically addicted to Klonopin. Even if you’re taking it with a prescription and medical supervision exactly as you are directed to, the drug has changed the way your brain works. 

If you find yourself having to take more of the drug to experience the same effects you did when you first began taking it, this tolerance is indicative of a drug dependency. This is true for both patients being medically treated with Klonopin and people who purchase the drug illegally. 

Other signs of Klonopin addiction include legal or financial trouble relating to your use of the drug, persistent cravings for the drug, loss of interest in day to day activities, and difficulty stopping the medication even if you feel the desire to do so.

Detoxing From Klonopin

Some medications are more dangerous to detoxify from than others. Klonopin withdrawal can be extremely dangerous for some of its users. Since Klonopin changes the brain’s balance of chemicals, withdrawals can lead to major events like seizures, coma, or death if not properly supervised. 

Some people may experience nausea, tremors and trouble with coordination, sensory hallucinations, increased temperature and pulse, and insomnia. Increased anxiety and panic attacks are also common This is because Klonopin had changed the receptors in the brain that regulated those feelings, and with the absence of the drug to suppress them, they kick into overdrive. 

Detoxing from Klonopin isn’t something you can safely do at home. You’ll need the supervision of a medical professional or addiction specialist. He or she can monitor your symptoms and provide you with adequate care to help make the detoxing process a little more comfortable. This is especially important because severe adverse reactions like seizures can be life threatening if not handled properly. 

Most people who detox from Klonopin find that the worst of the symptoms subside within four days of stopping the medication. Some symptoms will linger for up to two weeks. It’s going to take your brain a little while to come back to its proper balance once Klonopin is done changing the way it works. 

Some people are left with symptoms like depression or persistent anxiety that can last indefinitely if not properly addressed. Therapy and safer alternative medications may be helpful in overcoming the long term aftereffects of Klonopin use. They may also help to treat any co-occurring conditions that contributed to your medical need or personal desire to take Klonopin. 

Drug Rehabilitation Treatment

After you have safely detoxed from Klonopin, you will begin a drug rehabilitation treatment program. This treatment will involve a combination of therapies. Both individual therapy and group therapy sessions are beneficial to people who have struggled with drug or alcohol use disorders. 

One of the most important steps in addiction recovery is to uncover the root cause of the addiction. Many people use substances as a method of self medicating, or escaping unwanted feelings. Drug use disorders only add to the issue. They don’t resolve underlying feelings or problems. They allow them to compound unattended in the background, sometimes causing them to become worse than they were before the addiction began. 

Group therapy provides a safe environment for people with substance use disorders to share their feelings. Often, people who live with these disorders feel very alone. It’s difficult to find others to relate to, especially when it feels like most people don’t understand what they’re going through or judge them for the behavior surrounding their addiction.

Group sessions provide the foundation for empathy and understanding that many addicts require during this trying time. It’s easier to open up with people who have lived similar experiences or have made decisions they aren’t proud of as a result of their addiction. Group therapy keeps addicts from feeling alone, or “othered”.

Individual therapy will help to address deeply personal issues that some people may not feel comfortable sharing in a group. A therapist can help you address your unique behavior patterns and work with you to create a sustainable plan for a healthy future. 

Focusing on your strengths and weaknesses, as well as helping to establish better coping mechanisms, is an important part of drug rehabilitation treatment. You’re less likely to relapse if you have clearly defined alternatives to problematic habits and behaviors.

Maintaining Sobriety with Aftercare

The last part of Klonopin addiction treatment is aftercare, which can span an indefinite period of time. Some people decide to participate in aftercare, like individual therapy or group sessions, for the rest of their lives. They enjoy the accountability that aftercare enforces and will continue to learn, grow, and explore their emotions in a healthy way. 

Aftercare is not just the treatment methods you utilize after you have officially completed a treatment program, but the healthier choices you make and commit to. Some people find that their healthy emotional outlets are a crucial component of their aftercare. 

