Understanding Depression Disorder and Its Role in Addiction
Depression, or major depressive disorder, is a well-known, but sometimes misunderstood, chronic mood disorder that affects millions of Americans.
Major depressive disorder involves at least two straight weeks of feelings such as:
Depression is characterized by disruption to one’s thought processes, which often hinders:
- Work and school performance
- Sleep patterns
- Healthy relationships
The reasons for depression depend on the person and his or her current circumstances. Certain chemical imbalances in the brain can be the root cause, as can hormonal changes, side effects of medications, and foreseen or unforeseen life events. While there are no definitive ways to prevent depression, specific lifestyle choices can offer preventative measures.
Sources of Depression Disorder and What Puts a Person at Risk
The keys to better understanding depression disorder lie in the many facets of its origin, as no one predictor is universal in the development of this condition.
A person’s family history (both environmental and genetic) can increase the risk for a major depressive disorder, as can alcohol and drug addiction, making dual diagnosis something to be watchful of.
A person who has a parent or sibling with the disorder bears three times the risk for depression, due to exposure to the unhealthy behavioral and social norms imposed on him or her. For example, a person who is raised by a mother with a major depressive disorder may likely believe that long periods of time spent in bed or feeling hopeless is a normal course of behavior. He or she will grow up with a predisposition to depression due to genetic and environmental risk factors.
Assessment of Risk for Depression Disorder
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and other health organizations cite specific genetic and environmental factors that can increase a person’s risk in the development of depression disorder.
The following groups are at greater risk of developing major depressive disorder:
- Females, who are 2 times more likely to abuse alcohol
- Middle-aged adults, ages 45 to 64
- African Americans and Hispanics
- Children who were abused or come from impoverishment
- People without health insurance
- People unable to work or those unemployed long-term
- Anyone who suffered a traumatic brain injury (TBI)
The Close Link Between Depression and Addiction
The dangers in depression disorder and substance abuse are seemingly a two-way street that, once taken, can create a vicious continuum.
For example, alcohol is a depressant. Nearly one-third of those with a major depressive disorder also have an alcohol abuse problem. The caveat is that drinking alcohol actually worsens depression and can lead to:
- More depressive episodes
- Increasing levels of intensity of the condition
- Minimized effectiveness of antidepressant medications
People who suffer from amphetamine addiction, for example, may seek the temporary sensation of the mood-elevating drug to compensate for their depression. Once the effects of the illicit drug wear off, the symptoms of depression can worsen, increasing cravings for the drug even more.
What comes first, the depression or substance abuse? Depending on the person, familial background and life circumstances, either can be the initiator.
Symptoms of Major Depressive Disorder
Depression can take form in different ways for different people. Understanding depression disorder and how its symptoms can manifest quickly in some, or over time in others, can help medical professionals identify its rate of occurrence and facilitate the necessary response.
If someone you know experiences at least five of any of the following symptoms concurrently for two straight weeks or more, seek consultation from a mental health practitioner.
Depression symptoms include:
- Overwhelming sadness
- Uncontrollable bouts of crying
- Lack of self-worth
- A sense of guilt
- Short temper
- Inability to focus
- Fatigue or listlessness
- Oversleeping or insomnia
- Disinterest in socialization
- General indifference
- Increase in food consumption
- Weight gain
- Lack of appetite
- Weight loss
- Physical pain or achiness
- Suicidal tendencies
Overview of Depression Disorders
Major depressive disorder can be broken down into a variety of specific diagnoses, each with distinct points of origin, manifestations, duration and recommended forms of treatment.
The different types of disorders that fall under the “depression” category include:
- Bipolar Disorder
- Disruptive Mood Dysregulation Disorder
- Dysthymia (a milder form of Major Depressive Disorder with fewer symptoms)
- Perinatal Depression
- Premenstrual Dysphoric Disorder
- Psychotic Depression
- Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD)
What separates each of these depression-related disorders? View a PDF on what characterizes each of these disorders by clicking below:
The Importance of Early Detection in Children
Adolescents and young children can develop familial-related depression but can also develop hormonal-related depression disorders, putting them at increased risk for substance abuse and associated addiction.
Teenagers who have a history of major depression are two times more likely to drink alcohol.
Because of their ever-changing body chemistry, those with childhood depression disorders should be under the care of highly specialized medical practitioners on a regular basis to help them generate healthy life choices and better outcomes throughout adulthood.
Best Treatment Methods for Depression and Addiction
The complexities of depression and addiction can run deep. It is vital to treat both conditions simultaneously to effect positive change in dual diagnosis patients and their families.
Knowing how to integrate the right treatment at the right time is the type of strategy needed when formulating a comprehensive, expertly guided recovery program.
Multi-disciplinary treatment modalities can include:
- Brain stimulation therapies
- Holistic therapies
Leading the Way in Addiction and Depression Disorder Treatment
When a major depressive disorder is part of a dual diagnosis, providing the patient with a setting that offers a complete, restorative solution contributes to his or her rate of recovery and quest for lifelong sobriety. The Treatment Center by The Recovery Village takes an industry lead in understanding depression disorder as part of the dual diagnosis, which is why we provide customized treatment options that include inpatient, partial hospitalization, outpatient and sober living programs.
In addition to receiving proper medical treatment, patients suffering from depression and drug or alcohol addiction get the support they need from individual and group counseling and unique program options, such as faith-based or chronic pain management.
The Treatment Center by The Recovery Village also provides a wide range of healing modalities that affect physical, emotional and spiritual transformation. Every day, patients and their families receive ongoing encouragement from our staff and graduates who know how it feels to go through the recovery process and come out better than ever. Learn more by calling (561) 582-2030 and speaking to our friendly admissions counselors today.