Substance Addiction & Depression

By Kristina Randle, Ph.D., LCSW

Have you ever had a client that was not able to beat his drug addiction before and if so were you able to help him or did he just run away and you never saw him again. I tried several residential centers but I keep running away because if I didn’t, I was going to do something stupid like hurt myself or call police to take me to hospital because the anxiety and depression was just too much for me to tolerate. I’ve come to the fact that the only way that I can quit is either I die, or get locked up in jail, or locked up in a mental hospital, and none of those options are not any ones that I want. My drug of choice is the stimulant methamphetamine. I used it during college to get my degree and to study and focus on my classes. I got the degree but I also got stuck with the addiction so right now the degree is not worth the addiction and I would rather not have the degree than have the addiction if I could go back in time but there was no way for me to get my degree without the help of meth. I’m hopeless and that’s causing me anxiety and giving me depression. It’s over for me huh?

A. It’s not “over” for you. A more accurate characterization might be that it’s challenging for you. In fact, quitting methamphetamine might be one of the more difficult challenges that you will face. Yes, you can succeed. Many other people have done it and so can you. If you’re still willing to try, then there’s hope.

Based on what you’ve written, you make it to the rehabilitation center but leave because of your anxiety and depression. You have to make an effort to endure your anxiety and depression. At first, it may feel overwhelming, but it won’t stay that way. It seems counterintuitive but try to force yourself to stay and endure the unpleasant feelings. Those levels cannot be sustained. They will eventually dissipate.

Some of the most successful psychological treatments are based on the idea that high levels of anxiety will eventually dissipate. For instance, systematic desensitization is a process of gradual exposure to a fear-producing stimulus. A person is purposefully exposed to the object of their fears. Upon their exposure, their anxiety increases significantly. Their inclination is to flee but for the therapy to be successful, they must “sit with” their anxiety until it’s gone. This exercise helps them to overcome their fears and see that their anxiety will eventually go away.

Fighting an addiction can be quite challenging. For many people, it takes many attempts before they are able to successfully quit using drugs. It may be difficult but it’s not impossible. Many people are able to successfully overcome their addiction and rebuild their lives.

The fact that you want help and are open to treatment are important factors in overcoming addiction. My recommendation is to try rehabilitation again and don’t stop until you find success. I wish you well. Please take care.

Dr. Kristina Randle

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Last reviewed: By John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on 17 May 2014

APA Reference
Randle, K. (2014). Substance Addiction & Depression. Psych Central. Retrieved on November 27, 2014, from http://psychcentral.com/ask-the-therapist/2014/05/17/substance-addiction-depression/