First thingsfirst: always follow your doctor’s suggestions, and theirs alone.
They’re theonly one who can help you manage addressing whatever is causing you to feeldown. Addictive illness often goes with othermental (i.e., brain-based) disorders, including depression. It’s more than theoccasional “let-down;” it’s a many-sided disorder in mood-regulating centersof the brain, and it shows itself in a wide variety of symptoms. What’s more,depression and addictive disorders often appear at the same time, creating awide range of symptoms and challenges to recovery. When the person gets intorecovery, the depression symptoms can emerge because they’re not being maskedby the effects of alcohol or other drugs.
Thinkof a dimmer switch, which turns a light down but not off. The lamp is still on,but it’s not shining at full brightness. That’s what depression does to thebrain: it dims much of the brain’s activity, causing a kind of “brown-out” infunctions throughout the brain and rest of the body. The medicine your doctorprescribed can be a big help in “turning up the power” closer to normal. Takeit exactly as she prescribed it, and if you have any problems, call her before you stop taking it or go up ordown on the dose. Naturally,the most-common symptom of depression is a generally depressed and sad mood.Other symptoms are loss of interest in things which used to please you,fatigue, fretting about things, loss of (or increase in) appetite,irritability, rumination on real or perceived negatives in your life, sleepimbalances, trouble concentrating, unreliable memory, aches and pains, findingit burdensome to carry out even the simplest of tasks, and feelings of guilt,hopelessness and unworthiness.
One symptom which must not be ignored isthinking (or maybe even planning) to harm yourself. These are the symptoms thatyour doctor keyed on to make your diagnosis. Peopleat highest risk for depression include those who’ve been depressed before,those with no support system, those who’ve had problems with alcohol or drugabuse, those who have other major life stresses, and those with a familyhistory of depression. (There’s known to be a genetic component tomany cases of depression, which is why your doctor would know to ask you aboutany family history of depression or suicide.) Well, that’s the bad news. Seems like an awful lotof bad news, doesn’t it? So, what’s the good news? The good news is thatdepression and addiction are both highly responsive to proper treatment and tosupport.
You have a lot of people pulling for you, and knowing that is one ofthe most powerfully healing realities you have going for you! These days,there’s a very strong likelihood that people with addiction and depression—includingyou—can go on to lead a happy, productive life!