Depression isn’t just feeling blue or staying in bed on a cloudy day. It’s much more than that. Depression is defined as a mood disorder that causes persistent feelings of sadness and loss of interest. Despite some people believing it’s not a real illness, the medical community has confirmed it is, and requires medical diagnosis and treatment. Depression is often treated in combination with addiction to drugs and alcohol. Often depression can encourage addictive behaviors or start because of an addiction. The truth is depression can be crippling and is as serious as any other brain disorder, especially when combined with drug and alcohol addiction. Here are 5 things you probably didn’t know about depression.
1. It can be made up of many small symptoms
A depressed person goes through a range of emotions. It’s not just sadness, but also worthlessness, hopelessness, anxiety, anger, numbness, and even extreme feelings of suicide. These symptoms can also be seen in the simplest of things, for example: lack of concentration, forgetfulness, irritability, negativity, wanting to eat all the time or never, and general loss of enthusiasm.
2. It’s not a phase
Often, people suffering from depression are told to just, “get over it” or “cheer up.” These statements can actually make a depressed person feel worse because they can’t control how they feel and they spend a lot of time wondering why they feel the way they do. It’s not just something they are going through, it’s a condition that needs treatment and in some cases, medication. A person with depression needs understanding, support, and love.
3. Antidepressants are ok in recovery
It’s not uncommon for depressed people to have a dual diagnosis with addiction. When this is the case, some people who are in recovery from addiction believe it’s not ok to take medication such as antidepressants because it alters their chemical makeup. Antidepressants work to correct the off-balance chemicals in a person’s brain. These are necessary in order to maintain stable recovery from addiction and lead a happy, successful life. It’s important to understand that you should not feel ashamed or less than because you are taking needed medication.
4. You feel alone even when you are not
Despite knowing that you aren’t alone and being around supportive family and friends, you can still feel alone when you’re depressed. Depression has the power to convince you that you are alone and that no one understands. Even if you are never alone, depression can skew everything you know to be true. It’s important to know that you’re not alone and there are resources that can help you. The road to recovery can be difficult, but it’s worth it.
5. It manifests differently in every person
It’s easy to believe that depression is the same in everyone who has it, but this is not the case. Some people may isolate, some may not. Some people may feel a lack of enthusiasm in everything they do, others may continue to be motivated but feel their pain elsewhere. Some people with depression experience physical symptoms like crying spells, weakness, suppressed appetite, and increased amount of sleep, while others primarily experience sadness and negative thoughts. No matter what way it manifests, depression is a real condition and can be debilitating.
Thousands have been diagnosed with depression and addiction and have taken the steps to overcome these conditions. Being mindful and educating yourself are the first steps in understanding addiction and any of its co-occurring disorders. Depression is not something you just have to deal with. Help is available.
This blog was contributed from the Orlando Recovery Center blog.