What is Depression?

a woman realizing she needs help from a depression treatment program utDepression (major depressive disorder or clinical depression) is a common and serious mood disorder that often coexists with drug addiction; sometimes as one of the root causes, while other times as a result of substance abuse. It affects how you think, feel, and handle daily activities. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, an estimated 10% of U.S. citizens suffer from depression. Regardless, clinical depression must be treated along with substance abuse issues in order to reduce the likelihood of relapse. Chronic depression is very frequently related to the withdrawal from addictive drugs and is experienced more frequently among addicts than most people realize. These withdrawal symptoms can range from physical to mental and vary in manifestation and intensity.

There is not just one kind of depression. There are multiple types, but ultimately they all affect the patient’s life in the same negative way. It can have a severe impact on the person’s relationships, emotional and physical well-being, finances, and occupational status. It is not something that the person can just “snap out of,” but with the right treatment, they can find help and happiness.

Major Depressive Disorder (MDD): Is at least two weeks of a depressed mood with four or more symptoms of depression. According to the National Institute of Mental Health, nearly 16 million U.S. adults or about seven percent of the adult population had a least one major depressive episode in 2013.

Persistent Depressive Disorder (dysthymia): A depressed mood that lasts at least two years. They may have episodes of major depression dispersed with periods of less severe symptoms.

Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD): People who are afflicted with this experience depression during the winter months when there is less sunlight. It generally goes away during spring and summer and returns each year with winter. Typically they become more withdrawn, sleep more, and tend to gain weight in the winter months.

Perinatal & Postpartum Depressions (PPD): Women with perinatal depression experience full-blown depression during their pregnancy or after their delivery (postpartum). Postpartum is clinical depression that affects approximately ten to twenty percent of all childbearing women. This can start anywhere between right after birth all the way up to the baby’s first birthday. The feelings of extreme anxiety, sadness, and exhaustion make it difficult for them to take care of themselves or their babies.

Psychotic Depression: Occurs when the patient has severe depression and some form of psychosis, such as hallucinations (hearing or seeing something that isn’t there) or delusions (false fixed beliefs). The hallucinations and delusions tend to have depressing themes.

If you or someone you know is contemplating suicide call 911 right away. There is help for depression and addiction. Here at Recovery Ways we are qualified and experienced with handling co-occurring disorders, depression, and addiction. If you notice that someone you know is depressed, they start giving away their possessions, saying goodbye to people in letters or in person, saying things like “you’ll be better off without me,” or sudden bursts happiness, these are signs that they may be thinking about suicide and you should not wait to act because it could cost them their life.

Symptoms of Depression

The symptoms of depression affect how you feel, think, and handle daily activities such as eating, sleeping, and school or work. To be diagnosed with depression you must have the symptoms for at least two weeks. There are different types of depressions that can be diagnosed, as outlined above, but there are common symptoms that can last continuously for at least two weeks:

  • Constant sadness or “emptiness”
  • Appetite or weight changes
  • Loss of interest in hobbies and activities
  • Fatigue
  • Pessimism and hopelessness
  • Irritable
  • Withdrawal from family and friends
  • Restless
  • Aches and pains, headaches, stomach pain, cramps with no cause
  • Suicidal thoughts or attempts
  • Difficulty concentrating or remembering
  • Sleep difficulties
  • Depression and Addiction

The terms “depression” or “being depressed” tend to be thrown about lightly and used to describe a person who is upset or feeling down about something in his life. From a clinical standpoint, however, true depression is more than mere feelings of sadness or discontent. It is a mood disorder with specific symptoms that can lead to physical maladies or other more serious mental issues. Often times, those suffering from chemical dependency are also simultaneously suffering from clinical depression.

Depression is not just having the blues. It often seriously impacts a person’s ability to function in their daily life. Many people with depression feel that life is no longer worth living. They may feel hopeless like there’s “no way out.” Some symptoms of depression include feeling sad, hopeless, worthless, or pessimistic. People with depression often have behavior changes, such as new eating and sleeping patterns.

Depression is a mental health condition that often coexists with substance abuse. Mainly due to addicts using alcohol and drugs to mask their symptoms. Doctors call this “self-medicating”. When the effect of the drugs wears off, the depression returns and the cycle continues many times leading to addiction. During addiction treatment, untreated depression can interfere with the addiction recovery process and may lead to relapse. Also, an untreated addiction problem often leads to depression in individuals and creates a cycle of relapse.

Treatment Centers for Depression and Addiction in Utah

Recovery Ways, accredited by the Joint Commission, offers treatment excellence to those suffering from substance use and mental health disorders. If you or your loved one is struggling with depression and addiction, please call us today for help finding a dual diagnosis program: 1-888-986-7848.