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Depression and Alcoholism: Treating them Both Together

Old 03-20-2010, 03:35 PM
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Lightbulb Depression and Alcoholism: Treating them Both Together

I do not normally post on this forum. But, I found this post, and I thought it may be helpful for some here, so, I decided to share it. Many have co-dependencies. Treating one without treating the other can lead to relapse in up to 90% of the people involved.

While this dual-diagnoses treatment modality has been known for many years in the research world, sadly there have been few clinics/doctors that actually follow through with it. It makes me wonder if the doctors themselves still hold onto a mindset of alcoholism/drug addiction as a moral failure and of depression as a weakness.

In any case, here is the article. I hope it brings some light to the situation.

Treat Alcoholism and Depression Together
By Rick Nauert PhD Senior News Editor
Reviewed by John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on March 18, 2010

Treat Alcoholism and Depression TogetherA new study discovers a treatment regimen combining cognitive-behavioral therapy and medications for depression and alcohol addiction improves clinical outcomes.

Specifically, combining the antidepressant sertraline (Zoloft) with the alcohol dependence treatment naltrexone produced a 54 percent abstinence rate in patients with both major depression and alcohol dependence, whereas the rates were only 21 to 28 percent for patients taking a placebo, sertraline only, or naltrexone only.

This study shows an important advancement in the treatment of patients who live with both alcoholism and depression because the co-occurrence of these disorders is common in clinical practice, yet antidepressants alone are not sufficient for reducing excessive drinking in these patients.

All 170 patients also received cognitive-behavioral therapy, and the four treatment groups all showed clinical reductions in depressive symptoms over the 14-week study, which was conducted by Helen Pettinati, Ph.D., and colleagues of the University of Pennsylvania.

In addition to a higher abstinence rate, the group receiving combination treatment had a longer interval before resumption of drinking: a median of 61 days compared with 15 days for the other groups combined.

Serious adverse events were actually less frequent in the group receiving both medications, since the most common serious event was hospitalization for detoxification or rehabilitation.

“When depression and alcohol dependence occur together, each condition has a negative influence on the outcome of the other, so not only does this pairing of illnesses affect a lot of patients, it also makes the individual disorders worse,” Dr. Pettinati stated.

“Combining sertraline and naltrexone could be a practical approach for these patients because both have FDA approval.”

The study appears in AJP in Advance , the online advance edition of The American Journal of Psychiatry (AJP), the official journal of the American Psychiatric Association.

Source: American Psychiatric Association
Treat Alcoholism and Depression Together | Psych Central News

I hope this is helpful for some. Please feel free to share your thoughts.

Shalom!
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Old 04-10-2010, 05:49 AM
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That approach has potential. 54% is pretty good.
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Old 06-06-2010, 06:08 PM
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There is an inherent difficulty in diagnosing a patient with depression while he/she is still actively drinking. The symptoms of alcohol addiction mimic the symptoms of depression.

I have mixed feelings about the article as well. I take sertraline and have found it to be incredibly helpful for depression and anxiety. But I don't think you can find recovery in a pill and it seems misleading to imply as much.
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