When an athlete has a mental health disorder combined with a substance abuse disorder it is known as a co-occurring disorder. A common example would be a person who has both depression and an addiction to alcohol.
Either condition can develop first, the mental health issue or the addiction, but research shows that the combination of both disorders worsens and amplifies the symptoms of the other condition. This condition is sometimes experienced by athletes post career.
Bouts of sadness are a completely normal part of the human experience. It is all but impossible to remain happy, fulfilled and positive all the time, especially when life deals out sorrow from time to time.
Depression, however, is something far different from passing stints of grief or melancholy.
Often misdiagnosed, depression is a chronic illness that can last years, if left untreated. Some athletes suffering from the disorder are able to function and manage their responsibilities on a day-to-day basis, though not without a significant struggle.
There are others, though, who deal with debilitating symptoms. They can find themselves isolated and unable to ask for the help they deserve.
The evidence-based, scientific and holistic approach to depression treatment at Pure Sports Recovery addresses each person’s unique needs and challenges in recovering from this chronic illness.
From 3D brain mapping, one-on-one counseling with board certified to proper nutrition, exercise and mindfulness training, the expert care specifically designed for athletes at Pure Sports Recovery helps our athlete clients get back to the business of living a healthy, happy and productive life.
Anyone can suffer from depression. The National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) estimates that in 2017 more than 17 million adults in the United States– around 7 percent of the population – coped with at least one episode of major depression. Some athletes often experience this condition.
About 11 million of those people suffered a major depressive episode that involved severe impairment.
While public awareness about issues of depression have improved, there is still a societal stigma associated with the disorder especially in the athletic community.
Often, the perception is that athletes living with chronic depression should be able to pick themselves up by the “boot-straps” and get on with their lives.
That is simply not the case. Even worse, ignoring the symptoms of depression is likely to intensify the condition, often driving a person to self-medicate with drugs and alcohol.
This is a common occurrence with athletes who suffer from depression but fail to get proper medical treatment. They find temporary relief from alcohol or drugs and continue to until they find themselves addicted.
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There are several depression diagnoses that can include some of the following:
Symptoms of depression will vary from athlete to athlete based on a number of factors, such as the type of depression an individual is suffering from, the severity and length the illness has gone untreated, as well as whether a person with depression is also battling a substance use disorder.
Some of the more common symptoms of depression can include:
There are a number of effective treatments for depression that can help alleviate many of the symptoms brought on by the illness. Once an athletes depression is diagnosed and treatments begin, they often start to feel relief from symptoms in just a few weeks.
Treatment for depressive disorders can include some of the following:
For many athletes, the most effective form of treatment for depression is a combination of prescription medication and cognitive therapy together.
But for those who have depression combined with an addiction, it’s imperative that they receive dual diagnosis treatment so that both conditions can be addressed at the same time.
Without addressing both issues simultaneously, it’s unlikely that recovery will be successful and many athletes run the risk of relapse.
Many treatment centers are not capable or qualified to offer dual diagnosis programs, and most only offer services for addiction or mental health, but not both. Co-occurring disorders require a team approach with staff specialized in all aspects of addiction and mental health.
Fortunately, the clinical team at Pure Sports Recovery is comprised of licensed and certified professionals who provide expert care and programs created specifically for athletes for addiction, psychiatry, clinical psychology, general medicine, and nutrition.
We have a very high staff to client ratio comprised of doctors, therapists, and counselors who are available 24/7 to meet the specific needs of athletes in our care.
At Pure Sports Recovery, we understand that depression and addiction can come in many forms, which is why our team of physicians and therapists customizes each athletes treatment according to their particular needs.