Depression is a mental health condition that affects millions of people worldwide every year.1 Treatment options are available and will be provided to a greater or lesser degree depending on the severity of symptoms. Depression often co-occurs with other conditions and disorders, such as anxiety disorders, Borderline Personality Disorder, Bipolar Disorder, and as a withdrawal symptom following cessation of substance use. While mild episodes or bouts of depression are common for most people, it becomes a serious condition when it lasts for an extended period of time and interferes with a person’s ability to live a normal, healthy life.
Depressed mood (self-reported or observed by others)
Loss of interest in normal, daily activities and activities previously enjoyed
Significant weight loss or gain (more than 5% in one month)
Sleep problems (insomnia/hypersomnia)
Increased tiredness/low energy
Decreased efficiency in routine tasks
Excessive, inappropriate feelings of guilt
Poor cognition, concentration, and decision-making
Suicidal ideation/attempts, recurrent thoughts about death
Social and/or occupational distress and/or impairment due to symptoms
The symptoms are not directly related to the physiological effects of substance use
The symptoms are not better explained by another condition
The symptoms are not better explained by bereavement or grief
In order to be diagnosed with clinical depression, a person must meet at least five of the diagnostic criteria outlined above.
Before the condition develops into clinical depression, there are general signs and symptoms that a person is suffering. Noticing these signs is important, as it can help you check in with yourself or a loved one. Depression can be a dangerous condition, even more so when combined with substance use. Watch out for the following signs and symptoms of depression so you can reach out for help as early as possible before the condition worsens.
Loss of energy
Loss of appetite
Loss of interest in engaging with life
Sense of worthlessness and lack of meaning
Physical aches and pains
Poor memory and concentration
Depression can affect anyone. While there are certain risk factors for depression, each person is unique and what leads to depression in one person may not have the same effect in another. The following are some of the most common risk factors for depression3:
Difficult Life Events
Isolation and loneliness
Stress or prolonged work stress
Family history of depression
High sensitivity to criticism
Substance misuse and abuse
Inhibited serotonin and noradrenaline production
Diminished communication among brain cells
The following are some facts and statistics regarding the prevalence of depression across the globe.
According to data compiled by Statista, almost 5% of the U.S adult population suffered from depression in 2017.4
According to the World Health Organization (WHO)5:
Over 264 million people of all ages globally suffer from depression
Depression is one of the leading causes of disability worldwide
More women than men clinically present with depression
Depression is a common risk factor in suicide
Depression and substance abuse sometimes go hand in hand, and it can be difficult to determine which came first. While substance abuse can lead to depression, the symptoms of depression can diminish one’s quality of life to the point that an individual can turn to substances for symptom relief. It is a vicious cycle because one feeds the other.
Attempting to relieve the symptoms of depression with substances is an attempt to self-medicate. The consequences can be dangerous, even fatal, as the body’s tolerance to substances builds quickly. This means that more of a substance must be consumed to achieve the same degree of relief, and as more is taken, the strength of one’s dependence increases. Addiction soon follows, which makes treatment for both conditions more difficult.
Addiction can be complicated to treat. It very often co-occurs with other mental health conditions. Whether the addiction caused the mental health issues or the mental health issues caused the addiction is usually unclear, but what is clear is that recovery is possible.
At Heather R. Hayes & Associates, we specialize in addiction recovery. Our services include:
Trauma-Informed Responsive Intervention™
Respectful Therapeutic Transport Protocol™
Navigating the world of healthcare can be taxing for individuals and their concerned loved ones. We make it easier by acting as a single point of contact among our clients, their families, and the services that can offer treatment options. Please contact us today for more information or to arrange for a meeting
1 “Depression”. Who.Int, 2020, https://www.who.int/news-room/fact-sheets/detail/depression. Accessed 19 Oct 2020.
2 Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration. DSM-5 Changes: Implications for Child Serious Emotional Disturbance [Internet]. Rockville (MD): Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (US); 2016 Jun. Table 9, DSM-IV to DSM-5 Major Depressive Episode/Disorder Comparison. Available from: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK519712/table/ch3.t5/
3 “Clinical Depression – Causes”. Nhs.Uk, https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/clinical-depression/causes/. Accessed 19 Oct 2020.
4 “Share Of The U.S. Population With Depression 2017 | Statista”. Statista, 2019, https://www.statista.com/statistics/979880/percentage-of-people-with-depression-us/. Accessed 19 Oct 2020.
5 “Depression”. Who.Int, 2020, https://www.who.int/news-room/fact-sheets/detail/depression. Accessed 19 Oct 2020.
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