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Addictions Counsellor Training: The Link Between Depression and Substance Abuse

addiction counselling session

Addictions counsellors have an important role in our society. Overall, they address consistent hardships with depression and substance misuse. While all individuals experience highs and lows in life, clinical depression can last for weeks, months, or years, and begins to interfere with all aspects of a person’s life (Juergens, 2022). Those with symptoms of depression may lean on alcohol and other substance misuse as a seemingly simple solution to their problems and feelings of hopelessness (Juergens, 2022).

While you may know that there is a link between depression and substance abuse, you may not realize the reasoning for or depth of this link. Continue reading to discover the nature of this link and what it could mean for your future clients when you become an addictions counsellor. 

Understanding the Implications of Depression

Depression symptoms may vary from person to person, however, some common side effects include hopelessness, feelings of guilt, lack of interest in activities, changes in appetite and sleep, lack of concentration, suicidal thoughts, and more (Depression, 2017). If you’re expecting to attend addictions counselling training in Vancouver, then understanding the warning signs and common symptoms will allow you to best help your future clients get a handle on their depression.

With continued substance misuse, a person’s symptoms may evolve and begin to affect their health and personal life in negative ways (Geng, 2022). Disruptions to an individual’s personal life and altered health states can lead to strong urges or cravings to use substances excessively or for longer periods than intended (Geng, 2022). Early detection, diagnosis, and treatment of depression are essential for the best chance of avoiding subsequently linked conditions such as substance abuse (Depression, 2017). 

Understanding depression can help you serve clients after addictions counsellor training

Considering the Possibility of Substance Abuse in Clients with Depression

As an addictions counsellor, you will want to take great care to address clients with depression while considering the possibility of substance misuse in their lives. Many people who suffer from substance abuse also have mental health conditions, such as depression, anxiety, personality disorders, schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, and more (Geng, 2022). Therefore, a client with depression is worth paying special attention to for the possibility of developing a substance abuse disorder.

While substance misuse and mental health conditions often occur together, and there is a link between them, research has not shown that one necessarily causes the other (Substance Use and Co-Occurring Mental Disorders, 2021). Three possible reasons could contribute to this link: self-medication, shared risk factors, and brain alterations due to substance misuse (Geng, 2022).

consulting a addictions counsellor
Awareness of the co-occurring illnesses that come with substance abuse is necessary

Supporting Clients Suffering from Depression and Substance Abuse After Addictions Counsellor Training

In your future career, you may see this link often and treat clients for both depression and substance abuse simultaneously. With addictions counsellor training from Rhodes Wellness College, you will be able to help clients conquer their addictions and regain their enthusiasm for a better life.

Treatment of addictions and depression requires professional help and is often essential to the healing, health, and happiness of individuals (Juergens, 2022). Severe depression and addiction abuse are debilitating, and your role as an addictions counsellor can truly change the lives of your clients. With your help, addicted clients can take responsibility for themselves, improve their symptoms of substance abuse and depression, and improve the quality of their lives.

Interested in earning your addiction counsellor diploma?

Contact Rhodes Wellness College for more information!

Works Cited

Depression. (2017). National Alliance on Mental Illness. Retrieved on June 15, 2022 from https://www.nami.org/About-Mental-Illness/Mental-Health-Conditions/Depression

Geng, C. (2022). Is there a link between depression and substance misuse? Medical News Today. Retrieved on June 15, 2022 from https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/depression-and-substance-abuse

Juergens, J. (2022). Depression. Addictions Center. Retrieved on June 15, 2022 from https://www.addictioncenter.com/addiction/depression-and-addiction/#:~:text=Understanding%20Depression,also%20have%20an%20alcohol%20problem.. 

Substance Use and Co-Occurring Mental Disorders. (2021). National Institute of Mental Health. Retrieved on June 15, 2022 from https://www.nimh.nih.gov/health/topics/substance-use-and-mental-health

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