Activities to achieve and maintain better physical and emotional health are common. Yoga, martial arts, fitness programs, gardening groups, book clubs, educational courses, and volunteer programs can be helpful tools for people in recovery. They’re a healthy and productive way to spend time that an addict might have otherwise devoted to using drugs or alcohol. 


Although the basics of the treatment steps for Klonopin addiction will be the same for everyone, you will need your own roadmap. Addiction is highly personal, and recovery is no different. The tools and methods that work for you may vary significantly from the tools the people sitting around you in group therapy need. 

It’s hard to know exactly what recovery will look like, and that’s a good thing. It means you aren’t confined to a prepackaged solution. You’re a dynamic human being who deserves to be happy and healthy, and the right rehabilitation center will treat you like one. 


5 Drug Detox Medications That Help

There are plenty of safe and effective drugs that can be immensely helpful for you during drug detox, and when administered correctly, none of them will trigger addictive patterns or foster a dependency. 

If you’ve ever been without drugs for a prolonged period of time, you’re familiar with withdrawal symptoms. You know that they can be so severe that it deters you from completing the detox process, whether you want to or not. 

Withdrawal is unpleasant, but medically managed detox with the right medications makes the process significantly easier.

The Process of Detoxing from Drugs

Most people don’t realize that the symptoms and side effects of withdrawal are a good thing. They feel so unpleasant to deal with — how can they possibly be good for you? 

When you were on drugs, you didn’t realize that you actually felt unpleasant. The drugs blocked your brain from ever registering those feelings. 

You didn’t know that all of the neurotransmitters in your brain were heavily impacted by drugs, unable to perform their necessary functions. The “high” feeling, loss of coordination, slurred speech, and profound sense of relaxation you felt were a result of your brain being so impared that your body couldn’t function properly.

When you remove the drugs from your system, your brain is happy. It wants to fix you right away. It rapidly attempts to rebalance your chemicals and eliminate toxic byproducts from your body, and the result of this process is what causes the withdrawal symptoms. Withdrawal is a complicated and transformative form of healing. 

Your body rapidly attempts to flush your system, leading to nausea, vomiting, fevers, diarrhea, and cold sweats. While it’s trying to purge things it knows shouldn’t be there, it’s also trying to replenish the things it knows it needs.

Chronic drug use has prevented your body from producing adrenaline, the same chemical that rushes when you’re on a rollercoaster or watching a scary movie. It heightens all of your senses, makes your heart beat faster, raises your blood pressure, and changes your respiration. When surges of adrenaline seemingly come out of nowhere, you might feel anxious, irritable or prone to mood swings. 

Although withdrawal symptoms are a sign that your body is successfully rebounding from the trauma you’ve subjected it to, the process will still be physically and emotionally taxing. Some medications can help to ease or mitigate the severity of these symptoms, making it easier to fully commit to one of the hardest parts of recovery. 

Many of these medications are best used in an inpatient treatment environment.

1. Methadone

Methadone is a drug used to treat or prevent withdrawal in opioid addicts. Methadone is an opioid, but it’s ability to induce the kind of high that most addicts seek is only possible with larger doses of the drug. Otherwise, it works on the brain exactly the same way that any other opioid might. It binds to the same receptors and dampens them the same way.

Controlled doses of methadone can be used to slow withdrawal symptoms by preventing them altogether. 

When you’re using an opioid, you aren’t withdrawing from an opioid. A medical professional will provide you with a minimal dose of methadone – just enough to keep withdrawal symptoms at bay. Over time, the dosage of methadone will be incrementally decreased until the methadone can be completely stopped. 

At the end of managed methadone care, the withdrawal symptoms will be so minimal that they won’t have an overwhelming impact on the patient. They may feel flu-like for a couple days, but they’ll begin to get the sense that they’re getting better, rather than the sense that they’ll never feel right again.

Methadone is especially helpful when treating opioid addicts who have severely increased tolerance and may experience high-risk withdrawal symptoms. Withdrawal hits these patients the hardest, and methadone can be used to help patients wean down enough to make the final blow a little less intimidating. 

Methadone is not intended to be used forever. You’ll work with your care provider to develop a plan that should always end in your cessation of the drug. 

