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Depression & Substance Use

Dani Merriam LPC, CADC-II

The CDC estimates that 10% of Americans struggle with depression. People who struggle with depression find that the symptoms of the disorder are often debilitating. People with depression may present as tearful and report that they feel sad, empty, hopeless and discouraged. Adults may also present as irritable and report concentration problems. People with depression may report loss of interest or pleasure in most activities, trouble sleeping, fatigue and problems with weight. Feelings of worthlessness and guilt may be associated with suicidal ideation.

Depression and Substance Use are unfortunately a commonly diagnosed pair. Depression can precipitate substance use and people may reach for drugs and/or alcohol to numb feelings and forget about thoughts. Conversely, someone may be struggling with a Substance Use disorder and due to repercussions from use, become depressed. It can, and often does become a vicious cycle no matter which comes first.

Fortunately, the treatment providers at Beacon House are experienced at treating people who are suffering from these disorders. Ideally, a person will be able to experience a period of abstinence from substances so a treatment team can better assess the depressive symptoms. While in treatment and out of their using environment, clients can achieve that period of abstinence and this typically begins their journey to sobriety.

At Beacon House, modalities can include; Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR), Dialectical Behavior Therapy, Neurofeedback, 12- Steps, and Experiential Therapies and activities such as Equine Therapy, Golfing, Surfing, and Birding.