Depression, Dementia, and Addiction

Depression, Dementia, and AddictionBoth depression and dementia are two of the most common illnesses amongst the elderly population, as they can both be caused either by negative life experiences, side effects of other medications, and more. It is not uncommon for an elderly individual to have both depression and dementia, as both disorders often feed into one another. As the symptoms of these illnesses begin running rampant, many elderly individuals search for immediate relief, which often times comes from abusing drugs and/or alcohol.

Symptoms and Similarities of Depression and Dementia

Symptoms of both of these disorders can be very similar to one another, making it complicated to get an accurate diagnosis at times. Being able to identify the symptoms of each specific disorder can sometimes help prevent the development of an addiction in an elderly individual, especially as it helps provide the individual with the proper care they need to start feeling better. Some of the dueling symptoms of depression and dementia include the following:

  • Mental decline – In patients with depression, they quickly decline psychologically, while patients with dementia decline over a longer period of time.
  • Memory problems – A patient with depression will have difficulty maintaining his concentration, while a patient with dementia will not be able to remember events in the short-term.
  • Speech patterns – Depression will cause a patient to talk at a slower pace, while dementia will cause a patient to become impaired in both his speaking and his writing

These similar symptoms can make it complex for an individual to get a proper diagnosis, making it very easy for an individual to start abusing drugs and/or alcohol to help negate the effects of his symptoms.

How Do Depression and Dementia Cause Addiction?

Depression and dementia are both seriously interruptive disorders that can change the course of an individual’s every day life. Some of the many ways in which depression and dementia can lead to addiction include the following:

  • Desiring satisfaction – Both depression and dementia can cause an individual to feel inadequate and unhappy. Not only do their social lives begin declining, but they might also lose interest in everyday events. As a result, he might start using substances to drown out his perceived inability to achieve happiness on his own.
  • Attempting to stay alert – In order to stay alert, individuals struggling with either one of these disorders might start abusing drugs such as stimulants that help them stay alert. They might also feel that these drugs can help them remember things as well as keep them moving at a fast pace.

In addition to trying to obtain happiness and stay alert, individuals who are battling both illnesses might also begin using substances as a result of low self-esteem caused by the disorders and/or as a method of self-medicating the loneliness that they are experiencing from their illnesses.

Treatment for Dementia, Depression and Addiction

Dual Diagnosis treatment is often the very best and most effective form of treatment for individuals struggling with these types of interconnected issues. This type of treatment will help address all issues simultaneously. While depression itself is highly treatable, dementia does not have the same success rate. However, by treating depression and addiction that is acting co-morbidly with dementia, the dementia itself can become more manageable, which will in turn lead to a successful and sober recovery.

Do You Need Help for Comorbid Issues?

Call our toll-free, 24 hour helpline for real help and information about addiction and mental health treatment. Do not waste one more day living with any one of these issues.