Major depressive order is a serious mood disorder that affects millions, with feelings of overwhelming sadness, lack of interest in everyday activities, or worse, hopelessness that leads to suicidal thoughts. Around 16 million U.S. adults suffered at least one major depressive episode in 2012, according to Healthline and women are more likely to be diagnosed with some form of depression than men. Worldwide, according to the World Health Organization, 350 million people are suffering from depression.
There’s no single cause of depression but hormones and genetics as well as brain chemistry all contribute. Untreated, depression can lead to alcohol or drug abuse as well other social and physical problems, including obesity or malnutrition, headaches, panic disorders, self-mutilation or suicide attempts.
Depression is often misunderstood, as many believe those who suffer should just be able to “snap out of it,” which is far from reality. Clinical depression goes deeper than just having a bad day or getting “the blues.” To be diagnosed, one must suffer symptoms of depression for more than two weeks.
Risk factors for depression:
- Financial problems
- Health problems
- Family history of addiction or mental health problems
- Prior sexual or physical abuse
- Low self-esteem
- Being in an unsupported environment coming out as gay or transgender
- Certain medication can contribute to depression
- Traumatic life events (death, divorce)
Substance Abuse and Depression
The National Institute on Drug Abuse reports that persons diagnosed with mood or anxiety disorders (such as depression) are twice as likely have a substance use disorder. An estimated 20 percent of Americans diagnosed with depression also have a substance use disorder.
After years of clinical research, addiction is now classified as a mental illness and a chronic disease.
Signs of depression may include:
- Lack of energy
- Changes in sleep
- Loss of appetite
- Reckless behavior
- Overwhelming sense of despair or hopelessness
- Body aches
- Inability to concentrate
People experiencing depression may not be aware of their behavioral changes. They may slowly lose interest in their favorite activities or become aggravated by simple tasks. They may struggle with skills they once mastered or become emotional or aggressive, with increasing frequency. Without help, depression can worsen quickly.
Treatment for Addiction and Depression
Treating co-occurring disorders is complex and requires fully integrated treatment from a team of professionals in the medical and psychiatric fields. At JourneyPure Center for Professional Excellence, we develop individualized treatment plans to fit the specific needs and goals of our clients by utilizing individual and group therapy, experiential therapy and ongoing case management and aftercare planning. If you are suffering from depression and find yourself self-medicating with drugs or alcohol, we can help.