Updated on April 25, 2024
3 min read

I've been clean from heroin for over a year, but I still struggle with depression and anxiety. Are there any specific therapies or support groups that can help with these co-occurring issues?

Congratulations on being clean for over a year! Overcoming addiction is a huge task, and you should be proud of your progress.

Dealing with depression and anxiety during recovery isn’t uncommon, and it's important to address these issues to support your overall well-being. Seeking help for both your addiction recovery and your mental health is a courageous step to take.

Here's a breakdown of some strategies and resources that can provide support and guidance as you navigate this journey:

Find the Right Therapist

Look for a therapist who specializes in treating substance use disorders (SUD) and co-occurring mental health conditions like depression and anxiety. They’ll have a deep understanding of how these conditions interact and can provide the most effective treatment.

You can explore different therapy options, such as cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT), dialectical behavioral therapy (DBT), and other evidence-based approaches. Research these therapies or ask therapists about them to see if a particular approach resonates with you.

Remember that the most important aspect is finding a therapist you trust and are comfortable with. Consider personality, communication style, and whether you feel a sense of connection.

Where to Look for a Therapist

  • Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA): Their National Helpline ([1-800-662-HELP (4357)]) or treatment locator can provide referrals to therapists in your area.
  • Psychology Today: This website has a comprehensive directory, allowing you to refine your search by location, insurance, specialization, and more.
  • Community Mental Health Centers: Often offer affordable treatment options and may have therapists specializing in co-occurring disorders.
  • Your Insurance Provider: Contact your insurance provider to find out about in-network therapists and what types of therapy are covered.
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Explore Medication Options

A psychiatrist can assess whether medications such as antidepressants, anti-anxiety medications, or mood stabilizers could be beneficial to address your mental health symptoms in conjunction with therapy. They can manage these medications and help you find the right fit for your needs.

If you don’t have a psychiatrist, your primary care provider can often assist by either prescribing and managing these medications or referring you to a psychiatrist.

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Support Groups: A Powerful Tool Alongside Therapy

  • Narcotics Anonymous (NA): NA provides a community where you can connect with others who are also recovering from heroin addiction.
  • SMART Recovery: Offers a secular and science-based alternative to 12-step programs for those recovering from any addiction, including mental health challenges.
  • NAMI (National Alliance on Mental Illness): NAMI offers support groups that focus specifically on mental health conditions.

Why is Self-Care Important in Recovery?

While therapy and support groups are effective resources for recovery from addiction and mental health struggles, self-care can be a powerful complement to these approaches.

Self-care can work in building a strong foundation for your recovery. By incorporating healthy habits like exercise, healthy eating, and enough sleep, you'll be better equipped to manage stress and anxiety, common triggers for relapse.

Self-care can also involve relaxation techniques like meditation or spending time in nature, which can directly improve your mood and combat symptoms of depression.

So while therapy and support groups provide valuable guidance and connection, self-care empowers you to take charge of your well-being daily.

Some Additional Tips

  • Finding the right combination of therapy, support, and medication (if applicable) may take some time, so try to be patient.
  • Don't be afraid to ask questions, seek second opinions, or try different approaches until you find what works.
  • Recovery is often a journey with ups and downs, but continued effort will yield progress and resilience.

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Updated on April 25, 2024

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