Signs and Symptoms of Depression
Depression can cause physical, psychological and social symptoms. It’s important to understand that depression doesn’t manifest the same way in every person, so two people with depression aren’t likely to experience the same symptoms in the same ways. Physical symptoms of depression include weight changes, loss of appetite, slower-than-usual movements, lack of energy, constipation, sleep disturbances and low sex drive. Socially, depression often causes people to isolate themselves from others, neglect their hobbies and have difficulty maintaining relationships.
Depression may also cause the following psychological symptoms:
- Feeling helpless or hopeless
- Persistent sadness
- High level of irritability
- Inability to tolerate others
- Lack of motivation
- Difficulty making decisions
- Suicidal thoughts
What Is Depression?
Depression is a mental illness that changes the way people think and act. According to the World Health Organization, approximately 5% of the global population has some form of depression, making it one of the most common mental health disorders in the world. Major depressive disorder and persistent depressive disorder are the two most common types of depression, but some people have post-partum depression, psychotic depression or seasonal affective disorder.
Major Depressive Disorder
Major depressive disorder is characterised by episodes in which an individual experiences five or more depression symptoms lasting for at least two weeks. This type of depression is sometimes referred to as clinical depression or unipolar depression. In some people, a depressive episode occurs just once; in others, the episodes may recur over a period of several months or years.
Persistent Depressive Disorder
Persistent depressive disorder, sometimes called dysthymia, differs from major depressive disorder because it’s continuous rather than episodic. Instead of having recurrent episodes of depression over several months or years, someone with persistent depressive disorder has depression symptoms lasting for two years or more.
Post-partum depression, also called postnatal depression, is a mental health disorder that develops in some parents after they have a baby. In the United Kingdom, this type of depression affects about 10% of women. In addition to experiencing general depressive symptoms, women with postnatal depression sometimes have frightening thoughts about hurting their babies, making it extremely important for anyone with this condition to seek treatment.
Psychotic depression is a type of severe depression that can cause hallucinations or delusions. Delusions are thoughts that aren’t true, while hallucinations are sights, sounds, smells and tastes that aren’t really there. Someone with psychotic depression may hear voices in their head, for example. The symptoms of psychosis may also include constant fidgeting, difficulty sitting still or an inability to relax.
Seasonal Affective Disorder
Seasonal affective disorder is one of several mental disorders that can cause symptoms of depression. What makes it different from other types of depression is that it typically occurs at the same time each year. People with seasonal affective disorder tend to have their depressive episodes in the late fall or early winter. The symptoms of SAD dissipate in the spring and summer, usually when it’s warmer and there’s more natural light available.
The Link Between Depression and Substance Abuse
Researchers have identified a clear link between depression and substance abuse. In some people, the substance use disorder starts first. As an alcohol addiction or drug addiction worsens, an individual may start to feel worthless or have little hope of recovering, prompting them to develop some type of depression. In other people, depression occurs first, leading to chronic substance use to cope with feelings of guilt, hopelessness, worthlessness and sadness.
When someone with depression also has an addiction to alcohol or drugs, they’re said to have a dual diagnosis. Some recovery professionals use the term “co-occurring disorders” to describe a diagnosis of addiction and depression in the same person. Since there’s such a strong link between depression and substance abuse, it’s important for people with co-occurring depression and co-occurring addiction to get comprehensive treatment from professionals who understand the difficulty of treating more than one mental health condition at the same time.
Signs of Substance Use Disorder
Like many mental health conditions, substance use disorder causes a wide variety of symptoms. Many of these symptoms are behavioural in nature, including the following:
- Showing up late to work or school
- Sudden changes in hygiene
- Secretive behaviour
- Legal problems stemming from alcohol or drug use
- Financial instability
- Problems getting along with others
Addiction also causes many emotional changes, especially when a user takes two or more substances at the same time. They may get into frequent arguments, display a high level of irritability, make excuses for their poor behaviour, blame other people for their drinking or drug use, behave in an obnoxious manner or demonstrate little to no interest in their usual activities. Physical signs of addiction include pale skin, sudden weight loss, dilated pupils, red eyes and excessive sniffling that can’t be explained by allergies or an illness.
Treatment for Addiction and Mental Illness
People with co-occurring disorders need specialised substance abuse treatment delivered by experienced mental health professionals. No two individuals are exactly the same, so a successful treatment plan is typically customised according to each patient’s unique physical, emotional and social needs. In some cases, treatment is more effective if it begins with medical detoxification, which provides an opportunity to eliminate harmful substances from the body under the supervision of licensed professionals who can prescribe medications to make withdrawal symptoms more manageable.
Addiction and Depression Treatment in a Peaceful Setting
If you have depression and an addiction to drugs or alcohol, you don’t have to let your mental health conditions control your life. Seeking addiction treatment is the first step to improving your mental health and reaching your full potential. Whether you have an opioid addiction or a history of cocaine abuse, the experienced staff members at Clinic Les Alpes are ready to help you recover. Call (877) 630-4284 to schedule an assessment. Clinic Les Alpes offers stunning views of Lake Geneva and the Swiss Alps, giving you a peaceful place to rest and recover from your dual diagnosis.