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Depression Treatment Services

One-on-One Depression Therapy with a Manhattan Psychiatrist

What Is The Difference Between Being Sad and Having Depression?

Statements like “I feel so depressed today” or “That’s depressing” are used interchangeably to describe sadness. That said, everyone experiences sadness, but not everyone experiences clinical depression. Sadness is an emotion that occurs in response to a situation or experience. Whether you’ve lost a loved one or just got fired, temporary sadness is a normal emotional response to some experiences.

Depression isn’t an emotion like sadness; it’s a mood disorder. Those with depression feel its effects through many facets of their lives, including not only how they feel but also how they think and act for a period of time. It may be felt more strongly at certain times of the year (seasonal depression), but it doesn’t simply go away as it isn’t the typical experience of sadness as a temporary emotional response to an event. In fact, many people with depression don’t report feeling sad but feel empty or an inability to enjoy things or activities they usually would.

What Is Co-Occurring Depression And Addiction?

Depression and addiction are commonly linked to one another. Also called “co-occurring” or “dual diagnosis” disorders, a person may experience mental illness and addiction at the same time, sometimes as a result of one causing the other to develop. For instance, mental health conditions like depression can lead to unhealthy coping mechanisms that may develop into an addiction.

Substance use isn’t the only form of unhealthy coping people participate in. Other problems like overconsumption of social media, sex, and even video games can become serious when left unaddressed. Similarly, developing an addiction can spiral a person into depression as the physical and mental consequences take effect.

Depression And Substance Abuse

In the U.S., approximately one-third of people with a major depressive disorder also have a substance use disorder. Having either condition puts you at a higher risk of developing the other. This is because depression often leaves people looking for ways to “numb” or “block out” the negative emotions, while substance abuse can bring about the symptoms of depression.

Healthy coping, like fitness and spending time with others, may seem like the “obvious” solution to feeling depressed, but in reality, these effects of mental illness weigh an individual down, and the mental exhaustion, negative self-view, and other detrimental symptoms can make the poor coping mechanisms look inviting.

Depression and Alcoholism

It’s common for alcoholics to experience depression as a result of their drinking problem and as an underlying cause. Research studies show that 63.8% of people who drink excessively have depression.

Similarly, a study from the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism also found that people with an AUD were 2.3 times more likely to have experienced symptoms of depression. Another study states that “People with DSM-IV alcohol dependence are 3.7 times more likely also to have major depressive disorder.”

Alcohol use and depression are highly intertwined and can feed off of each other, resulting in a dual diagnosis.

What are the symptoms of depression?

  • Chronic aches and pains, headaches, cramps, or digestive problems
  • Chronic sadness, anxiety, or “emptiness”
  • Difficulty concentrating, remembering details, or making decisions
  • Fatigue
  • Feelings of guilt, worthlessness, helplessness or hopelessness
  • Irritability or restlessness
  • Loss of interest in activities or hobbies that were once enjoyable
  • Overeating or loss of appetite
  • Sleeping problems
  • Suicidal thoughts or attempts

When does depression start?

Young adolescents and teens can get depression, but it mainly occurs in adults. Depression is more commonly occurring in women, though plenty of men experience it also. Loss of a loved one, stress or hormonal changes, or traumatic events may trigger depression for anyone at any age.

Why do people get depression?

There is no single cause of depression. Depression can happen due to a combination of factors, such as:

  • Genes, as depression may be hereditary
  • Brain chemistry and structure, as depression may result from imbalances in brain chemicals
  • Environmental and psychological factors, for trauma, loss of a loved one, a difficult relationship, and other stressors can trigger depression

How Do Most People Overcome Depression?

A key aspect of overcoming depression is to not take part in activities or lifestyles that feed the depression. This means living a healthy, balanced life that incorporates things that counter the negative thoughts and feelings of depression, producing instead positive thoughts, feelings, and experiences.

It’s also important to gain skills to manage stress and exercise healthy coping. You may need to set temporary boundaries and limits on what you can accomplish daily to prevent overloading yourself. But sometimes, making these changes during depression is a difficult task to do alone. Two common professional treatments for depression include therapies and medication, depending on your particular case.

Speak with your primary doctor to determine the best solution for your recovery.

How is depression treated?

Even in severe cases, depression is very treatable. The family doctor is an excellent place to start. A doctor can ascertain if the depression is being caused by another medical condition, as well as refer you to a mental health professional. The most common treatments for depression are psychotherapy and medication.


Psychotherapy includes a variety of individual and group treatments, such as cognitive behavioral therapy and dialectical behavior therapy. The goal of these sessions is to identify behaviors and thought patterns contributing to the depression and actively work toward changing them. When you reduce the symptoms of depression, it becomes much easier to loosen its hold on your daily life.


Along with therapy, medication can be a complementary solution for treating depression. Many people’s major depressive disorder comes from genetics, at least in part. This means that certain cognitive functions or lack of production of vital chemicals could be a major cause of depression. Medication can aid in producing the necessary chemicals to relieve symptoms.


Depression is clinically classified as mild, moderate, or severe based on the number, type, and severity of symptoms. Two diagnostic systems are used in the process of diagnosing the level of depression: ICD-10 and DSM-IV. The ICD-10 is a more general diagnostic system, while the DSM-IV has stricter structuring for the definition of mental disorders.

Depression doesn’t have one primary cause and typically manifests due to several factors, such as stressful life events, loss, and genetic vulnerability.

Research indicates that depression doesn’t develop from chemical imbalances in the brain alone. These imbalances are a contributor, typically accompanied by poor mood regulation, genetics, and stressful life events.

There are a variety of ways to increase serotonin and dopamine levels naturally. Exercise has been shown to be as effective as antidepressants. Other ways include getting adequate sleep, eating healthy, drinking plenty of water, absorbing sunlight daily, and managing stress.

Depression can be categorized into two primary types: Major depressive disorder (MDD) and persistent depressive disorder (PDD). These are the most common forms of depression that people experience. MDD is defined as experiencing depressive episodes that are separated by at least two months, while PDD occurs when symptoms last at least two years.

People with depression are protected under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). The ADA considers both physical and mental disabilities, with depression falling under mental health problems that “substantially limit” at least one major life activity, such as your ability to work or take care of yourself.

Depression negatively impacts a person’s mood, sometimes regularly, and people may search for ways to numb the pain. There are healthy ways to cope that are often taught through therapies, but people who aren’t equipped with these methods or have lost all hope may be inclined to turn to substances as an “easy” option.

Drugs and alcohol directly impact cognitive function and, as a result, our emotions and feelings. Because of this, people can abuse substances as a means to deal with the negative symptoms of depression. This is a dangerous path that leads to addiction and other health problems.