Menu Close

Rehab Blog

Providing Trusted, Evidence-Based
Treatment for Three Decades and Counting

If you or a loved one is experiencing addiction, we’re here to help.

Treating Alcoholism and Depression

a woman sits across from her therapist explaining her experience with alcoholism and depression

Alcoholism and depression are two of the most common co-occurring conditions in the United States. Treating both these conditions together is essential to ensure long-term success. If your loved one is struggling with alcoholism and depression at the same time, you are not alone. Millions of other Americans are living with the same problem, and millions of Americans successfully seek treatment daily. Treating both conditions in one location through specialized treatment for co-occurring conditions is possible.

At Michael’s House, we offer alcohol addiction treatment tailored to the unique needs of those dealing with alcoholism and depression. We can also work with families to create a supportive environment for recovery so that loved ones can provide encouragement and help while their family member is in treatment. Do not hesitate to call us today at 760.548.4032 for help and support through recovery.

What Is Alcohol Addiction and Its Signs?

Alcohol addiction is a mental health condition characterized by compulsive alcohol consumption and a strong desire to drink, even when it is causing negative consequences. It is important to recognize that alcohol addiction is a medical condition that requires professional treatment. Alcohol addiction can also lead to physical health complications, such as liver cirrhosis and high blood pressure.

Family members and concerned friends can look for the following symptoms to identify alcoholism in a loved one:

  • Physical withdrawal symptoms when the person is without alcohol
  • Heightened agitation when unable to drink for any reason
  • Blackout periods while drinking where the person does not remember actions or behaviors that are often erratic, illegal, or violent
  • Violent behavior while drinking
  • Calling in sick to work or missing school because of drinking
  • Ignoring basic needs like hygiene, proper nutrition, general household cleanliness, and health care
  • Lying about or becoming defensive when asked about alcohol intake

By better understanding the signs of alcohol addiction, family members can take the necessary steps to receive addiction treatment.

Depression Signs and Symptoms

People who are experiencing depression may find it difficult to explain how they are feeling to outsiders. Selecting the right words to paint the picture of depression is challenging. To make matters worse, many people often report that the condition places a sort of film over their eyes, changing the entire way that they view the world and the people around them. This new view leads them to see things in a more negative light and can cause them to feel like they are drowning with no way out.

People who are struggling with depression may look like everybody else. They hold down jobs and are present in relationships. They show up on time to work and laugh and are willing participants, but the whole time, they may feel like they are living underwater. They may not answer the phone, read the paper, play sports, or participate in any sort of pleasurable activity. Just getting through the day is exhausting.

Because of these feelings, people with depression may:

  • Seem distracted or unable to concentrate
  • Sleep more or less than usual
  • Refuse to do the activities that once brought them pleasure
  • Gain or lose weight
  • Express feelings of hopelessness
  • Seems sluggish and slow, mentally and physically
  • Withdraw from friends and family
  • Have thoughts of suicide or self-harm

If you notice any signs of depression in yourself or a loved one, seeking professional help is the first step to recovery.

Treating Alcoholism and Depression

The treatment for co-occurring alcoholism and depression is typically an integration of both medical and psychological approaches. This dual approach is critical because the two conditions are intrinsically connected. The symptoms of one often exacerbate the signs of the other.

Cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) and motivational interviewing (MI) can be highly effective at altering harmful patterns of thought and behavior. At the same time, medications like antidepressants can help to balance brain chemistry.

In addition, lifestyle changes, including regular exercise, a balanced diet, and adequate sleep, can also contribute significantly to recovery. It is crucial, however, to understand that the journey toward healing is different for everyone. It requires patience, support, and professional guidance. With a suitable approach to treatment and commitment, it is possible to manage both conditions and successfully live a fulfilling life.

Understanding Alcoholism and Depression Treatment

People who live with both alcoholism and depression can often experience more intense symptoms than people who only experience one of these conditions. For example, the physical issues that alcohol use disorder causes may be amplified by depression. Similarly, the mental health symptoms caused by depression may increase the cravings for alcohol or make it more stressful to go without a drink.

For this reason, an alcohol addiction treatment program that pays little or no attention to mental health treatment may not be an effective solution for those who suffer from both a depressive disorder and alcohol use disorder. Simply removing the alcohol is not enough. Integrated care that provides equal treatment for both addiction and depression is necessary.

Personalized Treatment for Co-Occurring Conditions

Because each person is different, individual treatment plans are often necessary. Each person will exhibit different symptoms, have different experiences while dealing with both conditions and have different goals for the future in terms of their personal definition of “wellness” and “balance.”

Effective treatment should be characterized by:

Personal Therapy

Personalized one-on-one care, regular check-ins, and addressing underlying concerns like abuse, trauma, and mental health issues are crucial for effective treatment.

Group Therapy

Peer support is crucial in treating addiction and depression. It fosters healthy friendships with like-minded individuals, providing support and empathy.


In some cases, pharmacological assistance may be warranted for the treatment of alcohol cravings, withdrawal symptoms, or depression. Residential care is most effective at providing the patient with effective evaluation and monitoring that can stabilize the patient’s symptoms more quickly through correct medication choices, combinations, and doses.

Holistic Healing

Several different alternative and evidence-based treatments can augment a patient’s ability to rebuild their sense of self-worth, explore feelings and experiences that are difficult to articulate, and move toward physical, mental, and spiritual wellness. Yoga, meditation, gentle exercise, and alternative therapies like animal-assisted therapy, psychodrama, and cinema therapy are just a few options.

Aftercare Services

Residential care is vital for recovery, but aftercare support is crucial. Aftercare treatment assists individuals in their transition to a healthy life outside of the facility. Support groups, sober living housing, and follow-up care can make all the difference regarding long-term success and sustainability.

Call Michael’s House for Help with Healing and Recovery

If you or a loved one is grappling with the dual diagnosis of alcoholism and depression, Michael’s House is here to help.

We understand the unique challenges co-occurring conditions pose and tailor our treatment programs to address these issues. From personalized therapy to aftercare services, our comprehensive approach is designed to provide the tools necessary for long-term recovery. Do not let these conditions control your life or the life of your loved one. Contact us at 760.548.4032 today and take the first step toward a more promising future.