Depression and anxiety are two different psychological disorders that sometimes have overlapping symptoms. Depression is characterized by feelings of sadness, unworthiness, guilt, and helplessness, often accompanied by a loss of energy, will power, overall changes for the worse in sleep patterns. Anxiety disorders are often characterized by feelings of sadness, hostility, fear, and pressured, often accompanied by a large array of physical symptoms some of which are the same for depression; flu like symptoms, losses in energy, and changing sleep patterns are all shown in depression and anxiety. Increasingly over the years, anxiety and depression are part of a dual diagnosis.
Depression affects not just the person who has it, but everyone around them. It’s hard to endure watching a loved one struggle to do simple things like get out of bed or shower. Watching the efforts of a depressed loved one can create depression and other psychological problems. Depression coupled with anxiety can be even worse to watch. Instead of watching only a fight just to get moving, you have to watch your loved one fight the fears of what will happen “if” while they try to wage war with themselves. Family support, exercise, and medical/psychiatric support are important steps to overcome the crippling disorders. It is not something people can just snap out of. In cases of long term untreated depression or anxiety, it is not uncommon for the affected to turn to substances to dull the despair and fears that accompany the disorder. When this happens, it is harder for the person to “simply” quit the drug; the drug is the treatment for a bigger problem instead of being the problem itself. If you take away the substance but do not treat the problem there is a substantially increased risk of relapse and you cut the person off from their coping resource. This does not ingratiate you to the addict. Instead as detox occurs, the patient must be treated for the bigger problem of anxiety and depression in a place that feels safe, and hopefully with love and support.
For some people, drug and alcohol use is a way to escape from the often overwhelming emotions that the two disorders bring up. A combination of therapies, like CBT and TLDP, and family support is the best way to fight depression and anxiety, and it is doubly important that those using alcohol and drugs get the same treatment. Family orientated therapy is helpful in that it addresses all the problems a family is having, not just the ones caused by the behaviors and emotions of the addict. There are good, affordable drug and alcohol rehab centers that have a combination of therapies that include the whole family, incorporate exercise, and allow the client to experience the beauty that is available in the world with new eyes; you just have to find them.
Don’t forget, it is important to treat the family members “without” a problem as well, watching these levels of emotions and actions can have long term ramifications on those who witness it. This is why family therapy is so important; it gives all members the support they need to support each other.