Depression in adults is widely under-recognized and undertreated. Part of the problem is people assume depression is a normal part of aging. Sadness, grief and temporary “down” moods are normal. However, persistent depression that interferes with a person’s ability to function is not.
Common causes for depression include genetics, brain chemistry, changes in hormones, and stress. For instance, triggers of depression in adults can be due to:
- Loss of friends and loved ones, fewer personal relationships
- Financial difficulties
- Low self-esteem, self-criticism, or pessimism due to declining mobility and functions
- Diagnosis of major illness
- “Vascular depression” restricted blood flow, and stiffening blood vessels
- Abusing alcohol, nicotine, illegal drugs, or prescription drugs
- Taking certain medications, or relying on sleeping pills
In addition, depression can develop with no explanation, even when a person’s life is going well.
Depression and Substance Use
However, Depression is a mental illness that tends to co-occur with substance use. Compared with the general population, people with a mental health disorder are 65-70% more likely to have a substance abuse disorder, and vice versa. One problem will often make the other worse.
Like a two-way street people who are depressed may drink or misuse substances to lift their mood or escape. This only compounds the problem. For example, alcohol, which is a depressant, can increase sadness or fatigue. Or the effects of drugs cause further turmoil in their life.
For that reason, a successful recovery involves treatment for both depression and substance abuse. Sieda Behavioral Health and Treatment Services (BHTS) provide a substance use disorder counseling within a co-occurring framework. We currently have a co-occurring counseling group that deals with substance use disorders and mental health. We also offer a Seeking Safety counseling group for those who have experienced trauma.
Depression and Suicide
One outcome of untreated depression is suicide. Older Americans are disproportionately likely to die by suicide. Of every 100,000 men ages 65 and older, 32.3 died by suicide. This figure is higher than the national average of 13.4 suicides per 100,000 people in the general population. (CDC, 2016) If you are in crisis, call the toll-free, confidential National Suicide Prevention Lifeline (NSPL) at 1-800-273-TALK (8255), available 24 hours a day 7 days a week to anyone.
Sieda Behavioral Health and Treatment Services are here to help. Call 641-683-6747 to learn more about our co-occurring or other counseling groups or visit: https://www.sieda.org/health-well-being/