10 Ways How To Help Someone with Depression & Drug Abuse

If you or someone you love is struggling with drug addiction and depression, get them the help they need and deserve. Continue to read for more tips on how to help someone with depression.


How To Help Someone With Depression Who Doesn’t Want Help?

Finding the right answer to how to help someone with drug addiction and depression can be difficult. You must realize that when drug addiction and depression happen to a person simultaneously, they create a vicious cycle. Drug addiction and depression feed off one another. Breaking the cycle is not something that you can achieve alone. Most importantly, it’s not something your loved one can do without help.

How to help someone with depression who won’t help themselves? If someone truly does not want help themselves, forcing them is an option. Although it does not appear to work very well for some. When we compel individuals to do what we want, it often results in conflict and resentment.

Allowing others to make their own choices, even if they are bad and cause additional misery, does not make you a failure. Yet, there is a time and a place for forcing someone to go to the hospital or inpatient rehab for depression. If your loved one is a direct risk to themselves or others, or if they are experiencing a mental break or a drug overdose, it may be necessary to have them hospitalized against their choice.

How To Help Someone With Drug Addiction and Depression?

Depression is common among people struggling with alcohol or drug addiction. Substance abuse and addiction can trigger or intensify the feelings of sadness, solitude, and hopelessness often associated with depression. High rates of depression are prevalent among individuals with alcohol use disorders (AUD), particularly alcohol dependence.

Knowing what you can do to aid a friend or family member diagnosed with a dual diagnosis might be tough as to what therapy and support are available.

We’ve included some useful information regarding dual diagnosis, including what it is, its frequency, specialized resources available for treatment and recovery, and practical ideas to help you assist someone you care about.

How To Help Someone With Severe Depression? Learning Drug Abuse & Depression Common Risk Factors

Both mental illnesses, such as depression and substance use disorders, are caused by overlapping causes such as epigenetic and genetic vulnerabilities, issues with similar areas of the brain, and environmental influences, such as early exposure to trauma or stress. Learning how to get help for someone with depression means educating yourself on risk factors that may contribute to both conditions.

Genetic Vulnerability

It is predicted that 40–60 percent of a person’s vulnerability to alcohol and drug use disorders is attributable to genetics. A gene product may act directly in some situations, such as when a protein affects how a person responds to a drug (for example, whether the drug experience is joyful or not) or how long the alcohol or drugs remain in the body. Certain genetic variables predispose an individual to alcoholism and cigarette smoking have been found. Furthermore, research reveals a link between genetic sequences and an increased risk of serious opioid usage, cocaine dependency, and cannabis appetite and withdrawal. This is according to NIDA. [1]

Genes can also operate indirectly by altering how a person responds to stress or by increasing the likelihood of risk-taking behaviors, which could influence the beginning of substance use and the development of drug addiction and other mental disorders.

Epigenetic Influences On Depression And Addiction

Epigenetics is the study of changes in the control of gene activity and expression that are not dependent on gene sequence. These changes affect how genetic information is acted on and read by cells in the body. Environmental variables such as trauma, chronic stress, or drug and alcohol use can produce persistent changes in gene expression, altering brain circuit functioning and subsequently impacting behavior. Studies show that environmental factors combined with genetic vulnerability during particular developmental periods increase the risk for mental illnesses, which include depression and addiction.

Brain Region Involvement

Substance use disorders, as well as other mental diseases such as depression, impact numerous parts of the brain. For example, addictive drugs may influence and disrupt brain circuits that manage decision-making, reward, impulse control, and emotions, resulting in substance use disorders, schizophrenia, depression, and other psychiatric diseases. Moreover, various neurotransmitter systems, including but not limited to serotonin, dopamine, glutamate, GABA, and norepinephrine, have been implicated in drug use disorders and other mental diseases.

Environmental Influences

Multiple environmental factors are linked with an increased risk for substance use disorders and mental illness, including trauma, chronic stress, and adverse childhood experiences. Many of these factors are modifiable. Therefore, prevention interventions often reduce mental illness and addiction, as explained in the Surgeon General’s report on alcohol, drugs, and health. [2]

Trauma And Adverse Childhood Experiences

Emotionally or physically traumatized individuals are at much higher risk for drug use, and the co-occurrence of these conditions is correlated with low therapy outcomes. Individuals with mental disorders like depression and PTSD may use substances to overcome their anxiety and avoid dealing with trauma and its consequences.

