October has been designated as National Depression Education and Awareness Month. It is a time to focus on making the public aware of this mental health issue, its causes, the fact that treatment is available and how it affects people who live with it.
Depression is a very common form of mental illness. It’s important to understand that it can happen to people even when there is no family history of depression. It can be triggered by relationship issues, financial problems, a serious loss (which includes loss of one’s health) or major life change (even ones that are welcome and desired).
This mental health concern occurs due to a number of factors, including genetics, a person’s psychological makeup and environmental considerations. It is never someone’s fault, any more than developing any other type of illness would be.
Signs And Symptoms Of Depression
Depression is not the same as feeling sad. These symptoms must be present for at least two weeks in order to meet the criteria for someone to be diagnosed with this mental health condition.
- Feeling empty or disengaged
- Feeling hopeless or worthless
- Lack of interest in activities that used to bring pleasure
- Difficulty concentrating or remembering
- Difficulty making decisions
- Lack of appetite or overeating
- Feeling guilty
- Irritability or bursts of anger
- Thoughts or talking about death or suicide
Relationship Between Mental Illness And Addiction
There is a known commonality between mental illness and addiction. Some individuals affected by mental illness turn to drugs or alcohol in an effort to self-medicate. They may not immediately recognize their symptoms as being those of a mental health concern and are simply looking for a way to feel normal. Substance use may also mask the symptoms in the early stages of depression. With other individuals, their mental illness can actually be triggered by the substance use.
Do You Or A Loved One Need Help For Mental Illness And Addiction?
Are you wondering what to do if your loved one is suffering from mental illness and addiction? You treat them like anyone else who needs help with an illness. Encourage them to get professional help. Suggesting that they get a checkup (and offering to accompany them to make sure they keep the appointment, if necessary) is a good first step.
Contact The Dunes East Hampton to learn about our treatment programs for clients who have co-occurring disorders (mental illness and addiction). Our staff is experienced at treating both conditions concurrently and helping clients move into long-term recovery.