Early Signs and Symptoms of Depression
When you think of a person with depression, you may think they feel sad all the time, but that is not what it is really like. Major depressive disorder often manifests as more of a feeling of blandness, apathy, and a lack of energy.
Some early warning signs of depression include:
- Experiencing unexplained aches and pains
- Being unable to concentrate
- Feeling apathy or not caring about things you used to
- Sleep issues like insomnia or sleeping too much
- Experiencing a low sex drive
- Fatigue or low mood
- Feelings of guilt, pessimism or worthlessness
- Changes in appetite with weight gain or weight loss
- Alcohol and drug abuse
- Digestive problems that don’t get better
- Moodiness and irritability
People with depression will often not notice the signs and symptoms when they first show up, because, on TV, social media, and movies, it is often shown as a person lying in bed, eating ice cream, and crying. For some, it manifests as a substance use disorder, and for others, it may look like anger or manifest as physical health problems. For this reason, diagnosing the major depressive disorder can be difficult. If you have noticed even a few of these signs and symptoms of hidden depression in yourself, talk to your doctor or a mental health professional. Clinical depression does not need to take over your life.
Who is at Risk for Developing Depression?
People most at risk of developing clinical depression are those who:
- Have mental illness in their family
- Have experienced a loss
- Have low self-esteem
- Are going through a period of conflict or personal turmoil
- Have long-term health problems
- Are going through major life changes like divorce or changing careers
- Have money problems or other major social stresses
- Have experienced past physical, sexual, or emotional abuse
- Have little support
- Are an older adult, especially women between the ages of 45 and 65
- Have sleep disorders
- Are taking certain medications including pain relievers, sedatives, and steroids
- Are addicted to drugs or have been abusing substances
When to Seek Professional Help for Depression
Signs and symptoms of depression that are indicators that you should seek treatment for major depressive disorder include:
- Feeling depressed or showing depressive symptoms for two weeks or longer
- Feeling hopeless
- Your episodes of depression are keeping you from leading a normal life
- Having suicidal thoughts or having had a suicide attempt
Are Depression and Substance Use Disorders Related?
Many people with major depression and other mental health issues may turn to drugs and alcohol, self-medicating as a coping mechanism to try and change the way they feel. Substance abuse can also trigger brain changes that can worsen preexisting mental health issues or trigger depression, and some substances can cause medications to stop working correctly. People who have suffered trauma or stress have a higher risk of developing these co-occurring conditions.
If you are suffering from depression and a substance use disorder, a dual-diagnosis treatment plan can help. Dual diagnosis is a type of addiction treatment that incorporates specific therapy and psychiatric medications within an addiction treatment program, treating both issues at the same time, as they likely stem from the same underlying issues and affect one another. Common mental illnesses found alongside addiction include
- Mood disorders
- Seasonal affective disorder
- Postpartum depression and other depression disorders
- Anxiety disorder
- Bipolar disorder (manic depression)
- Post-traumatic stress disorder
If you or a loved one has symptoms of depression, is showing signs of suicide ideation, and/or has been abusing drugs and alcohol, call TruPath. We belong to a network of addiction treatment centers offering the full continuum of care and treatment options including mental health treatments, holistic therapies, behavioral therapies, talking therapy, health care, counseling, group therapy, etc. We treat depression at the same time as any substance use issues you have to stop the cycle of abuse for good. Speak to an intake counselor today to find out more about treating depression in adults and how we can work with you to begin to heal the cause of depression and addiction.