Everyone feels sad or anxious from time to time; however, the feelings associated with depression are far more intense and long lasting than the “ups and downs” of everyday life. The feelings interfere with day-to-day activities in families, school, at work, or in other social situations. Sometimes depression involves irritability, but it may also include physical symptoms such as fatigue, sleep difficulties, and weight changes. In addition, it can be the cause of hopelessness, guilt, and suicidal thoughts.

Mental health includes our emotional, psychological, and social well-being, affecting how we think, feel, and act. The state of our mental health also helps determine how we handle stress, relate to others, and how we make choices in our everyday lives. Because mental health issues can negatively impact our lives, it’s especially important to address them when treating addiction. The goal at The Meadows Malibu is to help each client gain the courage to face difficult issues, heal from emotional trauma, overcome grief and loss, and become accountable for their own feelings, behaviors, and recovery.

Depression in the USA statistic

What You Need to Know About Depression

Depression is a mental disorder that is marked by a sad, empty, hopeless, or helpless mood that is present almost every day and lasts most of the day for at least two weeks. This condition may happen in a single episode or be a recurrent condition. Individuals experiencing this may be diagnosed with major depression (which can be mild, moderate, or severe) or persistent depression.

Depression is more than just feeling down or “blue” for a few days. It’s a serious medical illness that involves the brain. Often expressed as persistent unhappiness, hopelessness or a loss of interest in usual activities, depression can be a debilitating psychological disorder that leads to difficulty concentrating, insomnia, oversleeping, fatigue, anxiety, and an overwhelming isolation. And these feelings don’t just go away. They persist and interfere with everyday life.

Depression symptoms can include:

  •       Sadness
  •       Loss of interest or pleasure in activities you used to enjoy
  •       Change in weight
  •       Difficulty sleeping or oversleeping
  •       Energy loss
  •       Feelings of worthlessness
  •       Thoughts of death or suicide

More than 20 million people in the U.S. have depression, and data from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) shows that 11.4% of those between the ages of 12-17 had at least one major depressive episode in the past year.

Depression usually starts between the ages of 15 and 30, and it is much more common in women, according to mentalhealth.gov. Women can also suffer from postpartum depression after the birth of a baby, and some people experience seasonal affective disorder (SAD) in the winter months. Depression is also part of bipolar disorder.

Woman with Depression - The Meadows Malibu

What Causes Depression?

Those dealing with depression may understandably want answers about where the disorder came from. While researchers and healthcare professionals do not completely understand what causes depression, they agree that it is unlikely that a single factor is to blame. Instead, depression is caused by a combination of factors such as genetics (for example, a family history of someone having depression), chemical changes in the brain, and/or environmental factors. Traumatic experiences can also contribute to the development of psychiatric disorders. Working with a trained healthcare professional is important to help assess your condition and understand how to start moving forward.

Depression & Substance Abuse

Although substance use disorders commonly occur alongside other mental illnesses, that doesn’t mean that one caused the other, even if one appeared first. In fact, establishing which came first or why can be difficult. According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), common risk factors can contribute to both mental illness and substance use, and mental illnesses can contribute to drug use and substance abuse. Conversely, alcohol or drug addiction can contribute to the development of mental illness.

Some mental health conditions have even been identified as risk factors for developing a substance use disorder, according to NIDA. For example, some research suggests that people with mental illness may use drugs or alcohol as a form of self-medication. Although some drugs may seem to help with mental illness symptoms for a time, they usually make the symptoms worse. Additionally, when a person develops a mental illness, brain changes may enhance the rewarding effects of substances, predisposing the person to continue using the substance.

Treating Depression

The good news is that there are many evidence-based medications and therapies that are effective for treating depression. Depression is usually best managed by a combination of medication, behavioral therapy, and family or peer support, all working together to help improve coping skills, manage symptoms, and improve daily functioning.

Each person reacts differently to the various depression medications on the market, so the prescribing healthcare professional may need to try different doses and types of medication before landing on the most effective approach with the least amount of side-effects. Warning: This process may require patience!

Healthcare professionals may also recommend behavioral therapy, Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT), or other forms of psychotherapy as standalone treatments or in combination with medications. This kind of treatment helps to enhance resiliency skills and develop behaviors and routines that can protect from experiencing frequent, severe, or prolonged symptoms. Peer and family support can also help patients stay focused on reaching their treatment and recovery goals.

Therapy for depression

Treatment decisions should be made based on several factors and should always take into account the individual’s health goals and ambitions. It is important to talk to your healthcare providers about other types of treatment, such as complementary medicine, as well as programs that can provide additional support. Good self-care is also important to the treatment process, including a healthy diet, exercise, sleep, and abstinence from illicit drugs. Understanding how treatment works will help you to play an active role in your recovery.

Find out more from these trusted sources…

National Alliance on Mental Illness
National Institute of Mental Health
National Institute on Drug Abuse
Depression and Bipolar Support Alliance


Get answers to your questions

If you or a loved one would like to know more about treatment at The Meadows Malibu, please give us a call to speak to one of our trained intake coordinators for assistance. 

Call 833-757-5696