Major Depressive Disorder is a serious mental illness that will often times accompany an addiction resulting in a dual diagnosis. People who have been diagnosed with Major Depressive Disorder exhibit the following features based on the American Psychiatric Association.
Symptoms of Major Depressive Disorder (MDD)
The person has 5 or more of the following symptoms and they have been present during a two week period, and mark a distinct change in how the person previously behaved. At least one of the symptoms is either (1) depressed mood or (2) loss of interest or pleasure.
- Depressed mood most of the day, nearly every day, (e.g., feels sad, empty, hopeless) or observation made by others (e.g., appears tearful).
- Markedly diminished interest or pleasure in all, or almost all, activities most of the day, nearly every day
- Significant weight loss when not dieting or weight gain (e.g., a change of more than 5% of body weight in a month), or decrease or increase in appetite nearly every day.
- Insomnia or hypersomnia nearly every day.
- Fatigue or loss of energy nearly every day.
- Feelings of worthlessness or excessive or inappropriate guilt (which may be delusional) nearly every day (not merely self-reproach or guilt about being sick).
- Diminished ability to think or concentrate, or indecisiveness, nearly every day (either by subjective account or as observed by others).
- Recurrent thoughts of death (not just fear of dying), recurrent suicidal idealization without a specific plan, or a suicide attempt or a specific plan for committing suicide.
- The symptoms cause clinically significant distress or impairment in social, occupational, or other important areas of functioning. The episode is not attributable to the physiological effects of a substance or to another medical condition.
Masking (MDD) With Alcohol or Drugs
Many people will try to mask their feeling of depression with drugs or alcohol. This is called self-medicating and although it may provide some relief, overtime the person will get worse. The drugs or alcohol will begin to exacerbate the depression and make it much worse. Many people who come into treatment today are dually diagnosed with alcoholism and depression. The good news is that treatment works.
Treatment for Addiction & (MDD)
The ideal treatment for a person suffering from Major Depressive Disorder combined with a drug or alcohol addiction is to be admitted to a 90 day residential inpatient treatment center. The treatment center should be well equipped to work with the someone who is struggling with depression in addition to addiction.
Long Term Outlook Following Treatment
The outlook for the patient treated for Major Depressive Disorder and addiction is very good. Many people who are suffering with depression typically isolate themselves from people and have very limited to no social interaction. Just attending a 12 step meeting opens up a whole new world to those suffering with depression who were once very lonely. The important thing for those suffering with Major Depressive Disorder is for them to know that there is excellent treatment & support available. Getting into treatment is the best thing they can do.