This timeline may be different for everyone, but the end goal is always to stop using all opioids. 

2. Buprenorphine

Buprenorphine works similarly to methadone. It’s designed to be administered and reduced the same way methadone does, and it also binds to the same opioid receptors to prevent withdrawal symptoms. The biggest difference between methadone and buprenorphine is that buprenorphine is barely psychoactive at any dose. 

While methadone users may get a little bit of that “high” at the beginning of their treatment that slowly tapers down until it does away, users of buprenorphine may never get any semblance of that high at all. 

Buprenorphine only does the bare minimum. It has a maximum threshold for how much it can alter your consciousness, and once it reaches that threshold, it completely stops. This reduces the potential for abuse, as an upper limit is clearly defined.

People who have tried to use methadone and failed to fully recover or people who worry about becoming dependent on methadone have a valuable alternative in buprenorphine. Given your usage habits and medical history, your recovery specialist may recommend buprenorphine over methadone. 

3. Antidepressants

There are several reasons why antidepressants may play a crucial role in the detox process. One is that many drug users actually experience depression. Drugs are the preferred coping mechanism of dual disordered patients. A dual diagnosis or dual disordered patient is someone with a mental illness who is also addicted to drugs or alcohol. 

These patients use their substance of choice to self medicate for the mental illness, creating an endless negative feedback loop that causes them to feel worse, and in turn, use more drugs. It’s a vicious cycle, and recovery isn’t possible until that cycle can be broken. 

In order to treat the addiction, the mental illness must also be treated.

Antidepressants taken at the beginning of the detox process will begin to kick in. By the time the patient is fully detoxed and receiving therapeutic addiction and mental health treatments, the antidepressants will make the process easier. 

The patient will feel less mental dysphoria, reducing any barriers they may have about discussing their feelings or past trauma with their addiction specialist therapist. 

4. Medications to Manage Nausea

Upset stomach, vomiting, and diarrhea are common side effects of withdrawal. Medication can be administered to ease stomach discomfort during withdrawal. Medications for gastrointestinal distress can be administered every few hours to keep detox patients in a constant state of relief. These medications may not completely eliminate the symptoms, but they may reduce them to a point where a detox patient is comfortable enough to get some sleep. 

Nausea can also be managed through proper hydration and restoring electrolytes. Vomiting and diarrhea deplete the body of its necessary water stores and throw off its natural hydration balance. Using electrolytes and hydration balance in conjunction with medications will help to keep withdrawal patients healthy and stable. 

5. Acamprosate

Alcohol is a drug just like any other habit forming substance. Withdrawing from alcohol may even be more dangerous, complex, and lengthy than withdrawing from other drugs. There are many medications and treatments available to help those looking to overcome their addictions to alcohol, and they all serve different purposes.

One of the most promising solutions is a drug called acamprosate, and it’s been proven to safely induce long term beneficial changes that help keep patients on the right track. 

Acamprosate is a drug primarily prescribed to patients with alcohol use disorder to help with detoxification and building healthier habits. Acamprosate works to rebalance the brain, changing the way it responds to substances like alcohol and the way it craves them. 

People recovering from alcoholism will first experience alcohol withdrawal syndrome, and afterwards, some may experience something called protracted withdrawal syndrome. Protracted withdrawal syndrome is when some of the symptoms of withdrawal carry over even after the body has long since completed the withdrawal process, and they may remain to some degree for years. 

Acamprosate is most helpful to those recovering from alcohol use disorder that experience protracted withdrawal syndrome. It helps to restore the brain’s neurotransmitters to their ideal balance, and may reduce cravings for alcohol in the long term. 


The best solution to a drug habit isn’t a simple answer of just cutting out the drug — drug detox is a complex process that’s individualized to each person, which is why it’s so important to have a professional guide through the process. 

Don’t attempt to detox at home. It’s dangerous and it may cause you undue pain from the lack of resources you have. 

Medically supervised detox makes these drugs available, and they can be properly dispensed by a professional who knows the exact dosages you’ll need and when to administer them.