Dual Diagnosis and Depression

What is Depression in a Dual Diagnosis?Dual diagnosis is a condition that is comprised of two components; a psychiatric disorder and drug addiction or alcohol addiction. While many people understand drug addiction or alcoholism, a great deal are confused when it comes to depression. Depression is best described as a mood disorder with a wide range of symptoms such as a loss of pleasure, feelings of worthlessness or suicidal thoughts, The American Psychiatric Association’s Diagnostic and Statistical Manual, lists nine symptoms for major depression, five or more which must be present over the same two-week period, including one of the first two:

1) Feeling depressed most of the day, nearly every day, or 2) Markedly diminished pleasure. The other seven symptoms include: 3) Significant weight gain or loss, 4) Insomnia or hypersomnia, 5) psychomotor agitation or retardation, 6) Fatigue or loss of energy, 7) Feelings of worthlessness or inappropriate guilt, 8) Diminished ability to think or concentrate, 9) Recurrent thoughts of death, suicidal thinking, suicide attempts.Is Depression a person’s fault?Depression is a medical illness which affects brain, which in turn affects the rest of the body. One can no more snap out of depression that one can snap out of diabetes or heart disease. It would help to have a positive outlook, but the very nature of depression is a lack of positive outlook. Unfortunately, having depression still carries a stigma, though not nearly as bad as in the past. If there is any consolation, you are in good company: Winston Churchill and Mike Wallace, just to name a few, all had crushing depressions.The same holds true as it relates to drug addiction and alcoholism. Both of these are diseases, which are diseases of the brain, which can not just be wished away. Drug addiction and alcohol addiction must be treated in conjunction with the psychiatric disorder.

That is why treating a dual disorder or a person with a dual diagnosis is so challenging. Is there more than one type of Depression?Yes, there are several types of depression. Dysthymia, melancholic depression, atypical depression, bipolar depression, psychotic depression, catatonic depression, seasonal affective disorder, and postpartum depression all fall under the category of depression. Along with the emotional aspects of depression, there is also a physical component. Mind and body are very much connected. The risk of heart disease is doubled in people with depression, and a previous depression is often the greatest risk factor for heart disease and other ills, over smoking, drinking, high blood sugar, and previous heart attacks. Depression has also been connected to diabetes, bone loss, stroke, irritable bowel syndrome, and possibly cancer. In addition, people with depression have much higher rates of alcoholism and drug abuse than the general population.According to the National Institute of Mental Health, approximately 18.8 million American adults, or about 9.5 percent of the US population age 18 and older in a given year, have a depressive disorder. According to the World Health Organization, depression is presently on track to becoming the world’s second-most disabling disease (after heart disease) by the year 2020. In addition, depression is responsible for some $87 billion a year in lost productivity in the US (a conservative estimate), and according to Bank One, is responsible for most lost work days in its employees after pregnancy and childbirth.

Additionally, one million people worldwide die by their own hand, most as a result of a mood disorder. Finally, the linkage between depression and a host of physical illnesses makes it arguably the world’s greatest killer. Where should I get treatment? If you are suffering from depression and it is part of a dual diagnosis, meaning there is a drug abuse or alcohol abuse problem associated with it, you can look into an addiction treatment program, drug rehab or alcohol rehab. All the above, should have the ability to treat your depression and substance abuse issues. If you do not have a drug addiction or alcohol addiction in conjunction with the depression, than you should in accordance with your attending psychiatrist, locate a psychiatric hospital nearest you.