October is Depression Awareness Month, meaning that behavioral advocates bring specific attention to depression, a mental health condition that impacts millions of people in the U.S. alone. Reducing the stigma surrounding depression is especially crucial, as it decreases the likelihood that someone with depression will turn to an unhealthy coping mechanism, such as substance use.
The Importance of Depression Awareness Month
Bringing awareness to depression during October is important, but there are plenty of advocates that have spoken out about their own experiences with this mental illness throughout the whole year. Many of these individuals are household names, such as Kristen Bell, Jim Carrey, Lady Gaga and J.K. Rowling. This increased awareness can help spread hope for recovery as people with symptoms of depression seek help and learn to manage it.
How to Identify Depression
Diagnosing both depression and a substance use disorder requires a dual diagnosis, which can be more complicated than diagnosing a single condition. It is especially challenging to perform a dual diagnosis if someone with a substance use disorder is not aware they are depressed.
Some of the common causes of depression include:
- Losing a loved one
- Recovering from adverse childhood experiences
- Undergoing unexpected life changes
- Experiencing trauma or abuse
- Feeling socially isolated
- Battling an illness
Causes and Symptoms of Depression
There are many different causes of depression, making it difficult to pinpoint just one catalyst. Someone who is experiencing depression may not even realize it. Although depression presents itself differently depending on the individual, there are common signs of depression, such as:
- Increasing levels of anxiety
- Experiencing a lack of sleep or difficulty sleeping
- Losing interest in hobbies
- Feeling physically fatigued
- Experiencing a fluctuating appetite
- Noticing unintentional weight gain or loss
- Feeling suicidal
Because depression is a complex condition, there are multiple types associated with different symptoms. Some of the types of depression include:
- Persistent depressive disorder
- Major depression
- Adjustment disorder with depressed mood
- Premenstrual dysphoric disorder (PMDD)
- Seasonal affective disorder (SAD)
A licensed psychologist can diagnose specific types of depression and create an effective course of treatment.
Someone suffering from any type of depression may also have a substance use disorder. Whether their condition is linked to depression and alcohol addiction or another substance, identifying depression with a substance use disorder is crucial for a successful treatment process.
The Connection Between Depression and Substance Use
Depression and addiction are related in a variety of ways, as they are co-occurring conditions. They also have multiple overlapping symptoms, so it is important to seek professional help to identify both conditions. A professional can create an effective treatment path tailored to your needs.
Some of the shared symptoms of depression and drug use include:
- Genetic predisposition
- Poor socioeconomic conditions
- Environmental and life changes
Any combination of these symptoms could indicate you are experiencing depression or a substance use disorder. Because there are many overlapping factors between depression and substance use, diagnosing both conditions requires professional help.
While many believe depression causes a substance use disorder, this is not always the case. Women are more prone to developing a substance use disorder due to depression, but men typically develop a substance use disorder and suffer from depression as a result of their alcohol or drug use.
Understanding the shared symptoms of depression and substance use can result in successful treatment. While drug or alcohol use is easier to identify, diagnosing depression with substance use takes a professional. Finding an experienced and trustworthy rehabilitation center is the best way to start your journey on the road to recovery.
How Gateway Foundation Treats Substance Use Disorders
At Gateway Foundation, we’ve provided the Illinois area with effective treatment options for over 50 years. Our team of professionals offers quality evidence-based treatments with positive outcomes to ensure your road to recovery is as comfortable as possible.
When you come to Gateway Foundation for help, we’re with you for life. Our experts will create an effective treatment path to suit your needs and diagnose the core cause of your substance use disorder, such as depression, trauma and anxiety. By understanding the underlying cause, our treatment can provide long-lasting results.
For more information about our treatment for substance use and depression, contact us today to receive care tailored to your individual needs.