Millions of individuals suffer from depression, a serious mental disorder. Depression is the largest cause of disability on the globe. If your depression impairs your capacity to work, you may be eligible for Social Security disability benefits. How to help someone with depression? Learn what to do if you think someone is feeling depressed.
Millions of individuals suffer from depression, a serious mental disorder. Depression is the largest cause of disability on the globe. If your depression impairs your capacity to work, you may be eligible for Social Security disability benefits. How to help someone with depression? Learn what to do if you think someone is feeling depressed.

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Stress and Depression

Stress is a recognized risk factor for various mental illnesses and therefore provides one possible standard neurobiological connection between the disease processes of substance abuse and mental illness. Vulnerability to stressors is also a significant risk factor for relapse to alcohol and drug use after periods of recovery.

Stress responses are processed through the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal (HPA) axis, which can alter brain circuits that regulate motivation. Higher stress levels have been revealed to decrease shifting in the prefrontal cortex and boost responsivity in the striatum, leading to reduced behavioral control and increased impulsivity.

How to help someone with depression? Depression is a treatable condition, and the most effective treatment generally involves a combination of medication and therapy. Encourage your loved one to see a mental health professional who can help them develop a treatment plan.
How to help someone with depression? Depression is a treatable condition, and the most effective treatment generally involves a combination of medication and therapy. Encourage your loved one to see a mental health professional who can help them develop a treatment plan.

Chronic and early life stress can induce long-term changes in the HPA axis, which affects limbic brain circuits involved in learning, motivation, and adaptation and is damaged in individuals with substance use disorders and other mental conditions.

Addiction causes changes to many neurotransmitter systems that are connected in response to stress. These neurobiological changes are thought to carry the link between stress and the rise of drug use and relapse. How to help someone with low self esteem and depression? Treatments that focus on stress reduction, such as mindfulness-based stress reduction, are beneficial for reducing depression, anxiety, and substance use. Treatments that offer skill-building can boost someone’s confidence for long-term recovery.

Dual Diagnosis Facts Sheet

Education on how to help someone with clinical depression and substance use disorder.

What is Dual Diagnosis?

A dual diagnosis occurs when a person has a mental health problem and a problem with alcohol or drugs.

People of all ages and areas of life are affected by mental illness and drug abuse, and dual diagnoses are across-the-board. Approximately half of those suffering from mental illness also have a drug abuse issue and vice versa.

You can support someone you care about experiencing a dual diagnosis in many ways. How to help someone dealing with depression and co-occurring disorders?

  • Learn: Knowing the signs and treatment options for dual diagnosis will help you better understand your loved one and what they are going through.
  • Be Available: You can be a listening ear and a shoulder to cry on for a friend or family member. Let your loved one know you’re there to support them and are willing to participate in their therapy if they want you to.
  • Be Patient: Rehabilitation requires time, dedication, and bravery, and it is a continuing process. Relapse is a possibility and a natural component of the rehabilitation process. People with multiple diagnoses can and do recover.
  • Encourage Help Seeking: Great supports are available for your loved one and you, some of which are outlined below this article.
  • Look After Yourself: Check whether you’re getting the emotional support you require. To take care of others, you must first take care of yourself. Be realistic about caring for others or how much care you can deliver. Caregivers can also access a variety of support groups and hotlines.

Dual Diagnosis Treatment

Individuals who have a dual diagnosis are not a homogeneous population. The signs and symptoms might differ based on the illnesses, severity, and individual treatment requirements.

Mental health and substance abuse services and professionals have improved their mastership of the link between mental health and substance use. They are expanding the availability of specialized services that understand and support the needs of persons with dual diagnosis.

The most effective therapy for dual diagnosis is an integrated strategy in which the same treatment provider or team treats mental health and drug use issues concurrently.

Individual or group counseling, meditation, peer support, and lifestyle modifications may be used to treat a mental condition (e.g. exercise, healthy eating, quality sleep). Substance abuse treatment may involve detox, withdrawal symptoms management, counseling, and behavioral therapy.

