It’s said that over 40% of individuals who get help for an addiction have a co-occurring mental health disorder. Two of the most commonly diagnosed mental health conditions in addiction treatment patients are depression and bipolar disorder. Because mental health conditions can contribute to addiction behaviors, it’s vital to address these conditions during addiction treatment. And, to develop alternative ways to managing these conditions to provide a healthy lifestyle free from the use of addictive substances.
Two Common Co-Occurring Disorders
Because of the similarities between these two mental health conditions, many may not be able to identify which mental health conditions they or a loved one is struggling with. While correct diagnosis by a mental health professional is the surest way to know what conditions you’re dealing with, it can also help to be able to begin identifying signs and symptoms of these disorders in your own life. This way, you can choose the best treatment, medical professionals, and resources needed to manage healing and recovery.
The Difference Between Depression and Bipolar Disorder
Basically, bipolar disorder is a specific form of depression. So, they are indeed very similar conditions. There are many different types of depressive disorders. And, identifying them can help individuals realize the specifics of their condition to get specialized care. So, if you’re diagnosed with depression, it’s best to understand which type of depressive disorder you’re living with. And, the specific characteristics of this condition.
Defining Major Depression
Major depressive disorder is what most people think of when they hear the word “depression”. It’s diagnosed to individuals who have experienced prolonged symptoms for over 2 weeks or more. These symptoms may include feelings of sadness, hopelessness, anger, shame, and grief.
Other symptoms of major depression can include:
- Frequent crying
- Isolation and avoidance behaviors
- Fluctuations in weight
- Obsession with death, dying, and/or suicide
- Mood swings
- General apathy
- Exhaustion and fatigue
- Lowered self-esteem
- Poor hygiene
The Characteristics of Bipolar Disorder
Yes, bipolar disorder patients do experience instances of depression. However, the defining characteristic of bipolar disorder is actually the opposite of depression; manic episodes. The term bipolar literally means two of the opposites. So, while a diagnosed patient may feel depressed and sad for a few weeks, the next few weeks they may experience excitement, creativity, and other manic traits.
To help identify manic episodes, it can help to know the symptoms of a manic episode. Some characteristics of a manic episode a person diagnosed with bipolar disorder may experience can include:
- Impaired judgment
- Impulsive behaviors
- Switching rapidly between ideas
- Grandiose thoughts of oneself
- Audio and visual hallucinations
- Switching between optimism and pessimism
- General unease
Some Other Types of Depressive Disorders
Certainly, there are more depressive disorders than just major depression and bipolar disorder. So, if you are displaying symptoms of neither of these two disorders, you may be dealing with a different type of depressive disorder. Some of these include:
Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD): This type of depression affects individuals in cold areas as it’s thought to be stimulated by a lack of sunlight and vitamin D.
Perinatal Depression: This depressive disorder affects women who are pregnant or have recently been pregnant. Before the birth of a baby, it may be referred to as prenatal depression. And, after the birth of a baby, it may be referred to as postpartum depression.
Dysthymia: Similar to major depression, this disorder is characterized by the same symptoms, only less severe.
Psychotic Depression: This type of depressive disorder portrays symptoms of psychosis, hallucinations, and delusions.
Treating Addiction and Mental Health Disorders Together
If you think that you or a loved one is struggling with both a depressive disorder and addiction together, it’s best to address them both at the same time. Here at Diablo Valley Drug & Alcohol Services, we give individuals diagnosed with both mental health conditions and substance abuse disorder the needed tools to gain a life of recovery.
If you’re ready to get help for both addiction and a depressive disorder, we can help. Contact us today to talk to us about starting your journey to health and sobriety.