Mental Illness Awareness Week (MIAW) is behind us, but the effort to educate Americans about mental health continues. October is National Depression Education and Awareness Month. While we do not treat depression exclusively at Pacific Shores Recovery, many of our clients contend with co-occurring depressive disorders.
Depression and addiction go hand in hand quite often. One in three adults who struggle with alcohol or drug abuse also suffers from depression, according to the Journal of Clinical Psychiatry. Depression affects the lives of 300 million people worldwide and is the leading cause of disability, according to the World Health Organization (WHO).
Drug and alcohol use can result in people experiencing depressive symptoms. Moreover, many men and women will use drugs and alcohol to cope with their symptoms of depression.
Self-medicating depression is a vicious and unhealthy cycle. Initially, substance use may lessen a person’s symptoms; but, continued drug and alcohol use will exacerbate one’s problems.
It doesn’t matter if alcohol or substance use disorder precipitates depression, or if it’s the other way around. What’s salient is that people with co-occurring mental illness receive treatment for both the depression and addiction concurrently. Successful recovery outcomes depend on addressing all presenting mental and behavioral health conditions.
Symptoms of Depression
There are several signs and symptoms of major depressive disorder or clinical depression. Understanding the markers of depression can help people determine if they may be contending with the condition. Common signs of depression include:
- Feelings of sadness, emptiness or hopelessness
- Loss of interest or pleasure in most or all normal activities, anhedonia
- Insomnia or sleeping too much
- Anxiety, agitation or restlessness
- Feelings of worthlessness or guilt, fixating on past failures or self-blame
If you are experiencing any of the above symptoms, then please discuss them with a professional—especially if they are recurrent. Those who experience any of the above symptoms are prone to struggle with relationships, work, school, and social activities. Such people are also more susceptible to self-harming behaviors and suicidal ideations.
Fortunately, medication, psychotherapy, or both can help men and women manage their symptoms and lead productive lives. During National Depression Education and Awareness Month, please take some time to share information about the disorder and treatment on social media. Please use #DepressionAwareness. Let individuals know that seeking help is a sign of hope and strength.
Men and women in recovery can share their experience, strength, and hope with the millions of people who are struggling with addiction or co-occurring mental illness. Your story can inspire others to find the courage to reach out for support.
California Dual Diagnosis Treatment
Pacific Shores is an accredited treatment center for substance use disorders and dual diagnoses. We offer access to physicians, psychiatrists, psychologists, and counselors. In order to ensure optimal success, our team of experts will tailor treatment plans to meet the unique needs of clients.
Please contact us today to learn more about our programs. We will meet you where you are and guide you to where you want to be. (949) 574-2510