Many people who struggle with a substance use disorder also struggle with depression. Depressive disorders affect about 7% of people in the United States every year, according to the National Institute of Mental Health. Of those diagnosed with a depressive episode, 64% experience moderate to severe impairment in daily functioning. However, depression can go unrecognized for a long time.
Depression does not always look like its stereotypes. The disorder may include feelings of sadness, fear, helplessness, worry, lack of hope, and loss of interest in things that used to be enjoyable. In people with substance use disorders, depression may be found as a dual diagnosis.
What Is Depression?
Depression causes people to experience problems with:
Each person may experience depression differently. The most well-known type, major depressive disorder, can have a severe impact on daily functioning. Types of depression include:
People with this diagnosis experience major depressive episodes that include many of the typical symptoms of depression that last more than two weeks and disrupt the person’s life or functioning.
Clinicians use scales to measure the level of depressive symptoms. A person can have one or many major depressive episodes in their life.
Those diagnosed with persistent depressive disorder have had depressive symptoms for more than two years, with no point where they did not have them.
They may have had major depressive episodes or more mild episodes, but symptoms are still troubling.
This type of depression affects new mothers. They may experience intense emotional distress, fear, and exhaustion. These feelings can make it difficult for mothers to bond with and care for their babies.
How is Depression Treated?
According to the National Institute of Mental Health, people with depression respond best to treatment with medication and therapy. People treated with medication only or with therapy only are more likely to have recurring depressive symptoms.
The first line of medication treatment for depression, the selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs), have helped many people with depression. They do not work for everyone, and some will need medication that works on different neurotransmitters. In some cases, doctors might try the newer atypical antipsychotics, which can help with depression but also can have unpleasant side effects.
Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy (CBT)
This type of therapy helps people with depression deal with their irrational thoughts like feeling worthless, having no hope, and feelings of isolation. People learn to challenge these thoughts with more reasonable ones, then change their behavior to match the more positive thoughts.
Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT)
Developed for people dealing with chronic emotional distress and suicidal thoughts, this type of therapy can help people with depression learn to manage their emotions better. They also learn distress tolerance so they can handle more stress without becoming upset.
Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT)
This therapy guides people toward being more emotionally flexible. Learning mindfulness techniques and how to detach and accept events and feelings helps people with depression feel less overwhelmed. A newer type of therapy, ACT focuses less on changing negative thoughts and more on acceptance and living with these thoughts.
As with many mental health issues, people with depression can benefit from alternative methods like art, music, dance, yoga, and meditation in combination with more standard therapies. People with depression may find some feelings of pleasure in picking up a paintbrush or singing for the first time in years.
People with depression can engage in activities to help them feel better. These may be difficult to achieve while depressed, but making an effort pays off. Those struggling with depression may try:
Depression Treatment at Everlast
Everlast Recovery Centers offers the best treatments available for our patients with a dual diagnosis that includes depression. Our clinically trained staff will recognize symptoms of depression in clients during their assessment period and create an individualized treatment plan that suits their needs. While our variety of therapy sessions and other activities throughout the day keep people with depression from isolating themselves, they also learn about some of the most popular types of therapy for treating depression.
We offer the types of therapy listed above, including CBT, DBT, and ACT. Everlast also offers many complementary therapies and makes sure our clients spend plenty of time in the healthy, healing California sunshine.
Most importantly, Everlast Recovery Centers offers a family atmosphere where people with depression can speak without fear of judgment. The safe, comfortable setting at Everlast allows our clients to benefit even more from their daily therapy. With Everlast, you can be sure to find healing from depression.