How to help someone with depression? Encourage your loved one to talk about their feelings and listen well. Don't judge or criticize, but instead, provide empathy and understanding.
How to help someone with depression? Encourage your loved one to talk about their feelings and listen well. Don’t judge or criticize, but instead, provide empathy and understanding.
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Co-Occurring Substance Abuse and Mental Disorders Statistics

Substance use disorder affects around one-third of those suffering from serious depression. Substance misuse can increase the risk of depression since chemical intoxicants can be used to self-medicate by numbing feelings of distress. How to help with someone with depression? Educate yourself about the symptoms and prevalence of these disorders. Your loved one may be unaware they are depressed or unclear about how to get help. Even if they know that counseling might be beneficial, finding a therapist and scheduling an appointment can be overwhelming.


43%

According to the National Institute on Drugs Abuse (NIDA) [3], research indicates that 43 percent of people in drug abuse rehab treatment for the recreational use of prescription pills have a diagnosis or symptoms of mental health conditions, mainly depression.

Source: NIDA

48.5%

Data from the National Comorbidity Survey estimated the lifetime pervasiveness of major depression to be nearly one-quarter (24.3 %) among alcohol-dependent men and about one-half (48.5%) among alcohol-dependent women, beating the prevalence rates among individuals without AUD.

Source: NCBI

70%

In clinical samples, the lifetime rates of co-occurrence of depression and addiction are still more significant, ranging from 50 to 70%. This bases on research published by the National Center for Biotechnology Information. [2]

Source: NCBI


10 Ways How To Help Someone With Depression That Doesn’t Want Help

Helping someone with depression who doesn’t want help can be a challenging and delicate task, but here are ten ways that may be helpful:

  1. Be there for them: Let them know you care and are available to listen to them. Be present, and don’t judge them or try to force them to do anything they are uncomfortable with.
  2. Show empathy: Try to understand what they are going through and how they feel. Validate their emotions and let them know that you understand their pain.
  3. Be patient: Recovery from depression can be slow, so don’t expect immediate results. Encourage them to take small steps and celebrate their progress.
  4. Educate yourself: Learn as much as possible about depression, its symptoms, and treatments. This can help you better understand what your loved one is going through and how to support them.
  5. Offer practical help: Help with everyday tasks such as grocery shopping, cooking, or cleaning can relieve some of the stress and pressure they may be feeling.
  6. Encourage self-care: Encourage your loved one to care for themselves by getting enough sleep, eating healthy, and engaging in physical activity.
  7. Suggest support groups: There are many support groups for people with depression, and sometimes it can be helpful to talk to others who are going through similar experiences.
  8. Respect their boundaries: Don’t push your loved one to seek help or do anything they are uncomfortable with. Respect their boundaries, and tell them you are there for them if they ever change their mind.
  9. Avoid blame and criticism: Don’t blame or criticize your loved one for their depression. Depression is an illness, and they are not responsible for their condition.
  10. Seek professional help: If you are concerned about your loved one’s safety, seek professional help. A mental health professional can guide how to support someone with depression, and they can also assess if your loved one needs treatment.

How To Help Someone With Depression Over Text?

How to help someone with depression through texts? If your loved one has been diagnosed with depression, offering words of support and encouragement is important. Here are some things you can tell them:

  1. “I’m here for you.” Tell your loved one that you are available to talk, listen, and offer support whenever they need it.
  2. “You’re not alone.” Remind your loved one that depression is a common and treatable illness many people struggle with.
  3. “I care about you.” Express your love and concern for your loved one, and tell them you are committed to helping them get through this.
  4. “It’s okay not to be okay.” It’s okay to feel depressed or overwhelmed, and you will support them no matter what.
  5. “Have you considered talking to a professional?” Encourage your loved one to seek help from a mental health professional, like a mental health therapist or counselor. Offer to help them find someone if they need it.
  6. “What can I do to help?” Ask your loved one if there is anything specific you can do to support them, whether it’s helping with chores or errands, offering a listening ear, or simply spending time together.
  7. “You are important to me.” Remind your loved one of their value and worth, and tell them how much they mean to you.
  8. “Let’s take it one day at a time.” How to help someone with depression? Encourage your loved one to focus on the present moment and to take things one step at a time. Remind them that recovery is a process and that progress can be made one day at a time.

