Physiological and psychiatric disorders put the Dual in our Dual Diagnosis and addiction treatment. For 22 years we’ve treated substance abuse in conjunction with mental health issues such as bipolar disorder, anxiety, trauma and of course, depression of the most debilitating kind. And it is from the perspective of this work that I write on this topic today.
I feel it is tragic that anti-depressant drugs like Zoloft and Paxil have become so prevalent in treating depression because while research has shown that medication can be helpful in treating clinical depression, a pill does not remedy the depression it simply masks the symptoms of it.
The experience of sadness is part of the human condition and the human condition cannot be medicated away.
When a pill is the only treatment offered for despair, this is, in effect, consigning the patient to a life of artificial chemical happiness and ignorance about his or her own authentic life condition.
Which is not to say that pills don’t have their place.
Often a short course of this class of drugs is combined with talk therapy. The pills can serve to lighten the symptoms of depression so that the patient can then do the deeper work with their therapist to uncover the root cause of the problem and thus their addiction.
But simply masking the depression with medication and never exploring what lead to the depression in the first place, dooms the patient to recurring bouts of depression and amplified addictive behavior.
The blessing and the curse of the human condition is that what ails us will continue to present itself until we resolve it – until we heal it.