What Are The Signs Of Depression?
Most people do not realize the link between depression and addiction and how they are often closely intertwined. Many people struggling with depression can turn to alcohol and drugs to self-medicate to deal with the signs of depression. Conversely, people with alcohol or substance use disorders can develop depression.
What Is Depression?
It is normal to go through short periods where we experience loneliness, sadness, and grief. Feeling blue and depressed is part of life when we are hurt, injured, or lose a loved one. But, when these feelings do not dissipate and last for long periods, or you feel utterly overwhelmed, then it is time to seek medical help for depression.
While men and women can both experience depression, there are some differences in how depression manifests between the genders. For example, menstruation, pregnancy, and menopause can all be causes of depression in women. For men, the causes of depression could be related to traumatic childhood experiences and the inability to manage excessive levels of stress and anxiety healthily.
Signs of Depression in Men
Some of the more common signs of depression in men include:
- Memory problems
- Problems concentrating/focusing
- Obsessive-compulsive thoughts/actions
- Racing thoughts
- Digestive issues
- Sexual dysfunction and erectile issues
- Low testosterone levels
- Chest tightness
- Heart palpitations
- Engaging in risky behaviors
- Contemplating suicide
- Misusing drugs and alcohol
On the other hand, women might have similar symptoms or others.
Signs of Depression in Women
The signs of depression in women can include:
- Changes in appetite
- Physical exhaustion
- Mental exhaustion
- Crying for no reason
- Overly self-critical
- Frequent mood swings
- Unable to feel happy
- Sense of not having control
- Fluctuating hormone levels
- Misusing drugs and alcohol
Regardless of your gender, you might feel “off” or different, and this could be a sign of something going wrong.
How to Tell If You’re Depressed
The best way to tell if you’re depressed is to determine if you are experiencing any of the signs of depression mentioned previously. You should also examine your relationship with drugs and alcohol and ask yourself the following:
- Do you drink when overly stressed or when you feel sad or unhappy?
- Do you take drugs prescribed for someone else to help with anxiety or depressive symptoms?
- Are you extremely critical of yourself and your behaviors?
- Do you find relief and feel more normal when drinking and using drugs?
- Is it difficult to get out of bed and start your day?
- Do you turn to food as a source of comfort when overly anxious, sad, or depressed?
- Do you feel guilty after using food as a source of comfort?
- Have you lost all sense of enjoyment in hobbies and activities you like doing?
- Do you find pleasure in engaging in risky behaviors?
- Do you think about different ways to inflict self-harm on yourself?
If you answered “yes” to some of these questions, you might have depression or another mental health issue. It is best to seek treatment or discuss your concerns with your primary care physician. Often, your doctor will be the first person to contact to rule out any potential medical issues that could also cause these behaviors and symptoms.
Dangers of Self-Medicating Depression
When you self-medicate and use drugs and alcohol to deal with depressive symptoms, you could be putting yourself on the path to addiction. While the effects of drugs and alcohol can bring short-term relief, when they wear off, you can feel worse than you did previously.
The more you use drugs or drink to self-medicate, the more your body is tolerant of the substances. So, it will take larger amounts to achieve relief from depressive symptoms. Unfortunately, the increase in drug and alcohol misuse can cause your mood to worsen and increase the severity of your depression.
Do Men or Women Self-Medicate More Often?
It is not uncommon for both men and women to turn to drugs and alcohol to self-medicate their depressive symptoms. However, since men are less lily to discuss their feelings openly, they are more likely to self-medicate to cope with their depression.
Furthermore, men often do not recognize the signs of depression and may not understand the cause of these feelings and thoughts. As a result, they are more likely to attempt to push them aside. When that does not work, they turn to alcohol or drugs to alleviate their symptoms.
Additionally, many men have been taught that men should appear strong, stoic, and tough and never show any signs of weaknesses. Therefore, admitting one feels sad and depressed would go against the societal norms most men associate with.
Should I Seek Help for Depression?
Suppose you notice the signs of depression are impacting your quality of life and preventing you from experiencing happiness or doing things you want to do. You may also see your relationships with others starting to suffer because you are abusing drugs and alcohol.
Therefore, it is beneficial for your mental, emotional, and physical health and well-being to seek mental health support from a professional with expertise in treating depression and substance use disorders.
Treating Signs of Depression in Beverly Hills, CA
At MD Home Detox, we offer at-home mental health treatment and detox programs to help you stabilize your mental health in Beverly Hills and the Los Angeles area. In addition, our concierge-level programs allow you to customize your treatment plan to fit your specific needs. Once you have been safely detoxed from substances and your depression is stabilized, we can help you continue treating your depression, thanks to our extensive network of referred professionals. For further information about our depression treatment and detox programs or to start treatment, contact us today.