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What Is Depression?

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What Is Depression?

When you’re feeling sad, people might say that you’re depressed. But is this a correct assessment? Medical experts believe that depression is so much more. What is depression, and how does it affect addiction treatment?

What Is Depression?

Clinicians diagnose depression as a mood disorder that affects you for at least two weeks or longer. However, depression comes in various forms. Dysthymia is a long-term version of this mood disorder that may have affected you for two years or longer. Symptoms change in severity throughout this time.

Postpartum depression typically affects women who just had a baby. Don’t mistake this for the “baby blues,” which is a mild form of the condition and usually clears up. Postpartum depression can have debilitating effects on women and result in extremes of sadness, anxiety, and exhaustion.

Those dealing with depression during the darker winter months may experience seasonal affective disorder. Experts believe that the condition has to do with the change in natural light.

Psychotic depression is yet another form of the mental illness. It involves delusions and hallucinations.

Still others have chronic depression, which ebbs and flows but is almost always a constant in their lives. A loss of purpose often accompanies this condition.

How Depression and Addiction Connect

As noted by the National Institute on Drug Abuse, depression and drug addiction may have connections.

For starters, they change the structure and functioning of the brain in similar areas.

In particular, dopamine-involved areas have a high level of susceptibility to both depression and addiction. Experts agree that it’s often impossible to determine whether addiction or depression came first.

But they do suggest that addiction might be the result of someone self-medicating. Because many rehab program participants suffer from a dual diagnosis – addiction plus depression – but don’t know it, this rings true. For the best chance at lasting recovery, therapists must treat these conditions concurrently rather than focusing exclusively on one or the other. Failure to assist clients with regaining emotional stability and freedom from drug dependence won’t break the cycle.

What Is Depression Treatment Like at The Clearing?

At The Clearing, we use dual diagnosis treatment as part of our substance abuse programs. During your 28-day residential rehab experience, you’ll receive:

  • Therapist-led sessions and deep dives into discovering the underlying core issues that are causing the depression. Many times, but not always, this involves some form of childhood trauma.
  • Working those underlying core issues with love to resolve them for good
  • One-on-one therapy that provides you with in-depth opportunities to get the help you need
  • Group therapy that limits numbers of participants to about ten, which gives everyone an opportunity to benefit
  • Whole-person approach that incorporates healthy living, counseling, and spiritual care
  • Relapse prevention technique training and self-counseling

What is An Underlying Core Issue?

Clearing co-founder Betsy Koelzer describes our focus on the core issues that may be the foundations of our depression and other emotional conditions.


At our San Juan Island facility, we offer help to people just like you. For more information about what we treat in addition to depression and addiction, call The Clearing today at 425-275-8600.

Download eBook:  Healing Underlying Core Issues

Gregg Makuch

This post was written by Gregg Makuch

Gregg helps get the word out about The Clearing. When he’s not riding his bike and enjoying the beauty of the San Juan Islands, Gregg loves to cook and spend time with his family.

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