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Depression is a common but serious mood disorder, also known as major depressive disorder or clinical depression. This disorder is more than just moments of sadness or the “blues,” and a person dealing with depression can’t just “snap out of it.” Depression causes severe symptoms that affect how you feel, think, and cope with daily life activities; such as eating, sleeping, and working. To be diagnosed with depression, your symptoms must last for a minimum of two weeks. If you or someone you know is battling a mental health disorder like depression, then you may also have a co-occurring disorder like substance abuse. At Sana Lake Recovery Center, our healthcare professionals can treat your depression and substance abuse problem.
There are different forms of depression; some differ slightly or can be brought on by certain circumstances or life events.
- Persistent Depressive Disorder, also known as dysthymia, is when a person is in a depressed mood that lasts for at least two years.
- Postpartum Depression occurs with many women after giving birth. It’s more than just the “baby blues,” which is defined as mild depressive and anxiety symptoms that go away after about two weeks post-delivery. Women with this type of depression experience full-blown major depression during pregnancy or after delivery, affecting their daily care activities for themselves and their babies.
- Psychotic Depression happens when a person experiences severe depression and some form of psychosis. Psychosis is a condition when a person suffers from delusions or hallucinations.
- Seasonal Affective Disorder is thought to be a state of depression that occurs during the winter months and typically goes away during the spring and summer.
- Bipolar Disorder is different from depression. People with this disorder have episodes of extremely low moods, called bipolar depression, that meet the criteria for major depression.
Symptoms of Depression
For some, depression will only occur once in their lifetime, but people typically will experience multiple episodes. Signs, or symptoms, that a person has depression occur most of the day, nearly every day. They can include:
- Feelings of sadness, tearfulness, emptiness, or hopelessness
- Anger (Outbursts), irritability or frustration over trivial matters
- Loss of interest in normal daily activities
- Disturbances in sleep, including insomnia or oversleeping
- Fatigue, lack of energy
- Reduction in appetite and weight loss or an increase in appetite and weight gain
- Anxiety, Agitation, or restlessness
- Slowed cognitive functions, speech, or body movements
- Feelings of worthlessness or guilt, fixating on past failures or self-blame
- Problems concentrating, thinking, and making decisions, or remembering things
- Frequent or reoccurring thoughts of death, suicidal thoughts, suicide attempts or suicide
- Unexplained physical ailments like back pain or headaches with no explanation
Depression can affect you at any stage in life. Symptoms in children and teens are similar to those in adults but can have some differences. In younger children, they may experience sadness, clinginess, refuse to go to school, or be underweight. Teenagers may show signs of worthlessness, anger, poor performance or attendance in school, and use of recreational drugs or alcohol. In older adults, depression can often go undiagnosed and untreated as they tend not to seek professional help. Their symptoms can include memory difficulties or personality changes, physical aches and pains, and staying at home instead rather than going out to socialize and do new things.
Depression and Substance Abuse
Substance abuse is common among people with a depressive disorder. When in a depressive state, most people look for something to uplift their spirits or to numb the painful thoughts. They often use substances like alcohol or drugs to achieve this desired effect. The problem is that depression and substance abuse feed into each other, resulting in one condition making the other worse.
Often, individuals who suffer from depression turn to alcohol use in order to cope with the symptoms of their mental health disorder. This can result in the person developing co-occurring disorders: alcohol dependence and depression.
When a person has depression and an addiction, it is called a dual diagnosis. Dual Diagnosis is made up of any combination of a mental disorder, like depression, and addiction. Clinical depression has a high risk of accidental injury, self-harm, and suicide. Depression also has physical effects on the body. It can suppress the immune system which weakens the body, leaving a person susceptible to physical ailments and chronic illness. When drugs or alcohol are added to an existing condition, it makes for a dangerous mix, increasing the risk to your physical and emotional health.
Based on a 2014 National Institute on Drug Abuse report, nearly 8.4 million adults in the United States were dealing with co-occurring disorders. Despite the millions that reported battling these disorders, less than 8% of them received treatment for their co-occurring disorder.
If you do have a co-occurring disorder that involves substance abuse, your first step would be to detox before starting your treatment for the co-occurring disorder. A common misconception when it comes to treating addiction is that it is only meant to tackle the substance abuse part of the problem. Treatment should be holistic and should help you work through all contributing factors, including any co-occurring disorders.
Seeking Help for Your Co-Occurring Disorder
When you seek help for a mental health disorder or a co-occurring disorder, your medial or healthcare professional will need to give you a proper diagnosis. You will go through an official evaluation, such as a physical exam, lab tests, and a psychiatric evaluation. They may also use the criteria from the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5), published by the American Psychiatric Association.
Here at Sana Lake Recovery Center, we know that living with a co-occurring disorder, meaning that you have multiple disorders at the same time, can be difficult. You shouldn’t lose hope, because treatment is available. Our clients receive treatment that deals with addiction as well as any accompanying disorders. Our professionals provide care that will help you to work through each disorder and set you on a path to total healing.
Depression may require long-term treatment, but don’t be dismayed. Most individuals with depression feel better with medication, psychotherapy, or both. If you or your loved one would like to seek treatment for depression and substance abuse, take the first step today by speaking with one of our representatives. You can also read more about our treatment options for co-occurring disorders and learn about our rehabilitation center by contacting us today.