Is Depression Always Depression?

You notice physical symptoms starting to occur. Perhaps, you’re finding it difficult to breathe, your chest is hurting, and you feel dizzy all the time. Your stomach hurts, or you’re constantly nauseous, and your always running on hot. Physical symptoms have gauges of measurement. Meaning, that when you go to the doctor, they have ways to physically measure what is going on with you, to help them formulate a diagnosis. For example, some of the first things medical doctors do in an appointment is take your weight, temperature, and blood pressure.

With the diagnosis of mental health disorders, there are few tangible tools for evaluating symptoms. A person may report feeling unrelentingly sad all the time or overwhelmingly anxious. There is the DSM-V, the fifth edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual which outlines and specifies what would indicate the need for specific diagnoses. Without expensive technology to examine the brain, there is no real tool for psychiatrists and psychologists to know what exactly is going on. Mental health can be permanent or it can be passing- for example, someone might be clinically depressed due to a chemical imbalance in their brain. On the other hand, they may be experiencing grief after the loss of a significant other and are depressed as a result. Unfortunately, this can lead to misdiagnosis. Misdiagnosing a mental health disorder can result in a patient not receiving the medication or treatment that would best benefit them. In the world of treatment and recovery from drug and alcohol addiction, proper diagnosis is critical. Substance abuse is often a secondary issue to prevailing mental health problems which have gone untreated. Ignoring one piece of the addicted mind’s puzzle can leave a patient at a deficit and at a higher risk of relapse after initial addiction treatment.

Depression is one of the most commonly misdiagnosed mental health conditions. According to Psychology Today, up to 45% of patients referred to for depression didn’t not actually meet the DSM diagnostic criteria for depression. The article lists these four mental health conditions as being commonly confused for depression: Bipolar Disorder, Hypothyroidism, Diabetes, and Chronic Fatigue Syndrome.

How to Know

If you have been diagnosed with depression but aren’t noticing any improvements from medication or therapeutic treatment, it might be time to get a second opinion. Depression is the highest co-occurring disorder with substance abuse. If you are struggling with mental health, call Aurora Recovery Center today. Our treatment center offers dual diagnosis treatment for substance abuse and mental health disorders, providing comprehensive and accurate treatment for our patients.