What Causes Depression?
Depression is one of the most common psychiatric disorders. It affects people of all ages and ethnic groups but can be particularly serious in adolescents and young adults. In sobriety, depression can affect how you feel, think, and behave. The condition can cause both emotional and physical problems. This is not the same as having a bad day or feeling down for a short while.
Clinical defined depression is marked by emotional, physical, and behavioral symptoms that can be severe and debilitating. These symptoms must be present for at least two weeks to meet the criteria for Major Depressive Disorder.
Immediate Help For Depression
How Can I Tell If I Have Serious Depression?
Although depression affects each person differently, there are some common symptoms such as sadness or despair; anxiety; irritability; loss of interest in usual activities or hobbies; changes in appetite or sleep patterns; and thoughts about death or suicide, also known as suicidal ideation. It is essential to understand that depression is not a sign of personal weakness or a character flaw despite the social stigma attached to it.
No one cause or factor results in depression. It is beneficial to consider the “causes” as “risk factors.” These can contribute to the development of depression, making it more and more likely that one will develop the condition. Some common risk factors are:
- Genetic vulnerability: If there is a medical history of persons in your immediate family struggling with depression, there is a risk of developing depression for those who come further down the line.
- Difficult life events: Whether it be the death of a loved one, a relationship ended, or even a job loss, to list examples; emotional difficulties and stress can be, if not managed and addressed, act as a catalyst or risk factor for the development of depression.
- Physical illness: Illnesses can be debilitating. Persons dealing with severe and chronic physical illness conditions have a much higher chance of experiencing depression.
- Acute Trauma: Traumatic experiences are a risk factor for depression and Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). Incidents such as suffering domestic abuse, a car accident, sexual assault, or even taking part in active combat during a war are all scenarios that prime a person to be under such mental and emotional duress that they develop depression.
- Substance Use Disorder: A co-existing condition, this commonly refers to an alcohol or drug addiction. Often, SUD is developed to cope with the internal chaos one may feel subject to. Ironically enough, this co-existing condition then contributes to the further depressive spiral as persons can often feel deep shame and helplessness regarding how dependent they become on the substance.
- Neurodivergency: Persons with ADHD or Autism are inherently at risk for depressive disorders. This factor is multiplied manyfold for persons undiagnosed with their condition. This is simple; neurodivergent people experience the world differently on fundamental levels compared to neurotypical persons. Add the fact that the world and many of its systems are designed with neurotypicals in mind; you’ll quickly realize how neurodivergent persons who are undiagnosed navigate the world feeling inherently less capable while feeling like they have to work twice as hard.
What Is Major Depression and When to Seek Help
In any given year, about 7% of the population will have an episode of major depression. Women are more likely than men to experience major depression. It usually starts in the late teens or early adulthood and can last for weeks, months, or years.
Major depression is characterized by a persistent feeling of sadness, loss of interest in activities once enjoyed, and other symptoms that can interfere with daily life. Some of the most common symptoms include:
- Lowered mood or irritability.
- Diminished interest or pleasure in all (or almost all) activities for most of the day. This includes hobbies.
- Change in weight or appetite (decrease or increase) consistently.
- Sleep disturbances or insomnia.
If you have had any of the signs or symptoms exceeding two weeks, one of the top actions to take for depression can be to talk to your doctor. The condition does not need to be a death sentence. Still, it should not be underestimated as, given enough of a chance to spiral without intervention, it can become severe and debilitating.
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Is Sobriety Depression Common?
The term “sobriety depression” was initially coined by Alcoholics Anonymous (AA). While this term is not recognized as a clinical diagnosis, it has been used to describe the emotional state of those who have recently stopped a substance abuse habit. Sobriety depression is a form of major depression that occurs during or after periods of abstinence from alcohol or other substances.
It’s important to note that the substance itself doesn’t cause sobriety depression — it is caused by the stress and changes that come with stopping the habitual usage of the substance. Depression is the most common symptom in the early stages of alcohol withdrawal. It’s estimated that up to 80 percent of people who are detoxing from substance use disorder experience symptoms of depression.
When The Pink Cloud Lifts: Having A Sober Action Plan
“The Pink Cloud” is a term used to describe a phenomenon that people often report experiencing with rehabilitation from substance abuse. This can be a difficult period for those who have recently completed rehab. The Pink Cloud is characterized by unattached euphoria. A person experiencing this may feel that they are no longer addicted to drugs or alcohol, beyond the touch of the habit, or even in a more robust mental and emotional place than they objectively are, all of which can lead to a relapse when the veil is inevitably lifted.
The Pink Cloud phase can be an important time for a person trying to quit drinking or using drugs because it can help build confidence in their ability to stay sober. However, it is also important not to get too caught up in the hype of being clean and sober, as this can lead to frustration or disappointment if things don’t go according to plan after this period ends.
The Paradox of Depression In Recovery
Drug use is a coping mechanism for many people who suffer from depression. It can be used to self-medicate the symptoms of depression, but it also contributes to making the symptoms worse. When a person stops using drugs, they are invariably faced with their underlying mental health problems. The paradox of depression in rehabilitation is that many people recovering from addiction find it difficult to feel happy again after years of using drugs or alcohol to escape their mental and emotional pain. They may not know how to deal with their feelings without drugs, or they may not trust themselves enough to try other coping methods. For some people, it can be easier to turn back to drugs than to face what lies ahead in recovery.
This is one of the significant reasons why proper recovery involves treating the underlying issues that likely resulted in the substance abuse habit in the first place.
Addiction Alumni Networks And Sobriety Success
Addiction alumni networks provide support and encouragement for people who have overcome addiction. They are a great way to build a support system, find friends, and get involved in the recovery community. These networks can be local or national and usually have monthly or quarterly meetings.
Many of these organizations meet at local treatment centers, hospitals, and sober houses. Some even offer online forums for members to discuss issues related to sobriety and recovery. There are many ways these networks can aid in the continued sustenance and bolstering of sobriety. Here are some of the most important ones:
- By connecting with other people who have gone through similar struggles, you feel less alone and more understood.
- You will be able to learn from others’ mistakes and successes and avoid making some of the same mistakes yourself.
- You can ask questions about your own recovery process, including how long it will take and what you should expect along the way.
Alumni networks give you access to a support system made up exclusively of people who understand what you’re going through and can offer advice based on their own experiences with sobriety.
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Foundations For Long-Term Sobriety Without Depression
Sobriety without depression is possible, but it takes careful planning, a solid support system, and the right mindset. People who have become sober may still struggle with their moods and emotions. The good news is that there are many things you can do to get yourself back on track. Having active, supportive elements in your life and developing healthy coping habits are essential.
If you recognize that you are experiencing depression, seeking medical intervention in the form of psychotherapy can be critical. You can also make use of developing holistic habits. Some people find meditation helps them calm themselves down when they’re feeling stressed out or anxious.
Other people like yoga because it allows them to exercise while focusing on their breathing patterns instead of thinking about their problems all the time. Regardless of what works for you, the key is that it should be something that does so in a non-destructive, non-harmful way.
Emerald Isle Recovery is here to guide you towards recovery through our holistic methodologies. Contact us today and let’s deal with sobriety depression together. You don’t have to do this alone. We’ll be right by your side, every step of the way.