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The Link Between Depression and Relapse

The Link Between Depression and Relapse

Many people who struggle with addiction or alcoholism also have issues with mental illnesses such as depression.

When an individual has a substance abuse disorder and a mental illness, they’re dealing with a co-occurring or dual diagnosis disorder. While getting treatment for dual diagnosis can help treat these disorders, new symptoms of depression may increase the risk of relapse after completing treatment.

Depression and Relapse Prevention

There are many mechanisms believed to cause depression, and a lack of serotonin in the brain is linked to depression. [1] Addiction affects serotonin levels in the brain, virtually depleting serotonin during detox and worsening symptoms of depression. While serotonin drops during detox can be treated during PHP drug treatment, what about when these fluctuate after a patient has completed the treatment program?

After completing treatment, symptoms of a co-occurring disorder may still be present, especially when triggers of relapse are present. When serotonin levels are depleted and symptoms of depression are present, such as anxiety, hopelessness, and excessive crying, former addicts may feel that the only way to overcome these symptoms and beat their depression is to use again. This is one of the strongest and most dangerous ways that depression is connected to relapse.

Avoiding Recurrence of Depression or Addiction

The key to relapse prevention is to understand the symptoms of relapse in relation to depression. If you are feeling blue or experiencing cravings, it’s important to reach out for help. Depression symptoms have been identified as the biggest trigger in alcohol relapse, so recognizing signs of depression and getting help can be vital in relapse prevention. [2]

Call our Banyan Detox Stuart team at 888-280-4763 for more tips on preventing relapse and treating depression.

Signs of Depression That Can Lead to Relapse

Self-assessments can help you keep track of potential relapse triggers so you can avoid the situation altogether. If you see signs of depression or relapse in yourself, reaching out for help is the best way to ensure you’ll stay sober, happy, and healthy. Potential signs of depression include:

  • Changes in sleeping patterns
  • Changes in eating patterns
  • Low energy or motivation
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Suicidal thoughts

Many symptoms of oncoming relapse are similar to those of depression. Symptoms of oncoming relapse include:

  • Increased stress
  • Mood swings
  • Thinking of past drug use fondly
  • Behavioral changes
  • Changes in sleep or eating patterns

If you see signs of depression or relapse within yourself or a loved one, help is out there. Call our Banyan Detox Stuart team today at 888-280-4763 to learn how we can help.


  1. The Lancet – Relapse of depression after rapid depletion of tryptophan
  2. Psychology Today – Tough Truths You Should Know About Addiction, Depression
Alyssa, Director of Digital Marketing
Alyssa, Director of Digital Marketing
Alyssa is the National Director of Digital Marketing and is responsible for a multitude of integrated campaigns and events in the behavioral health and addictions field. All articles have been written by Alyssa and medically reviewed by our Chief Medical Officer, Dr. Darrin Mangiacarne.
The Link Between Depression and Relapse
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