When treating clinical depression and substance abuse, it’s important to attack the two issues separately, yet acknowledge both conditions as the client gets treated at the facility. But in order to treat clinical depression, we first must know what it is before we go further.
What Is Depression?
Clinical depression operates as a mood disorder that creates both sadness and a loss of interest in activities such as social gatherings, favorite tasks, and hobbies. Depression is a lot more serious than just “feeling blue”. A depressed person can’t just snap out of it at a moment’s notice.
Some of the symptoms of clinical depression include some of the following:
- Feelings of sadness and hopelessness
- Loss of interest in most activities
- Either reduced or increased appetite
- Increased bouts of anxiety
- Slower thinking and body movements
- Frequent thoughts of suicide
When a client comes in for dual diagnosis treatment for depression and addiction, some of the symptoms on this list might either be exacerbated as a result of the dual diagnosis or present themselves in a different way. A therapist or other trained professional can easily recognize some of the many ways that treating clinical depression and substance abuse can differ from just treating one of these conditions.
What Types of Depression Are There?
With major depressive disorder, you feel depressed most days of the week. With persistent depressive disorder, you have dealt with depression for a minimum of two years. If you have bipolar disorder, you deal with the extremities of mood, from high, energetic bouts of mania to the lows of serious depression. Seasonal affective disorder (SAD) has people dealing with debilitating depression in the winter months. Most of the people who have this particular brand of depression live in the Northeast.
What Are Observable Signs of Depression?
Some of the more observable signs of depression and addiction include some of the following conditions:
- Obvious fatigue and tiredness
- Turning down numerous social opportunities
- Increased or decreased appetite
- Obvious weight loss or weight gain
- Increased amount of time sleeping
- Staying home a lot more often
- Abusing illegal substances, alone or in groups
- Increased bouts of crying
- Increased bouts of anger and irritability
How To Know If You’re Depressed
Check the symptoms presented here to see if you have experienced any of them recently. If you feel that you experience more than half of the symptoms on the lists, plus you abuse illegal substances, then you probably qualify for dual diagnosis treatment.
Another way that you can learn whether or not you’re depressed is to ask your friends and family members. Many of your loved ones will bring this matter up before you even ask. They will often comment that something about you is “different” or that you haven’t been the same lately. Trust these opinions. These viewpoints are often a valuable first step in recognizing that you need help.
Lastly, you can always seek out professional help if you’re not sure whether you suffer from depression. A trained therapist can help you by allowing you to talk through your feelings about your symptoms. After a couple of therapy sessions, your therapist will be in a good position to determine whether or not you’re dealing with an official diagnosis of clinical depression.
What Causes Clinical Depression?
Most experts can’t really pinpoint what causes clinical depression. While most cases of depression can be readily linked to emotional, physical, or verbal abuse, substance abuse, genetics, major life events, grief, or social isolation, other cases show up for no ostensible reason. This can often make treating clinical depression and substance abuse more difficult but not impossible.
What Are The Risks of Co-Occurring Disorders?
Those clients that have what’s known as a co-occurring disorder deal with both mental health issues and substance abuse problems. There are many reasons that a client can have a co-occurring disorder. For some, it could be due to genetic risk. The client’s environment could also increase their chances of having a dual diagnosis. Those with a dual diagnosis are at higher risk for conditions such as financial issues, social isolation, problems with family members, and severe medical problems.
Knowing When or If It’s Time to Seek Help
One way that many people decide when it’s time to seek out help for their co-occurring disorder is to seek out the opinion of professionals. Often, a therapist can talk with you about your mental health symptoms and your substance abuse. You and your therapist can often come to a mutual decision for you to seek outside help for your dual diagnosis.
But many others don’t need a therapist or other professional to help them make the decision to seek treatment. Some clients had friends and family point out that they weren’t well. Others came to this realization all by themselves. In the end, what’s important is that you eventually realize that you can’t help yourself deal with these twin issues.
How Is Depression and Substance Abuse Treated?
If you have a co-occurring disorder, you can enter a program that treats both the mental health issue and the substance abuse problem in a holistic way. With these types of programs, you’ll get the proper diagnostic care, medical treatment, and therapy that you need to effectively deal with both of these conditions in the treatment center and at home.
Defining Wellness offers treatment for your co-occurring disorder at our inpatient residential unit, outpatient program, or a partial hospitalization program where you receive treatment at the hospital during the day and go home at night.
If you or a loved one is currently struggling with both mental health issues and addiction, Defining Wellness can certainly help. Call or email our admission office for more information about how we can help you or your loved one with their path to recovery.