When Dr. M.K. (Khal) El-Yousef founded Fairwinds Treatment Center 25 years ago, he did so because he saw a strong correlation between addiction and mental health disorders that conventional treatment methods ignored. Despite the fact that those suffering from substance abuse are also often dealing with depression, bipolar disorder and other illnesses, the treatment techniques available at the time only focused on addressing one of these problems.
A new study recently published in the academic journal Addiction draws an even stronger relationship between these issues. The study examined patients who were suffering from both alcohol use disorder (AUD) and major depressive disorder (MDD) and tracked their responses to therapy for both conditions using cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) and motivational interviewing (MI). The results of those tests were compared with patients who were treated using a conventional 12-step program for alcohol addiction.
The researchers involved in the study found that the patients who went through CBT and MI treatment were less depressed and consumed less alcohol than the control group that used a standard treatment. More importantly, a year after the program ended, the results of the test still stood: The CBT/MI patients were still less depressed and remained in control of their alcohol dependence.
It's not all that surprising that a dual diagnosis approach worked best. At Fairwinds Treatment Center, we have experienced the same levels of success – with lower relapse rates and more effective treatment for addiction – specifically because we address depression along with an individual's alcoholism. Given that nearly 40 percent of people with MDD will have to battle alcohol dependence as well, it only makes sense to look at both conditions, rather than just focusing on the latter. This will lead to a more sustainable recovery for our patients and help them attain a level of success and happiness through the full understanding of their illness.