Overlooking Addiction – Diagnosing Depression
Within today’s society, physicians working in family practices, walk-in clinics, health clinics, etc. are the majority that are prescribing mood medications. Unfortunately, the average physician in most clinics is turning outpatients every 15 to 20 minutes. No thorough evaluation or exam could possibly be done in that short amount of time. Evaluating and determining if the person is suffering from depression or mental health issues, or addiction takes more time.
Why Some Doctors Overlook Addiction
The typical person struggling with a substance abuse disorder at one point during their addiction will be placed on mood medication. Which is often in the beginning stages of the addiction. For example, the heavy drinker and weekend cocaine user is having trouble sleeping and feels depressed (typical symptoms of drug use). Instead of looking at lifestyle habits, the quick fix would be an anti-depressant or sleeping medication. Unfortunately, most prescribing physicians; but not all, do not spend enough time with the patient to get the big picture. Someone who is on the road to addiction or is addicted is often prescribed drugs such as anti-depressants, because the symptoms caused by their addiction, coincide with depression. Unfortunately, it is not uncommon for doctors to prescribe these drugs when someone is struggling with an addiction.
Diagnosing Depression not Addiction
A common example of this is the family who has a loved one who is an addict, and this is no secret, the family knows it. As the addiction progresses, depression begins to set in, and the family witnesses this. The immediate response is to have the person diagnosed and possibly placed on anti-depressants, and go along the route of a dual diagnosis. It is always essential to seek out the proper help when addiction becomes worse. But it is also important to understand the effects of cocaine, heroin, crystal meth, opioids, or even legal drugs like alcohol will bring about depression. The short-term or long-term abuse of drugs and alcohol will cause bouts of depression and anxiety. Mood medications mixed with other drugs and alcohol increases the risk for an overdose.
Not knowing there is an Addiction
Unfortunately, the average physician at any walk-in clinic will not know the patient or spend the time needed, or some doctors are simply not looking at the addiction and only seeing this as depression, which requires anti-depressants. The first step when any substance abuse problem is present is to treat the addiction. Whether this is with detox, addiction counseling, inpatient treatment program, or an outpatient rehab center. If a family feels their loved one is battling an addiction, speak to the experts in the field, get an addiction assessment done, and focus on treating the substance abuse problem. Drug and alcohol abuse will cause depression, and anti-depressants mixed with drugs and alcohol will simply compound the problems, potentially leading to severe mental health issues.
Addiction Referral and Consultation Services
If your loved one is depressed and you know that he or she is using drugs, call one of our experts. We can help you determine what is happening with that person you care about.