We all have bad days — after all, it’s normal to feel sad or down when something upsets us. But when the bad days begin to outweigh the good and feelings of sadness don’t go away, there may be something more serious going on. A persistently low mood could indicate depression, a serious mental health concern that affects how you feel and makes it difficult to focus on school or work, have healthy relationships or simply enjoy your life to the fullest. The good news is, depression is not a burden you have to carry alone — it affects millions of people worldwide and with the right treatment, it can get better. Although depression is a complex condition with no single cause or cure, advancements in our knowledge and understanding of mental health has led to more effective treatments that can help manage symptoms with fewer side effects.

What is Depression?

Depression is much more than feeling sad or having a bad day. It’s a mood disorder that can affect anyone regardless of age, gender, beliefs, ethnicity or education, even though who appear to have it all. When someone is depressed, their days are often permeated by intense feelings of sadness, hopelessness and worthlessness so severe that it interferes with their quality of life, making it difficult to manage daily responsibilities or function normally. Finding the motivation for the simplest tasks can seem impossible and harmful thoughts or behaviors can begin to take over. These depressive episodes can last for weeks and may come and go, or symptoms can persist for longer depending on what kind of depression you have. Either way, it’s not something that you can “get over” or “snap out” of on your own — depression requires proper treatment and the guidance of professionals to successfully manage symptoms.

According to the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH), almost 7 percent of adults in the U.S. experience at least one major depressive episode a year, making it one of the most common mental health disorders. Despite this, depression remains shrouded in stigma, preventing many people from seeking help the help they need. By learning more about depression and acknowledging the importance of mental health, we can begin to move past these stigmas and have an open, honest discussion about depression and how it affects the lives of those it touches.

Some signs of depression may include:

  • Feelings of emptiness and sadness
  • Persistent low energy
  • Lack of self-esteem
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Poor memory
  • Disrupted sleep patterns
  • Eating more or less than normal
  • Restlessness
  • Loss of interest in activities and hobbies
  • Feeling hopeless and lost
  • Lack of motivation
  • Irritability
  • Avoiding friends and family
  • Physical aches and pains
  • Suicidal thoughts or ideations

What Causes Depression?

Depression is a complex condition and there is no one cause for it. A number of risk factors are associated with mental health disorders and although we don’t know why some people develop depression and others don’t, it’s thought to arise from a combination of genetic, lifestyle, biological and environmental factors. In some cases, it may be the result of trauma or abuse, while in others there is no obvious event or experience that brought it on. Some causes and risk factors for depression may include:

  • Major life changes
  • Brain chemistry
  • Hormonal fluctuations
  • Medical conditions
  • Traumatic or painful experiences
  • Family history of depression
  • Substance use

Regardless of the cause of depression, with proper care it can be treated and effectively managed. Some factors such as the presence of a co-occurring substance use disorder can complicate the process, but comprehensive treatment that acknowledges the full scope of each resident’s needs can help promote lasting recovery.

How are Depression and Addiction Related?

Substance use and mental health disorders are closely linked, with those who experience mood-related disorders such as depression being twice as likely to suffer from addiction. In fact, an estimated one-third of all individuals with major depression also have a substance use disorder, which can exacerbate the symptoms of both if neither is properly addressed. Why this happens isn’t fully understood, but substance use can trigger changes in the brain that lead to the onset of mental health concerns such as anxiety or depression. Other times, an individual may self-medicate with drugs and alcohol to help cope with their mental health symptoms, which leads to worsening problems as addiction takes hold.

Regardless of which came first, when mental health and addiction appear together, it’s known as a dual diagnosis. Treating residents with a dual diagnosis can be a complicated process, requiring comprehensive care that addresses both disorders simultaneously. At Journey Hillside Tarzana, we understand the complex relationship between depression and addiction. Our treatment programs have been carefully designed to give residents the opportunity to explore how their mental health and substance disorders relate so they can develop strategies for managing them. With deeply personalized treatment plans and a variety of effective modalities, we’ve seamlessly integrated mental health care into our curriculum to ensure a well-rounded experience that helps dual diagnosis residents get back on track and learn the skills they need to move toward the happy, healthy life they deserve.

Treating Addiction and Depression at Journey HIllside Tarzana

When a client suffers from both substance use and mental health disorders, treating them together is essential to improve their chances at long-term recovery. If a dual diagnosis resident receives treatment for only one of their concerns, the underlying factors will still be there when they return to their daily lives. At Journey Hillside Tarzana, we understand the complex relationship between depression and addiction and have integrated mental health care into our treatment programs to address the full scope of each client’s mental, physical and emotional health needs. Some of the cutting-edge therapies and effective techniques we employ include:

  • Individual and group therapy
  • Trauma services
  • 12-step integration
  • Holistic modalities
  • Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT)
  • Dialectical behavioral therapy (DBT)
  • Medicated-assisted treatment (MAT)

By emphasizing a holistic, interdisciplinary approach, our experienced team of professionals goes above and beyond to help clients explore how their substance disorders and mental health relate so they can develop effective strategies for managing them. Our programs ensure that clients are equipped to handle future triggers, stressors and symptoms, allowing them to achieve deep and lasting recovery for years to come.

Contact Journey Hillside Tarzana

Journey Hillside Tarzana is an addiction recovery facility in the beautiful, quiet hills of Los Angeles, California, offering clients the peace and serenity they need to heal. We provide a variety of specialized treatment programs and a highly individualized approach that respects the unique journey of each client while helping them to find their path to recovery. Our treatment programs have been carefully designed to empower clients as they learn the skills they need to overcome addiction and effectively manage their depression to achieve the happy, healthy life they deserve. If you or someone you love is struggling with a co-occurring substance use disorder and depression we can help. Contact or call Journey Hillside Tarzana today at 833-7JOURNEY (833-756-8763) to learn more about our programs.