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Exploring the Link Between Depression and Substance Abuse

Often when patients come to Penn Medicine Princeton House Behavioral Health, they say they are not sure if they are drinking to soften the pain of their depression and fortify themselves to deal with the world, or whether drinking was actually causing them to be depressed.

"It’s not an uncommon situation,” says Sarah Carstens, LCSW, LCADC, Clinical Director of Addiction Services at Princeton House. “Depression and addictions are like the chicken and the egg: It’s hard to know which came first. In treatment, we address both at the same time, because people need help to cope with both.”

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