Updated on 02/19/24

Understanding mental health and knowing when it’s time to seek treatment when you don’t feel right is important. Typically, the reason why people turn to alcohol or drugs is because they are depressed and find it numbs the pain. If you are trying to recovery from an addiction, you may benefit from getting a mental health screening. Learn more about this important exam, what depression is and how it usually relates to substance use disorder. 

Mental Health Screenings

A mental health screening is an exam that actually involves the body, too. The screening helps clinicians diagnose mental health disorders. The purpose of the exam, according to MedlinePlus, is to make sure there are no physical conditions causing mental health symptoms and to see if you will need to see a mental health provider. These screenings can be done by your primary care provider. If you already have a mental health provider, screenings are an additional mechanism to help guide your treatment. 

What Is Depression

It is normal to feel sad sometimes. Life is hard. The pressure to pay bills, take care of family and take care of ourselves can be overwhelming. We can often overwork ourselves, feel burnt out and tired. It becomes concerning when these feelings persist every day, for most of the day, and for over two weeks. This can be a sign of a more serious problem.

NIHM defines depression as “a mood disorder that causes distressing symptoms that affect how you feel, think, and handle daily activities, such as sleeping, eating, or working.” It has been suggested, scientifically, that depression is caused by a combination of biological, genetic, environmental and psychological circumstances. Depression is one of the most common mental health disorders in the United States. Psychguides.com has estimated that 16.1 million American adults over age 18 have experienced at least one major depressive episode. If you can relate, then you are not alone. 

Symptoms of Depression

  • Persistent feelings of sadness and/or emptiness
  • Feeling of guilt, hopelessness or worthlessness
  • No longer take pleasure in hobbies or regular activities
  • Lack of energy or feeling unmotivated to complete daily tasks
  • Difficulty making decisions, concentrating or remember things
  • Trouble sleeping or sleeping too much
  • Lack of appetite and/or weight changes
  • Thoughts of death or suicide, suicidal attempts and/or self-harm
  • Feeling restless and/or irritable
  • Physical symptoms such as aches, pains, headaches, cramps or digestive problems with no cause and doesn’t clear up with treatment

It is important to note that depression looks different for each person. If you or someone you love is experiencing any of these symptoms it is important to talk to your doctor. 

Depression as it Relates to Substance Abuse

According to a study in the Journal of Substance Abuse Treatment, depression and substance abuse can often co-exist, also known as a co-occurring disorder. It can start with depression. A person who is depressed can find themselves seeking alcohol and/or drugs to cope with symptoms. It is also possible for a person using alcohol and/or drugs to develop depression from substance abuse. Around 7.9 million people have a co-occurring disorder, according to Psychguides.com. 

Ways to Treat Depression

Treatment for depression involves psychotherapy, medication or a combination of both. Psychotherapy provides help by teaching new ways to think, behave, and cope with life’s situations and stressors that can be causing depression. Medication can also be used to treat depression. Antidepressants are the most common medication used and it can take two to four weeks for the medication to have full effect. Side effects of taking antidepressants are possible, it is important to speak with your health care team if you are experiencing anything unusual when taking a medication. For some people with depression, transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) is a method that works if medication and other means could not help. Finding the right treatment can take time, but it is worth it to get you or your loved one the right treatment to enjoy life again. 

At New Hope Ranch, we are equipped to help people experiencing a co-occurring disorder. Our 49-acre ranch is an ideal place to help manage symptoms of depression and lead you to a lifetime of recovery. You are not alone. We are here to assist you and/or your loved one get the help you deserve. Call us today at (737) 600-8565.