“Depression” is a word we hear and use a lot, probably without knowing what it fully entails. For that reason, when someone has a real case of clinical depression, it’s easy to brush it off, saying that they’re just having a bad day, or they’re in a funk and they’ll snap out of it sooner or later. But the truth is that depression can be as debilitating and devastating as a physical injury, and victims of depression don’t have the luxury of choosing to feel better about themselves. There is, however, always hope, and depression treatment has saved many lives and families from the depths of a serious mental illness.
What Is Depression?
At some point in our lives, we all feel emotionally down. As time passes, the feelings pass, and we feel better about ourselves. But imagine being trapped in that “down” feeling. Imagine seeing your friends and family enjoying life, but no matter how hard you try, and no matter how hard you want to, you can’t shake off feelings of sorrow, worthlessness, guilt, or misery, unfounded as though they may be. And imagine that this persists for weeks, months, or even years. Your job performance and academic work suffer. You can’t enjoy hobbies and activities the way you used to. You can never work up the energy or the mood to spend time with friends and family. You feel tired all the time, but you can never get a good night’s sleep. You can’t focus or concentrate on anything. All you can do, no matter how much you want to do otherwise, is think about how agonizing your day to day existence is. Broadly speaking, this would be what clinical depression is like. This type of depression – also known as major depression, clinical depression, or major depressive disorder – is one of the most common mental health conditions. Per Harvard Health Publications, about one in 10 Americans (almost 31 million people) have some form of depression.
Depression and Addiction
Depression and substance abuse go hand in hand; many sufferers try to find respite from their crushing depression by using drugs or alcohol to alleviate their misery. Instead, however, they find themselves drowning in both their depression and an addiction to whatever substance they have chosen as their poison. This – the dual presentation of a mental health condition and a substance abuse problem – is known as a co-occurring disorder. Both the mental health condition and the substance abuse problem must be addressed simultaneously. Circle of Hope does just that using a combination of the following treatment programs:
Addressing a mental health condition and a substance abuse problem simultaneously involves weaning the patient off whatever drug or alcohol they are using, a process known as detoxification. This can be very uncomfortable and should not be attempted without careful, hands-on supervision by medical professionals, who can administer carefully prescribed anti-anxiety medication or antidepressants (if necessary) to ease the process as much as possible.
The following are the programs that are available after the detoxification phase:
- Residential inpatient treatment: Close monitoring around the clock by a skilled, compassionate team that creates individual recovery plans and incorporates various therapies
- Partial hospitalization program (PHP): Similar to residential treatment (24-hour nursing staff) with ongoing support, but with decreased monitoring
- Intensive outpatient program (IOP): Includes valuable coping skills and a supportive recovery community at home or in a housing location
- Outpatient program: Comparable to IOP with access to recovery specialists and strengthening necessary life skills
To address both issues, therapy should follow detox treatment. Cognitive-behavioral therapy is a very popular option for this stage of treatment, as the patient will learn to recognize the patterns of thought and behavior that previously triggered a depressive attack or substance abuse; only now, they would be taught healthier and better ways of dealing with those triggers. Cognitive-behavioral therapy does not guarantee that a patient will never feel depressed again, but it offers tools and skills to use to reduce the frequency, the potency, and the length of future depressive attacks. Depression can be an insidious disease, but there’s no reason anybody should have to abide by a lifetime of mental and emotional suffering.