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3 Ways to Manage Depression Without Turning to Substance Use

Around one-third of adults who suffer from substance abuse and addiction also suffer from depression. The symptoms of depression can often mirror those of addiction, with changes in eating and sleeping patterns, feelings of guilt and fear, a lack of energy, trouble concentrating, and even suicidal ideations. And for many who struggle with depression, self-medicating can turn into substance abuse. 

To share a few ways to manage addiction and break the cycle of self-medication, our team with substance abuse rehab in Tampa at Phoenix House Florida has a few tips.

#1: Talk Therapy

If you’re struggling with depression, the feelings of loneliness or sadness can be incredibly isolating and difficult. Even if you’d consider your depression on the mild end of the spectrum, spending your days masking how you feel and trying to self-medicate in order to blend in and pretend everything is okay is exhausting. Finding a therapist who you can openly talk about your struggles with, and who you can admit your substance abuse struggles to, can be incredibly helpful. 

Talk therapy is different from just talking to a friend because your therapist will be able to offer a different perspective. Being able to view some of your struggles from the outside can help you understand what other types of help you need and what may be triggering some of your feelings of depression.

#2: Spend Time Outside

It sounds like an overly simplified answer to a complex problem, but often when dealing with depression it is easy to slide into staying in bed and self-medicating. Getting outside can help ground you and center your mind in some ways. 

It should be noted that spending time outside is not going to solve your depression alone, but when combined with things like talk therapy and medication it can help you find some relief without self-medication. Additionally, removing yourself from stressful or anxiety-inducing situations can help steer you away from self-medication and substance abuse. Of course, things like “forest bathing” (standing barefoot in the forest) and nature hikes can be helpful, but if you don’t find them to completely end your depression there is nothing wrong with you. It’s likely that you just need a little extra help which is perfectly okay.

#3: Ask a Doctor If Medication Could Help

In some cases, if you’ve been self-medicating with drugs or alcohol, your doctor may feel it is appropriate to begin medication as treatment. There can be a stigma surrounding depression medication, but it may be the only path to freedom from depression. 

If you’re struggling with depression and self-medication, Medical Assisted Treatment (MAT) and substance abuse recovery in Tampa is available with Phoenix House Florida. Licensed therapists will help you address and unlock the causes behind your addictive behaviors, including depression, and will help you treat both conditions.  

If you or a loved one is struggling with addiction, speak with substance abuse recovery in Tampa, Phoenix House Florida. To schedule a consultation with Phoenix House Florida, please request an appointment today.


Disclaimer: The contents of this website are for general educational purposes only. All content and media on the Phoenix House Florida website does not constitute professional medical advice nor is the information intended to replace the services provided by Phoenix House Florida or other qualified medical professionals. If you believe you are having a medical emergency, call 911 immediately.

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The Derek Jeter Center Adolescent program in Brandon, FL provides comprehensive outpatient services that help families deal with teen substance use and related mental health conditions.

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