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Learning The Signs of Depression

Everyone experiences sadness from time to time. Major depression (or clinical depression) is, on the other hand, a diagnosable disorder characterized by a low or depressed mood for the majority of the day, almost every day, for at least two weeks. Knowing how to treat someone with drug addiction and depression entails understanding the warning indicators that might lead to depression and drug addiction. Symptoms of major depression include the following:

  • Feelings of hopelessness
  •  Persistent emptiness or feelings of sadness
  •  Irritability and anger
  •  Feelings of helplessness, guilt, and worthlessness
  •  Lack of interest and enjoyment in usual hobbies and activities
  •  Lowered energy
  •  Insomnia or hypersomnia (sleeping more than usual)
  •  Trouble concentrating and paying attention
  •  Restlessness or difficulty sitting still
  •  Major decrease or increase in appetite and, or weight changes
  •  Increased body pains, aches, or soreness without an apparent medical reason
  •  Substance abuse refers to the problematic misuse of drugs despite problematic financial , interpersonal, or medical outcomes

Signs Of Drug Abuse

Addiction is, by definition, progressive, which means that symptoms frequently increase until the substance user seeks assistance. Depression can increase the risk of chronic illness, including the disease of substance abuse. These chemical intoxicants, such as drugs and alcohol, can become a form of self-medication for relieving the feelings of hopelessness, low self-worth, and despair that define this mental health condition.

How to help someone with depression? And how to help someone with anxiety and depression? Depression and anxiety can be long-term, and recovery can take time. Encourage your loved one to focus on progress rather than perfection and to be kind to themselves.
How to help someone with depression? And how to help someone with anxiety and depression? Depression and anxiety can be long-term, and recovery can take time. Encourage your loved one to focus on progress rather than perfection and to be kind to themselves.

When individuals are suffering from addiction, they may show or experience at least a few of the following symptoms, signs, and behaviors:

  • Taking more significant amounts of drugs or alcohol than intended
  •  Having the urge to stop or reduce the use of drugs but being unable to do so
  •  Spending excessive energy and time attempting to get the substance, use it, and recover from its effects
  •  Feeling intense desire and cravings to use the drugs
  •  Continuing to take the drugs despite adverse consequences, such as school, work, or family problems
  •  Repetitive fights with loved ones about substance use
  •  Taking risks to get the substance (such as stealing, lying, criminal behavior)
  •  Displaying secretive behavior and going out of one’s way to use the substance
  •  Using alcohol or drugs in dangerous situations (such as drinking and driving)
  •  Developing tolerance (requiring more to achieve the desired effect)
  •  Undergoing withdrawal symptoms when stopping the drugs

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How To Help Someone With Depression and Co-Occurring Disorders?

Learning how to help someone with drug addiction and depression means finding the right approach and treatment for a new level of recovery. Treatment for a dual diagnosis of drug addiction and depression usually attempts to treat both conditions simultaneously. Without treating the depression that causes drug dependency, or vice versa, the individual risks returning to their addictive habits or experiencing a repeat of depressive symptoms.

Dual Diagnosis as an Integral Part of Drug Addiction and Depression Treatment

 An integrated model of treatment is used to address both depression and drug addiction at the same time. The person may see the same clinician for both treatments rather than seeing two separate professionals. This program addresses the complexity of comorbid symptoms since some may overlap. Moreover, the person can manage emotions and triggers linked with their addiction, which can help maintain and foster recovery.

Treatment typically involves a combination of therapy and medications. Antidepressants may be recommended to assist in regulating mood, and medicines that aid in substance withdrawal may be taken as needed. At the backbone of treatment are individual counseling and group therapy to give a solid foundation for addressing the problems related to both disorders.

Dual Diagnosis on How To Help Someone With Drug Addiction and Depression

The exact definition of dual diagnosis (also referred to as co-occurring disorders) can differ between institutions. However, it is generally defined as simultaneously treating someone diagnosed with addiction and mental illness. There is no distinction of whether the mental condition led to substance abuse or vice versa. Addiction treatment professionals understand that mental health and substance abuse have a complex relationship that is difficult to extricate from one another. Standard therapeutic approaches include cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT), cognitive processing therapy (CPT), and prolonged exposure therapy (PET).

Find The Right Treatment Plan At We Level Up Florida

We Level Up Florida offers primary mental health treatment with secondary co-occurring diagnosis treatment. We can treat all mental health disorders, from immediate depression treatment to secondary co-occurring substance abuse disorders. Drug addiction and depression are co-occurring disorders requiring both to be treated for long-term recovery success. Talk to us, and learn more about the dual diagnostic approach to depression and addiction treatment. Contact our We Level Up Florida team today for a free mental health assessment as a first step to getting help!

