Depression can consume a life. It depletes your mental, emotional and physical energy; fills you with painful thoughts and feelings, and appears so inescapable at times that you wonder if life is even worth living. Depression can last for years or decades with seemingly no hope of change.
Depression is often attributed to a chemical imbalance in the brain. Those living with chronic depression may agree because they have tried to break out of the downward spiral and despite their best efforts have continued to struggle with bouts throughout the years. While there is scientific evidence that this is not always the case, there are ways to change the brain and recover.
While medication can be helpful as a short- term intervention, it has unfortunately become a lifestyle for many. It is now estimated for example, that one in 10 Americans take an anti-depressant. If you have heard the phrase “you will be on medication for the rest of your life”, you are certainly not alone. The problem, however, is that all medication has side effects and one must weigh the costs vs. the benefits of any medication taken. Also, the chronic use of medication for depression suggests that there is something wrong with the brain and the brain cannot come into balance on its own. Medication alone does not resolve the underlying causes of depression for everyone.
Depression and addiction are strongly linked. They are common co-occurring conditions and many people have struggled for years with both. Each condition contributes to the severity of the other and when one is untreated, or only partially resolved, it can trigger a relapse of the other. Recent research tells us that the relationship between depression and addiction occurs on many levels. Some of these links include:
- Depressed people are at high risk for using substances
- Addicted people are at high risk for depression
- Stress, especially chronic stress, appears to trigger both
- The same specific brain functions become deficient in both conditions (memory, concentration, learning, mood regulation)
- Depression and addiction decrease the brain’s natural ability to grow new cells (neurogenesis) needed for healthy functioning
- Specific alterations in the brain’s structure are found in both addiction and depression (decreased size of the hippocampus responsible for stress2 and mood regulation,3 learning and memory; poor nerve cell growth and functioning) 4, 5
- People who abuse alcohol are twice as likely to develop depression as those who do not.
- Marijuana users are four times more likely to develop depression than non-users.
- The longer opiates are used, the greater the occurrence of depression, with risk starting early in use and escalating quickly.
Stimulants such as cocaine and methamphetamine have well known depressive effects between periods of use and in early abstinence because they deplete the brain’s natural mood elevating chemistry.
Our Integrative Addiction Recoverysm makes use of new research in neuroplasticity, or the ability of the brain to change. New nerve cell growth, neural connections and neurological functioning can be strengthened to reverse the effects of depression and addiction. A holistic recovery plan that includes an array of methods such as nutrition, exercise, medication, counseling, meditation and body work facilitate this healing.
Our Solution: Full, Sustainable Recovery
The Sanctuary’s Integrative Addiction Recoverysm program offers you a non 12 Step, holistic recovery program that addresses addiction and depression simultaneously. We work with you to heal the underlying causes of both conditions to improve the quality of your life through a full and sustainable recovery. We provide:
- A Strong Clinical Component — our staff to client ratio is 1:1—virtually unheard of in addiction recovery. This gives you highly individualized care with far more clinical contact hours than the majority of addiction recovery centers provide. Additionally, individual sessions account for about 90% of your sessions and you will see two therapists per day.
- Our Small Size – we work with no more than 7 clients at a time. This allows us to give you intensive and individualized attention in a highly private setting. It also evokes feelings of trust and connection to the staff and other clients, giving you the support and psychological safety you need to be successful.
- Integrated, Holistic Approach – we have assembled a team of highly skilled practitioners who are well respected in their fields. They have expertise in many disciplines including nutrition, bodywork, acupuncture, herbalism, Energy Medicine, Functional Medicine, psychology and psychiatry. They work together to understand you and your needs holistically. They establish an ever-evolving treatment plan that is modified each and every day as you progress and your needs change.
- Finding the Core Issues — we help you identify and address the underlying root causes of your alcohol addiction. These may be unresolved trauma, depression, anxiety, anger, codependency or feelings of emptiness, betrayal or abandonment, for example. We believe that addiction is not the ‘chronic, incurable and relapsing disease’ that traditional recovery models have believed in. We also believe that addiction can be cured and that you can be fully recovered when the root causes of your addiction are healed.
- A Sustainable Recovery — as you go through our program, you learn techniques and skills that become a way of life so that you can sustain a full recovery. Relapse is no longer an issue when you heal at the deep level of root causes; you won’t need drugs to feel better anymore. You experience a fundamental shift in the neural pathways of the brain that brings about deep and sustainable transformation. You become empowered, enlivened and free of your addiction—feeling connected to others and the world again. With this fundamental and healing shift, passion, a sense of purpose and meaning return. Employing the practices you learn with us, you can continue a full and sustainable recovery.
If you would like to talk with us more about our program or our methods, please contact us.