Waypoint Recovery Center Blog

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Depression in Women

Leading Signs of Depression in Women

Depression can make you feel like you have to drag a ship’s anchor around with you wherever you go. It can feel like pushing a heavy rock up a steep hill, only to reach the top and watch the rock roll down once more. From extreme sadness to blinding rage, from odd behavior to frightening lapses in memory, depression looks as different as the faces of the many women who suffer from it. 

When women go to recovery for substance abuse while dealing with depression at the same time, they are diagnosed as having co-occurring disorders. At Waypoint Recovery Center in South Carolina, we treat dual diagnosis clients with individual therapy, group and family therapy, and a continuing-care network that you can lean on when you finish your time with us. If you are struggling with depression as well as with a substance use disorder, we can help. 

Depression: Prevalence And Symptoms For Women in Recovery

Around 6% of American women report that they suffer from substance abuse disorder (SUD) or are in recovery from substance abuse. It’s likely that these women are also coping with other mental health and behavioral disorders, including anxiety, bipolar disorder, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), and depression. The scientific community has been aware of the link between unhealthy alcohol and drug use and depression diagnoses for years now, but it’s still an issue that Waypoint Recovery Center keeps front of mind when we receive new women patients. 

The link can form as a result of how substance abuse changes the brain’s structure and function. Addiction, especially if left untreated for prolonged periods, rewires your brain to be wholly dependent on drugs, alcohol, or both to get through each day. It’s a detrimental coping mechanism that makes you much more susceptible to developing additional mental health issues. 

It’s also possible that depressed people could resort to self-medicating. They may turn to substances to cope with their depression, especially if they are unaware of what depression looks like or do not have easy access to healthcare. All of this is to say that the depression-SUD experience is a double whammy, but there’s hope. Just like addiction recovery and sober success exist, so does recovery from depression. 

Depression in Women Vs. Men: Differences in Symptoms and Treatment Approaches

It’s interesting to note that depression seems to affect women more than men, while substance abuse disorder (SUD) seems to affect men more than women. However, the scientific world isn’t sure about the validity of those statistics, as men are much less likely to seek help for depression than for substance abuse treatment. By the same token, women are less likely than men to seek recovery programs for SUD. This has more to do with the added layer of stigma that women face when addressing their addiction.

What Are The Symptoms of Depression in Women, and How Is It Treated?

You’ll likely receive a depression diagnosis if you communicate to your health care provider that you experience at least 5 of the following symptoms for a majority of the day, all day, for a period of 2 weeks or longer:

  • Increased feelings of anxiety, sadness, hopelessness, or emptiness
  • Heightened frustration and irritation 
  • Insomnia, lethargy, and concentration issues
  • Feeling too guilty, worthless, helpless, fatigued, or apathetic to find joy in life or in hobbies and activities that you used to love
  • Suicidal thoughts or suicide attempts
  • Noticeable weight gain or weight loss 

Treatment often includes medication like antidepressants or anti-anxiety prescriptions, therapy, and rest. Sprinkle in lots of support and empathy, and you’re bound to see a big change over time in your depression symptoms and severity. 

Break Free From Depression With Waypoint Recovery in South Carolina

We have two locations in Cameron and North Charleston, SC. They’re both highly equipped to keep you on track with your depression medication, recommended therapy, and a healthy, sober support system. When you contact us today, we can begin the journey toward beating both substance abuse and the depression that have preceded or followed it. We see hundreds of women successfully beat both, and we’re confident that you’ll be able to claim a space in that group.