How to help someone with depression and anxiety? Remember, if your loved one is experiencing severe or life-threatening symptoms, encourage them to seek immediate medical attention or contact a mental health crisis line.
How to help someone with depression and anxiety? Remember, if your loved one is experiencing severe or life-threatening symptoms, encourage them to seek immediate medical attention or contact a mental health crisis line.

Top 5 How To Help Someone with Depression? FAQs

  1. How to help someone with postpartum depression?

    Postpartum depression can make even the most straightforward tasks feel overwhelming. Offer to help your loved one with household chores, errands, or other tasks to reduce stress. Supporting someone with post-partum depression can be emotionally draining. Remember to take care of yourself and seek support when needed.

  2. How to help someone with seasonal depression?

    Physical activity can help reduce symptoms of seasonal depression. Encourage your loved one to participate in activities they enjoy, even if it’s just a short walk or a hobby they find fulfilling.

  3. How to help someone with bipolar depression and anxiety?

    Bipolar disorder and anxiety are medical conditions that require professional treatment. Encourage the person to seek help from a mental health professional who can provide an accurate diagnosis and appropriate treatment.

  4. How to help someone with major depressive disorder?

    Someone with a major depressive disorder needs proper treatment from a mental health professional. Encourage them to seek help from a therapist, psychiatrist, or other mental health professional. Offer to help them make an appointment or go to their first appointment. Supporting someone with major depressive disorder can be emotionally draining. Remember to take care of yourself and seek support when needed.

  5. How to help someone with anger issues and depression?

    How to help.someone with depression? It’s important to note that everyone’s experience with depression and anger issues differs, and what works for one person may not work for another. Encourage the person to communicate their needs and preferences to you, and be willing to adjust your approach as needed. Get professional help for the best results and long-term goals.

Clinical Depression Signs & Symptoms Video

We Level Up encourages you or a loved one to feel empowered. To take part in improving, learning, and sharing what works for you and others. There are many resources available to help you better manage your mental health. Your first step should be to reach out to your physician or a mental health professional for a thorough evaluation.

How to help someone with depression? You may want to consider joining a support group, such as a 12-step program, or an online support community to help you connect with others who are facing similar challenges. In addition, there are many self-help techniques available, such as mindfulness and relaxation techniques, and cognitive-behavioral therapy. Support and understanding from your friends and family can also be tremendously beneficial in helping you manage your depression.

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Sources

[1] Common Comorbidities with Substance Use Disorders Research Report Part 1: The Connection Between Substance Use Disorders and Mental Illness – National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA)

[2] Conner KR, Pinquart M, Gamble SA. Meta-analysis of depression and substance use among individuals with alcohol use disorders. J Subst Abuse Treat. 2009 Sep;37(2):127-37. DOI: 10.1016/j.jsat.2008.11.007. Epub 2009 Jan 15. PMID: 19150207; PMCID: PMC4864601.

[3] FACING ADDICTION IN AMERICA: The Surgeon General’s Report on Alcohol, Drugs, and Health – U.S. Department of Health & Human Services

[4] Drug Addiction and DepressionWe Level Up Treatment Center

[5]  Products – Data Briefs – Number 379 – September 2020 (cdc.gov) Depression – National Institute of Mental Health

[6] Coping with Stress – Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

[7] Depression Treatment » Drug Alcohol Addiction Rehab

[8] Bains N, Abdijadid S. Major Depressive Disorder. [Updated 2022 Jun 1]. In: StatPearls [Internet]. Treasure Island (FL): StatPearls Publishing; 2022 Jan-. Available from: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK559078/

[9] Chand SP, Arif H. Depression. [Updated 2022 Jul 18]. In: StatPearls [Internet]. Treasure Island (FL): StatPearls Publishing; 2022 Jan-. Available from: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK430847/

[10] Woody G. The Challenge of Dual Diagnosis. Alcohol Health Res World. 1996;20(2):76-80. PMID: 31798155; PMCID: PMC6876494.

Rössler W. Psychiatric rehabilitation today: an overview. World Psychiatry. 2006 Oct;5(3):151-7. PMID: 17139342; PMCID: PMC1636112.