Is there more to the sadness that you feel than meets the eye? Maybe you’re struggling with a persistent form of depressive episodes. What is chronic depression? How does it tie in with substance abuse?
What is Chronic Depression as Defined by Medical Professionals?
Experts in the field of psychiatry refer to chronic depression when discussing a mood disorder lasting for about two years. It doesn’t appear to have genetic causes although genes could predispose you to experience it. It may occur when you’re dealing with significant stressors. Symptoms include almost daily sadness, significant but unintentional weight changes, and a lack of energy.
You may find it hard to get out of bed. Maybe you also have a difficult time making decisions at work or home. This problem then adds to feelings of hopelessness and ineffectiveness. Some people with chronic depression may contemplate suicide.
How Depression and Addiction Connect
Depression isn’t something you can quickly pinpoint. After a while of dealing with it, it becomes the new normal. You deal with it as best as you can. Frequently, this means self-medicating.
You don’t think of your sadness, low self-esteem, and persistent lack of energy as a treatable condition. Instead, you just see it as life. Therefore, you have a few drinks to numb your feelings of sadness.
However, the alcohol makes things worse. It’s a nervous system depressant that amplifies your negative feelings. Using stimulants also doesn’t make you feel better. You might temporarily lift your spirits, but the depression returns soon enough.
Treating Addiction and Depression
In the past, you would have had to overcome your addiction before seeking depression treatment. The difference in timing frequently led to a relapse. For this reason, good-quality Pennsylvania addiction recovery services centers offer dual diagnosis assistance. You receive care for the depression as well as the substance abuse at the same time.
Therapists work with you to put together a customized protocol. Examples of possible modalities include:
- Family counseling, which lets loved ones become active members of your support network
- Psychiatric counseling that addresses your reasons for using as well as the depression
- Pharmacological support as needed
- Group therapy as a means for receiving peer support and building self-esteem
- 12 Step program attendance that encourages relapse prevention strategizing
By the way, treating a co-occurring condition doesn’t just refer to depression. Other program participants may deal with anxiety or PTSD. Because therapists focus on customization of your care, they can address each client’s needs. As your treatment needs change, it’s always a good idea to change the care protocol as well.
This step encourages program participants to persist in personal growth. Moreover, it lets therapists challenge them all the while nurturing their efforts. If you can envision yourself healing in this environment, you’re in good company. A good-quality rehab program is an effective way of overcoming drug abuse as well as underlying mental health conditions.
Who Can Help?
What is chronic depression if not an opportunity to reach out for help and make positive changes? At Steps to Recovery, caring therapists want to assist you. Call 866-488-8684 today for immediate assistance.