In the vast wilderness of Alaska, where the serene landscapes meet the challenges of mental health, Banyan Alaska emerges as a beacon of hope for those grappling with the intricate web of depression and addiction. Acknowledging the profound link between these conditions, our treatment programs in Wasilla are meticulously crafted to address the unique needs of individuals facing both depression and substance abuse. According to research, up to a third of people with depression engage in drug or alcohol abuse to self-medicate1, highlighting the critical importance of comprehensive and integrated care. Keep reading to learn more about our depression and addiction treatment in Alaska for veterans and civilians.

Types of Depression

Depression can manifest in several ways depending on the severity, duration, and cause of symptoms. To properly diagnose and treat this disorder, mental health experts have identified multiple categories or subtypes in which depression can fall. Within these categories are several depressive disorders associated with specific symptoms, stressors, or situations.

Common subtypes of depression include:

Major Depressive Disorder

Sometimes referred to as unipolar depression, Major Depressive Disorder (MDD) is identified by a persistent low mood lasting for a minimum of two weeks. Additionally, it involves the presence of four or more accompanying symptoms, which may include suicidal thoughts, diminished physical energy, disruptions in sleep patterns, or a sense of low self-worth.2 MDD stands as one of the prevalent mental health conditions. In 2013 alone, close to 16 million adults in the United States - nearly 7% of the adult population - experienced at least one major depressive episode.3

Persistent Depressive Disorder

Recognized as dysthymic disorder or dysthymia, persistent depressive disorder is characterized by enduring low moods and depressive symptoms persisting for two or more years. Individuals grappling with persistent depressive disorder might exhibit chronic gloominess, irritability, or moodiness, which could be indicative of an underlying mood disorder. While the symptoms may not reach the intensity of a major depressive episode, the impact on the individual's quality of life can be equally profound.2

Bipolar 1 & 2 Disorders

Depressive episodes play a crucial role in both bipolar 1 and bipolar 2 diagnoses, especially in the case of bipolar 2, where hypomanic and major depressive episodes are distinctive. Individuals with bipolar disorder often undergo prolonged periods of major depression lasting weeks or months, interspersed with less frequent episodes of heightened energy and elevated mood.2 Diagnosing bipolar disorder can be challenging without monitoring these mood fluctuations over an extended duration.

Postpartum Depression

Welcoming a baby into the world is a transformative experience, yet the journey to motherhood can bring about emotional challenges for many women. Postpartum depression (PPD) is the most common complication among women who have just given birth, affecting up to 1 in 7 women (about 15%).4

New mothers who have a history of depression or anxiety, those facing financial or personal stress, and women lacking sufficient social support are particularly prone to postpartum depression. Factors such as hormonal imbalances post-pregnancy, nutritional deficiencies, and exposure to chemical toxins might also contribute to this type of depression. Additionally, for half of women diagnosed with PPD, it is their first-time having depression, although they likely showed signs of depression during their pregnancy.4

Seasonal Affective Disorder

Referred to as seasonal affective disorder, or SAD, this condition is activated by the fluctuations in light and temperature associated with different seasons. Individuals experiencing SAD may describe experiencing reduced mood, decreased energy, disruptions in sleep, and changes in weight during specific times of the year.5

What Is the Link Between Depression and Substance Abuse?

Addiction and depression can aggravate and affect one another. Substance abuse can either cause or exacerbate depressive symptoms, while people with depression may abuse drugs or alcohol as a coping mechanism for their emotional distress. Understanding this relationship is crucial for effective intervention and therapy. Essential elements of depression and substance abuse include:

  • Self-medication: Individuals with depression may engage in substance abuse as a form of self-medication. Alcohol or drugs might be used to alleviate feelings of sadness, hopelessness, or anxiety temporarily. However, this coping mechanism is often ineffective and can lead to a cycle of dependency.
  • Chemical imbalances: Substance misuse and depression can both have an impact on the brain's neurotransmitter levels. Abuse of substances can throw off the neurotransmitter balance, which can lead to mood swings. Contrarily, abnormalities in neurotransmitters such as dopamine and serotonin are linked to depression.
  • Common risk factors: Risk factors like trauma, environmental stressors, genetic predisposition, and a history of negative experiences are common to both substance abuse and depression. These shared risk factors can contribute to the co-occurrence of both conditions in an individual.
  • Impact on mental health treatment: Depression treatment can be made more difficult by substance abuse, and vice versa. The efficacy of antidepressant medications or therapeutic interventions for depression may be compromised by substance use. However, attempts to attain and sustain recovery from substance abuse can be hampered by untreated depression.
  • Withdrawal and relapse: When abstaining from a substance, people with substance use disorders may experience withdrawal symptoms, which can resemble or exacerbate depressive symptoms. A cycle of substance use, withdrawal, and relapse may be exacerbated by this.
  • Dual diagnosis: It is known as a dual diagnosis or co-occurring disorder when a person has depression and a substance use disorder. For best results, this calls for a thorough treatment plan that takes care of both conditions at the same time.
  • Environmental factors: Depression and substance abuse can coexist due to a variety of social and environmental factors, including a lack of social support, economic stress, or exposure to a peer group that abuses substances.

A comprehensive and integrated approach to treatment is necessary to address substance abuse and depression. Our dual diagnosis center in Alaska combines medication management, psychotherapy, and addiction counseling to treat both conditions at the same time.

Our Alaska Depression and Addiction Treatment

Our Banyan Alaska rehab center is a leader in offering compassionate, integrated care to people who are struggling with depression and addiction. Because of the complex interrelationship between these disorders, our treatment plans are made to specifically address the special difficulties that co-occurring disorders bring.

  • Dual diagnosis assessment: Our method starts with a comprehensive dual diagnosis evaluation to identify each person's unique mix of depression and addiction. The foundation of a customized treatment plan created to address each client's needs is this thorough evaluation.
  • Evidence-based addiction treatment: Evidence-based addiction treatment techniques, such as behavioral therapies, group therapy, and individual counseling, are all utilized in our addiction and depression treatment in Alaska. Our goal is to enable clients to quit drugs and alcohol and establish a solid foundation for long-term recovery by addressing the underlying causes of addiction.
  • Depression therapy: Using evidence-based therapeutic interventions to address the emotional and psychological aspects of depression, Banyan integrates depression therapy into the treatment plan. Our skilled mental health specialists collaborate with clients to effectively assess and treat depressive symptoms.
  • Medication management: Medication management is essential for people whose addiction and depression co-occur. Medication is carefully monitored and prescribed by our medical professionals to help stabilize mood, reduce symptoms of depression, and aid in the healing process.
  • Holistic therapies: Our Alaska treatment center also offers holistic therapies because we recognize the value of holistic well-being. Individuals can improve their overall mental and emotional wellness with the help of activities like art therapy, yoga, and mindfulness.
  • Relapse prevention strategies: A key component of our depression and addiction treatment in Alaska is creating relapse prevention strategies that work. Together with our committed counselors, clients learn coping skills, recognize triggers, and develop a customized plan to continue their recovery after treatment ends.
  • Ongoing support and aftercare: Our Wasilla rehab center emphasizes the significance of ongoing support and aftercare. Our programs include outpatient counseling, support groups, and connections to community resources, ensuring a seamless transition back into daily life.

As one of few dual diagnosis treatment centers in Alaska, Banyan is proud to offer depression and addiction treatment to both civilians and veterans. We take a holistic and individualized approach to treating co-occurring disorders, addressing both aspects of these conditions to empower individuals on their recovery journeys.

For more information regarding our substance abuse and depression treatment, contact Banyan Treatment Centers Alaska today.


  1. National Library of Medicine - Major depression and comorbid substance use disorders
  2. APA PsychNet - Diagnostic and statistical manual of mental disorders: DSM-5™, 5th ed.
  3. National Institute of Mental Health - Major Depression
  4. March of Dimes - Postpartum depression
  5. National Institute of Mental Health - Seasonal Affective Disorder

Most Insurance Plans Accepted

At Banyan Alaska our goal is to make sure that anyone who needs treatment from drug and alcohol addiction are able to get the help needed to assist them on the road to recovery. If you don't have insurance contact us to inquire about alternate methods regarding treatment for yourself or a loved one.

  • aetna
  • Tricare