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Major depressive disorder (MDD) is one of the most common mental health issues diagnosed alongside substance use disorder (SUD). According to the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH), “An estimated 21.0 million adults in the United States had at least one major depressive episode. This number represented 8.3% of all U.S. adults.” The Redpoint Center uses evidence-based and alternative holistic therapies to help people in Boulder County, Colorado, heal from the effects of MDD. 

What Is Major Depressive Disorder?

Major depressive disorder, also called major depression or clinical depression, is a mood disorder characterized by a loss of energy and feelings of sadness. Symptoms exist along a spectrum, and everyone reacts differently to depressive episodes. According to NIMH, the criteria for MDD involves a “period of at least two weeks when a person experienced a depressed mood or loss of interest or pleasure in daily activities, and had a majority of specified symptoms, such as problems with sleep, eating, energy, concentration, or self-worth.” 

The most common symptoms and side effects of MDD include: 

  • Persistent feelings of sadness over the course of weeks or months 
  • Emotional numbness 
  • Anxiety 
  • Low self-esteem and self-worth
  • Social isolation and withdrawal from loved ones 
  • Extreme mood swings 
  • Lack of appetite or overeating 
  • Excessive crying 
  • Difficulty concentrating 
  • Sleep disturbances
  • Restlessness and unusual irritation 

Severe depressive episodes interfere with a person’s ability to function and their quality of life. Some people may be unable to get out of bed or maintain basic tasks of daily living due to the symptoms of the disorder. Individuals diagnosed with co-occurring substance abuse and MDD often experience more severe symptoms and may require a combination of prescription medication and psychotherapy to manage the condition. Anyone can develop MDD, regardless of age, gender, or socioeconomic status.

Potential Side Effects of Untreated MDD

Some people go months or years without being diagnosed with MDD. Other people may be misdiagnosed with other conditions and provided with unhelpful treatment. During that time, their condition may become more severe and begin to cause significant emotional or physical distress. Untreated MDD combined with substance abuse increases the risk of suicidal thoughts or self-harming behaviors. 

Undiagnosed or unmanaged major depression can cause a wide range of potential side effects, including: 

  • Financial instability if symptoms interfere with a person’s ability to maintain employment
  • Loss of productivity at work and school 
  • Tension and conflict within relationships 
  • Loss of social support due to emotional and physical self-isolation
  • Suicidal ideation or self-harming behaviors

Friends and family often experience the consequences of their loved one’s untreated condition. MDD may significantly impact personal relationships and cause tension or conflict. Living with MDD makes it difficult for people to recognize when and how to reach out for help. Often, loved ones must prompt individuals to get professional treatment for their condition. 

How Does Substance Abuse Impact Major Depressive Disorder?

Major depression can affect all areas of a person’s life and make it more difficult for them to fully engage in treatment for substance abuse. For example, some clients experience severe depressive episodes during treatment and may have difficulty getting out of bed, dressing, or feeding themselves. Severe depressive symptoms interfere with addiction treatment and may require higher levels. The Redpoint Center offers referrals to higher levels of care when necessary to ensure people receive the level of care and support they need to manage their depressive episodes. Often, clients step down through multiple levels of care before transitioning to independent sobriety. 

Depression affects treatment for substance abuse by doing the following: 

  • Reducing energy levels, making it challenging for people to focus on making healthy lifestyle changes 
  • Interfering with physical health by making it more difficult for people to eat nutritional meals, exercise regularly, and get quality sleep each night 
  • Increasing negative self-talk, low self-esteem, and low self-confidence

Depressive episodes also increase the risk of suicidal thoughts, feelings, or behaviors in people diagnosed with substance use disorder. 

Treatment Options for Major Depressive Disorder in Boulder County

Boulder County offers multiple self-help groups, community-based resources, and treatment programs for people experiencing major depressive disorder. Early intervention and treatment reduce the risk of long-term health issues or relapse for individuals with co-occurring SUD. 

People can discover resources by doing the following: 

  • Speaking with a medical professional about their diagnosis 
  • Reaching out to federal, state, county, or city human services 
  • Contacting local community support groups and advocacy organizations 
  • Participating in structured treatment programs for addiction and mental health recovery 

Individuals with access to social support during recovery often have better outcomes. 

How Does The Redpoint Center Help People Heal From Dual Diagnosis?

The Redpoint Center uses evidence-based and alternative holistic methods to help clients heal from co-occurring substance abuse and major depression. The dedicated clinical team has decades of combined experience guiding clients through treatment for dual diagnosis. Programs are tailored to each client’s unique needs and preferences to ensure they feel safe, comfortable, and confident in their ability to manage their condition after completing treatment. Often, individuals with MDD benefit from individual therapy or self-help groups during continuing care. The care team can refer people to appropriate resources and support. 

Major depressive disorder is one of the most common mental health issues in America. Many people diagnosed with substance use disorder have co-occurring MDD. Treatment for substance abuse often requires people to address depressive episodes simultaneously to reduce the risk of relapse. Treatment of co-occurring disorders may involve a combination of treatment options, including psychotherapy, peer support, and prescription medications. Managing major depressive episodes is easier when people address the root cause of their addictive behaviors and mental health issues. The Redpoint Center helps individuals identify and treat the underlying factors impacting their physical and psychological health. To learn more about our programs and services, contact us today by calling (303) 710-8496.

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The Redpoint Center
1831 Lefthand Cir, Suite H
Longmont, CO 80501

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