How to Help Addicts with Depression
Depression is a constant problem when a person is addicted to drugs or alcohol. The depression that accompanies addiction can be so crushing that it seems like only being high, drunk or stoned will make it leave a person alone.
It is not only cravings that drive a person back into more drug use, although this is a powerful motivator. When an addicted person starts to get sober, he (or she) is going to get hit with all the guilt over the harm he has done to those around him. He will begin to feel the losses of spouse, children, career, self-respect and love that he has suffered. He will often feel hopeless about ever making his way back to sobriety, ever again. And so he reaches for more cocaine, heroin, Lortab, marijuana, alcohol, Ecstasy or some other substance.
There are also physical causes of depression that result from addiction. It is very common for an addicted person to give up taking care of himself. He will not eat well. If he is addicted to stimulants like cocaine or methamphetamine, he may not eat at all for long periods of time. An alcoholic normally eats very poorly. An addicted person is normally very malnourished. Nutritional deficiency has been shown to contribute to depression, over and above the emotional reasons a person might have to be depressed.
Many addicts do not sleep well or often and live in degraded situations. They may also suffer from illnesses that they incurred because of their risky lifestyle. These factors can deepen depression.
The depression an addict feels results in a vicious cycle. He may not have hope of succeeding in rehab because he is so depressed and the depression itself blocks his being able to feel any hope of recovery.
Breaking the Cycle
With all this going on, it is quite understandable that when a family sits down with an addicted person and says they want to help, the addicted person might very well reject the offer. There is no hope, so how can he say yes? The remnants of drugs or alcohol still circulating through his body further muddy his judgment.
It can take some work to break through to an addicted person’s real desire to be free of his addicted lifestyle. In some cases, gently but persistently reminding a person of what life used to be like before he was addicted can help spark that person’s desire to have that life back.
If a person has been to rehab before, he may feel that going back to rehab is hopeless. In that case, it is often good to offer the person a different type of rehab that has a better success rate. The idea that this program helps most people recover can help a person reach out to start getting help.
How Narconon Helps a Person with Depression
In some drug rehabs, there is a tendency to start giving a person medication intended to alleviate depression almost as soon as they arrive. A person is going to be going through withdrawal for at least a few days (and often longer) and should be given nutritional and one-on-one support to make this a positive experience instead. Once the recovering person is fully through withdrawal, this is a much better time to make an evaluation as to their mental state.
The fact is that when a person realizes that he can honestly recover from addiction, when he finds out that it is possible for his intense drug cravings to let up, when he learns how he can repair the damage he has done to his relationships and self-respect, this is what is needed to alleviate most people’s depression. Depression is, in fact, a natural result of a person doing so much damage to himself and his life. When he finds out that he can come up to responsibility for his life again and repair it, this is a relief of great magnitude.
When this relief begins to occur in stages as a person goes through the Narconon program, a person normally feels better than he has since he began abusing drugs.
The Nutritional Side of Recovery
Within hours of a person arriving at a Narconon center, he or she is being given nutritional support. Special combinations of vitamins are administered throughout the withdrawal process as they have proven to alleviate the pain and sickness of withdrawal. What makes withdrawal so torturous is, in some measure, the depleted condition of the addict. Keeping a person in recovery well-nourished is essential for making withdrawal the most positive experience possible.
Drugs and alcohol themselves destroy nutrition in the body, adding another reason that a person is in such rough condition by the time he arrives at rehab. Without nutritional support, withdrawal is often a grueling experience. At a Narconon drug rehab, most people say the withdrawal is the most tolerable they have been through. And it is accomplished without any drugs at all (other than ones that might be prescribed for medical conditions).
At the same time this nutritional support makes withdrawal more tolerable on a physical basis, it also helps lift the spirits of the individual. Any nutritionally-derived depression may begin to improve little by little as soon as supplements are given.
Thorough Detoxification is Also Essential
When a person is fully through withdrawal and starts his rehab program, he will still be carrying around drug residues and leftover toxicity from the years of drinking or drug use. This toxic load definitely can dampen a person’s spirits. The Narconon rehab program has a phase that addresses this burden. That phase is called the Narconon New Life Detoxification.
In this phase, each person takes a strictly-controlled dosage of several vitamins and minerals, exercises moderately and then spends time in a sauna. He leaves the sauna to cool off and shower and then returns, coming and going several times. He reports his water consumption, weight, physical or mental sensations in detail. A trained supervisor watches every manifestation.
Lab tests have shown that this combination of nutrition, exercise and heat activates the body’s ability to flush out stored drug residues through the sweat. As the toxins leave, it is very common for a person to begin to brighten up. Dreams about drug use stop bothering a person. Most people say that their cravings also reduce or even leave entirely.
With a brighter viewpoint, clearer thinking and reduced cravings, many people report that this step of their rehab gives them a better outlook on life. And that translates into less or no depression.
Depression Does not Have to be Permanent
When recovery is real, when the body is supported with nutrition, when a person truly reclaims his self-respect, when his responsibility for himself and his family and community honestly return, there is seldom any chance for depression. Find out more about this comprehensive solution to addiction.