Depression is a general term for several disorders that are characterized by feelings such as persistent overwhelming sadness, hopelessness, and despair. While most people will experience temporary periods of sadness throughout their lives, individuals who struggle with a depressive disorder will experience symptoms of such intensity and/or duration that they may find it difficult or impossible to work, attend school, maintain productive interpersonal relationships, and otherwise participate in a healthy and satisfying life.
Two of the more common types of depressive disorders are major depressive disorder and persistent depressive disorder:
Major depressive disorder: People who develop major depressive disorder will experience severe symptoms that last for most or all of the day for a period at least two weeks and that cause significant distress and/or impair their ability to function socially or occupationally. Typical symptoms of the major depressive disorder include depressed mood, diminished interest in or pleasure from most activities, significant unintentional weight loss or gain, fatigue, feelings of worthlessness, diminished ability to think or concentrate, and persistent thoughts of death.
Persistent depressive disorder: The fifth edition of The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5) established persistent depressive disorder as a consolidation of chronic major depressive disorder and dysthymic disorder, which had been included as separate disorders in the previous edition of the DSM. Individuals who have persistent depressive disorder will experience depressed mood for more days than not for a period of at least two years. They may also experience appetite changes, disrupted sleep patterns, decreased energy, low self-esteem, and feelings of hopelessness.
Depressive disorders are highly treatable conditions; however, most people who develop a depressive disorder do not seek the professional help that can alleviate their symptoms. Unfortunately, many people who have depressive disorders abuse alcohol or other drugs in misguided attempts to self-medicate or numb themselves to their distressing symptoms. The problems with this approach are myriad and can include the worsening of the depressive symptoms, the development of substance use disorder, and the onset of other physical or mental health problems.
However, when individuals who have developed substance use disorders and co-occurring depressive disorders get the comprehensive professional care at a treatment & rehab center that they need, they can halt the ongoing damage, experience relief from their symptoms, and develop the skills and strategies that will allow them to achieve long-term recovery and pursue healthier and more satisfying lives.
Statistics about Depression
According to the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH), about 25% of individuals who develop a substance use disorder will also experience a co-occurring depressive disorder. The American Psychiatric Association (APA) reports that about 7% of the U.S. population will struggle with major depressive disorder in a typical 12-month period, with the highest rates of major depressive disorder found within the 18-to-29 age group. The 12-month prevalence of persistent depressive disorder is about 0.5%. The APA also notes depression is as much as three times more common among women than among men. The Anxiety and Depression Association of America (ADAA) has reported that major depressive disorder is the leading cause of disability in the United States for people between the ages of 15 and 45.
Causes and Risk Factors for Depression
There is no single cause for depression; however, experts have identified several causes and risk factors that may influence the likelihood that a person will struggle with major depressive disorder or persistent depressive disorder:
Genetic: The APA reports that the heritability of major depressive disorder is about 40%, with the heritable personality trait of neuroticism accounting for much of the genetic link. The APA has also noted that the rate of major depressive disorder among individuals with a parent or sibling who also has this disorder is between 200% and 400% greater than is the rate among individuals who do not have a family history of depression. Variances in the structure and functioning of certain brain regions have also been identified as possible genetic predictors of persistent depressive disorder.
Environmental: Adverse childhood experiences, such as being abused and/or neglected, or losing a parent to death or separation, appear to be among the strongest environmental influences on the development of a depressive disorder later in life. Stressful life events often precipitate the onset of major depressive symptoms, but no correlation has been established between the presence or absence of stress in proximity to the onset of the depressive symptoms.
- Gender (women are more likely than men to develop a depressive disorder)
- Family history of substance abuse, addiction, depression and/or another mental health disorder
- Personal history of substance abuse and addiction
- Prior mental health disorders
- Adverse experiences during childhood
- Abrupt life changes
Signs and Symptoms of Depression
Depressive disorders may manifest a wide range of symptoms, depending on the type and severity of the disorder, the presence of substance abuse, and other personal factors. Within these parameters, the following are among the more common signs and symptoms of a depressive disorder:
- Increased unexplained absences from work, school, or other responsibilities
- Uncharacteristic anger or aggression
- Engaging in self-harm such as cutting, burning, or pulling hair
- Loss of interest in significant activities
- Expressions of sadness, worthlessness, and despair
- Fatigue and lethargy
- Diminished energy levels
- Headaches and stomachaches
- Significant changes in appetite and weight
- Inability to concentrate and/or focus
- Memory problems
- Impaired ability to think clearly
- Persistent sense of shame and/or guilt
- Thoughts of suicide
- Dramatic mood swings
- Heightened irritability
- Feelings of helplessness and hopelessness
- Persistent sadness
Effects of Depression
Failing to receive proper treatment at a rehab center for a depressive disorder that co-occurs with a substance use disorder can lead to myriad negative effects and outcomes, including the following:
- Diminished performance in school or at work
- Academic failure
- Job loss
- Physical harm due to dangerous and/or reckless behaviors
- Family discord
- Disrupted interpersonal relationships
- Development or worsening of other co-occurring mental health disorders
- Physical health problems related to substance abuse, poor nutrition, and/or insufficient self-care
- Social withdrawal
- Sleep disorders
- Suicidal ideation
- Suicide attempts
Individuals who struggle with depressive disorders and substance use disorders may also be at increased risk for the following co-occurring mental health disorders:
- Obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD)
- Anxiety disorders
- Anorexia nervosa
- Bulimia nervosa
- Borderline personality disorder
Why Get Treatment for Depressive Disorders at a Rehab Center in Newport Beach
As indicated in several sections on this page, untreated depressive disorders can wreak profound havoc on virtually all areas of a person’s life. When a person with a depressive disorder is also abusing or has become dependent upon alcohol or other drugs, the potential for damage can increase exponentially. People who do not receive proper care for a substance use disorder and co-occurring depressive disorder will find it extremely difficult to attend school, perform to expectation at work, and meet life’s other personal and professional responsibilities. Academic failure, job loss, and unemployment are far from unlikely outcomes when a person is struggling with both a substance use disorder and a co-occurring depressive disorder. Physical problems of these disorders can include malnutrition, weight problems, disrupted sleep patterns, physical harm from dangerous behaviors, and several forms of substance-related organ damage. Diminished cognition, memory problems, mood swings, unprovoked aggressiveness, lost motivation, and withdrawal are among the psychological and behavioral issues that can also plague individuals who have been abusing alcohol or other drugs while also experiencing symptoms of major depressive disorder or persistent depressive disorder.
At the programs within the Sober Living by the Sea rehab & treatment center network, experienced professionals have had significant successes working with men and women whose lives had been undermined by substance use disorders and co-occurring depressive disorders. The comprehensive services that are available at The Rose, The Landing, and Sunrise Recovery Ranch have empowered many men and women to overcome both the compulsion to engage in substance abuse and the self-defeating symptoms of depressive disorders. At these programs, men and women in crisis are able to receive a full continuum of care in a manner that has been customized according to their specific strengths, needs, and treatment goals. At all programs within the Sober Living by the Sea treatment center & rehab network, men and women receive the treatment, support, and guidance they need to begin their walk along the path to a more promising future, free from the constraints of addiction and depression.