Evidence Based Treatment For Depression And Alcoholism

The Importance of Evidence Based Treatment for Alcoholism and Depression.

Addiction is classified as a mental disorder because of the influence drugs and alcohol can have on brain chemistry. When a brain disorder such as addiction occurs with another mental disorder, the cycle between the two can be devastating. Co-existing mental health disorders of this nature require a complex method of treatment in order to achieve the desired results and allow a person to live a fulfilling life. The treatment of co-existing mental health disorders is known as a dual diagnosis and is offered by many leading treatment centers for substance abuse and addiction. White Sands evaluates each patient before developing their recovery program to ensure they receive personalized care that addresses their needs. The evaluation also includes screening for mental health and co-existing disorders to determine if a dual diagnosis treatment is needed.

Often patients suffer from anxiety, depression, and PTSD however, they are often unaware or unsure whether they suffered from these conditions prior to their addiction or if their addiction triggered them. Unfortunately, when patients visit unqualified treatment centers they don’t always get the proper care and co-existing disorders can go untreated. Likewise, patients who don’t seek treatment at all and suffer from alcoholism and depression for example, are at higher risk of chronic impairment due to one condition persistently encouraging the other which could eventually lead to serious harm.

Co-existing mental health disorders: what are they?

If a person has a mental dysfunction such as bipolar or clinical depression among others, and they are abusing substances, then they have co-existing mental health disorders. In many cases, the development of the addiction happened after the other mental disorder was present. A common reason for this is due to the difficulty in dealing with their mental illness and turning to substance abuse as a means of dealing with their symptoms. This is a highly ineffective way of dealing with their symptoms as it is a short-term solution to a problem that requires a long-term solution. In other situations, the abuse of the drug may cause a person to suffer from disorders such as depression or unlock conditions that a person was prone to, such as schizophrenia in cannabis users.

Effective treatments exist for co-existing disorders and specialized treatment plans have been developed based on the drug of abuse or dependence and the co-existing mental health condition. For alcoholism patients, who suffer from depression it can be hard to detect depressive symptoms due to the fact that alcohol itself is a depressant. However, during withdrawal and in remission depressive symptoms can be detected. According to a paper published by J Clin Psychiatry, “untreated alcoholism intensifies depressive states, decreases responsiveness to conventional therapeutics, and increases the likelihood of suicide, suicide attempts, and other self-destructive behavior.”

Treatment Of Alcoholism and Depression

Alcohol dependence has its own set of treatment requirements, as does depression making treatment difficult and requiring a multifaceted approach. White Sands strives to provide the most proven effective methods of dual diagnosis treatment and addiction recovery. We utilize both traditional therapies as well as medically assisted treatments and aim to find those that work best for each individual patient.  According to Maurice Dongier, a doctor and lead researcher of addiction treatment, the current most effective dual diagnosis treatments include combinations of traditional and pharmacologic therapy.

Several modes of pharmacologic treatment are available:

  • – Naltrexone, a mu receptor antagonist, reduces craving by attenuating the rewarding effects of alcohol. Its results are somewhat inconsistent.
  • – Acamprosate (recently approved by the US Food and Drug Administration) blocks negative craving due to abstinence. Beneficial effects in preventing relapse have been consistent in many large studies.
  • – Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors are more effective for the depressive component than for alcohol consumption. They seem to improve outcome by treating the underlying depression rather than by changing drinking behavior per se.


If you or a loved one needs help with abuse and/or treatment, please call the WhiteSands Treatment at (877) 855-3470. Our addiction specialists can assess your recovery needs and help you get the addiction treatment that provides the best chance for your long-term recovery.

About the Author

is a proud alumni member of WhiteSands Treatment. After living a life of chaos, destruction and constant let downs, Mark was able to make a complete turnaround that sparked a new way of life. He is serious about his recovery along with helping others. At WhiteSands Treatment, we offer support to you in your homes or when you are out living in your daily lives.