Everyone feels sad sometimes or has a few days of feeling blue. When it happens a lot or continues for a long time, the question becomes are you depressed or just sad?
Are You Depressed or Just Sad? Signs of Depression
Determining are you depressed or just sad starts with familiarizing yourself with the symptoms of depression. Signs of depression include:
- Feeling sad and hopeless
- Lack of energy
- Sleeping too little or too much
- Change in appetite, often resulting in weight loss or gain
- Experiencing low self-esteem and feeling worthless
- Difficulty thinking, concentrating, and making decisions
- Feeling irritable and easy to anger
- Neglecting family and friends in favor of being alone
- Dwindling work, school, or social lives
- Lowered sex drive
- Suicidal thoughts and attempts
When depression is present, the symptoms typically occur for two weeks or longer. Some people enter a depressive state and come out of it, only to return to it multiple times. Cycles of feeling depressed can also mean a person is experiencing clinical depression.
Depression can also surface through physical ailments that are not easily explained. Many times when a person is depressed, they experience headaches, body aches, and digestive issues. A patient may complain of these symptoms to their doctor, who will treat them as signs of a physical problem, rather than tying them to depression.
What Causes Depression?
Approximately 16 million adults in the U.S. experience at least one major depressive episode a year. Depression may be caused by a chemical imbalance in a person’s brain. It may come about due to a stressful or debilitating situation, including trauma, illness, or an accident. Some people develop postpartum depression or seasonal depression.
Depression may be traced to an abusive childhood or relationship, sexual assault, or molestation. When traumatic events like these happen and the person does not seek help processing them, depression can take over. A family history of depression can factor in, due to genetics often strongly contributing to many mental illnesses.
When a person deals with one mental illness, such as an anxiety disorder or post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), depression may develop alongside it. An addiction to alcohol or drugs can also cause the onset of depression.
How to Treat Depression
If you wonder are you depressed or just sad, your doctor can help make that determination. Schedule an appointment and request a screening for depression. A physician can help eliminate any possible physical components that may be contributing to mood changes. A licensed therapist can also determine if a person suffers from depression.
Once a diagnosis of depression has been made, a treatment plan can be developed. Talk therapy provides a highly successful way for people to treat depression. Regular appointments with a counselor offer an opportunity to discuss ongoing symptoms, as well as strategize how to handle difficult emotions and situations as they arise. Cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) and dialectical behavior therapy (DBT), among other types, provide beneficial ways to address depression.
Prescription medications offer relief from symptoms of depression for millions. Choices including anti-depressants, selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRI), and serotonin-norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors (SNRI) are all popular prescriptions for treating depression. Some people may find they only need medication for a short period of time, while others require long-term usage in order to manage and reduce their symptoms.
For many people, depression reaches a point where controlling it requires a professional treatment program. Some people enter a residential facility while others receive non-residential treatment via outpatient, intensive outpatient, or partial hospitalization programs. Non-residential treatment consists of visiting a facility or hospital from a few to several days a week. Doing so allows a person to still live at home and, if possible, continue to work or attend school, at least part-time.
Using Holistic Approaches
Holistic therapy and activities have become popular in the past couple of decades. On their own or coupled with talk therapy and medication, many people report success in using holistic approaches for relief from depression.
Holistic therapy includes:
- Art therapy
- Music therapy
- Wilderness therapy
- Equine therapy (working with horses)
The Combination of Depression and Addiction
About half of people who suffer from a mental illness also deal with an addiction to alcohol or drugs. When depression and a substance use disorder both occur in one person, it becomes necessary to treat both conditions. Someone with depression often turns to alcohol or drugs to try to alleviate their symptoms and either numb their feelings or elevate their mood.
At the same time, a person who abuses alcohol or drugs may unknowingly contribute to depressive symptoms. Things like a change in sleep patterns or malnutrition that come along with substance use disorders can increase feelings of depression and anxiety. Depression and addiction can be cyclical, making it difficult to change without addressing both situations concurrently.
Addiction and Depression Treatment in Arizona
Continuum Recovery Center offers effective, compassionate treatment for people dealing with depression and addiction to alcohol or drugs. Our facility in beautiful Phoenix offers outpatient, intensive outpatient, and partial hospitalization programs. We embrace elements of holistic therapy to provide a well-rounded approach to changing people’s lives.
If you are ready to discuss getting help for addiction and depression, contact Continuum Recovery Center today.