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How Untreated Depression Can Lead to Alcoholism

Depression or a depressive disorder that impacts a teenager or child raises concerns about the risks he or she will face. The Anxiety and Depression Association of America, or ADAA, estimates that individuals with depression are two to three times more likely to abuse alcohol or other substances than the general population. When left untreated, depression can lead to alcoholism and an adolescent alcohol addiction treatment program may become necessary. The ADAA suggests that around 20% of individuals with a mental health condition like depression or anxiety also abuse alcohol. If a teenager or child in your family is showing signs of alcohol abuse or depression, then recognizing the signs and seeking professional treatment is essential for his or her recovery.

Depression in Teens

According to the National Institute on Mental Health, around 11% of adolescents and teenagers are diagnosed with depression by age 18. Although girls are more likely to experience depression when compared to boys, any teenager or child has a risk of developing a depressive disorder. Adolescence is a difficult time. Not only are there social and cultural hurdles facing young people as they move into adulthood, but there are also major hormonal changes they must deal with. Thus, the likelihood a teen will develop a mental health condition like depression or anxiety increases. However, many teens lack the insight or the language to articulate what they are experiencing. Often, parents are too quick to judge or assume a cause for a teen’s behavior. The result is confusion and a worsening of the condition.

Recognizing the Signs of Depression

The challenge with children or teenagers is recognizing the signs of depression. According to the National Institute on Mental Health, children and teenagers do not exhibit the same symptoms as adults. Signs of depression in young children include:

  • Clinging to parents
  • Worrying about parents, older siblings or a caregiver
  • Refusing to attend school
  • Complaining about feeling sick, even if he or she does not have any symptoms of a sickness

Older children and teenagers will exhibit behavior that differs from younger individuals. The symptoms of depression in a teenager include:

  • Sulky or grouchy behavior
  • A pessimistic or negative attitude
  • Stating that parents or adults do not understand them
  • Poor grades in school

How Untreated Depression Can Leads to Alcoholism

When a loved one shows signs of depression, the risk of alcohol abuse increases. WebMD states that almost 1/3 of individuals with a major depressive disorder abuse alcohol. Although the alcohol abuse occurs first in some individuals, WebMD suggests that the depressive disorder occurs first in many cases. Thus, it’s not unreasonable to conclude that untreated depression can lead to alcoholism. Psych Central states that co-occurring disorders often occur after a depressive disorder develops because individuals self-medicate. Self-medicating occurs when an individual uses drugs or alcohol to reduce the symptoms of a mental health disorder. Depression causes feelings of sadness, loneliness, hopelessness, and other similar emotions. However, the “relief” provided by drugs and alcohol is only temporary.

Dual Diagnosis Treatment at Destinations for Teens

At Destinations for Teens, we offer an adolescent dual-diagnosis treatment program. Dual diagnosis treatment involves treating addiction and mental health conditions simultaneously. It is important to address both disorders since one condition can trigger the other. We offer several teen substance abuse treatment programs in addition to alcohol addiction treatment, including:

Destinations for Teens offers several levels of care, from residential addiction treatment for teens to outpatient treatment. To learn more about how depression can lead to alcoholism or to schedule a tour at one of our teen treatment centers, contact Destinations for Teens today at 877.466.0620.   References: