What Are the Signs of a Depressive Episode?

woman sitting on the edge

The word “depression” pops up a lot these days in the media and in many daily conversations. But this high frequency of usage does not mean that most people understand depression as well as they should. For example, have you heard of a “depressive episode?” According to the Anxiety and Depression Association of America, over 16 million adults experience at least one major depressive episode in a given year in the United States. The early warning signs of a depressive episode often go ignored, sometimes leading to the development of clinical, chronic depression. Understanding the symptoms of this condition can help you identify its warning signs and intervene as early as possible.

Is a Depressive Episode Just Depression?

By definition, a depressive episode is a period of low mood which lasts for a relatively short period of time as compared with clinical, chronic depression. But the symptoms can be very similar, including sadness, fatigue, irritability, loss of interest in things you once enjoyed, slower movement, and physical aches or pains.

Symptoms of a depressive episode can be triggered by certain events and often last for several weeks. You can try to identify your triggers by logging important events and rating your moods accordingly. If these experiences last for many days and aren’t tied to specific difficult events, you should seek a doctor’s help to check for chronic depression.

Can I Ignore a Depressive Episode?

You might think that since you do not have chronic depression, it might be okay to ignore a depressive episode because it will disappear with time. Looking at this in a positive light is a good thing because it shows you have the confidence to overcome these feelings of sadness, but it does not mean you should ignore them.

The best way is to treat these symptoms is by learning how your body and mind work. Consider these initial symptoms of depression as messages from your body. While staying calm, you can try to recall the events that triggered the occurrence of symptoms. Try to separate yourself from the episode so you can gain some insight into it. Then you can either seek professional help or use common self-care practices to help you through your symptoms.

How Do You Separate Yourself from Depression?

There is still a lot of stigmatization around the topic of depression, whether it is a depressive episode or chronic depression. The wisdom of self-care is that instead of allowing a medical condition to define who you are, you take control by separating yourself from it. You might simply repeat to yourself, “I am not depressed. I have depression, and I will get better.” There are other kinds of self-affirmation messages you can try. This self-care messaging approach helps you avoid letting depression weigh you down. Value your strengths, abilities, and positive qualities.

Self-care always begins with the basics, including a healthy and balanced diet, enough good sleep, and creative activities. Any action that enhances your mental and emotional health can be considered a self-care activity. The gist of self-care exercises is to make you relax and connect with yourself and others. It also means saying no to sources of stress and overwhelming emotions.

Self-care is important to both your physical and mental wellbeing. Any actions that help you regain a sense of joy should be part of your self-care strategy during a depressive episode. Maybe you find a free afternoon to watch a movie with a close friend. Maybe you learn a new hobby such as gardening. Maybe you take a warm bath while listening to music.

How Do You Get Treated for Both Addiction and Depression?

First, you should join a support group such as a 12-step group. The people in this group can offer support and accountability as well as suggest treatment options. Meanwhile, many detox treatment centers offer counseling and therapies that address depressive disorders or chronic depression. For example, cognitive-behavioral therapy examines how one’s thought patterns affect their moods and behaviors. It is effective for treating both addiction and depression.

Some residential treatment centers also adopt a holistic approach by integrating relaxation exercises into daily routines. These include mindfulness, art therapy, meditation, nature walks, and yoga exercises. Such practices encourage people to fully dwell on the current moment they are in, without worrying about the past or the future.

Relaxation exercises such as meditation can reshape the brain’s neurological pathways, reversing the impact of addiction and depression. Journaling every day’s progress and emotional journey is another effective technique.

Do you know that before someone develops chronic depression, there are often warning signs in the form of depressive episodes? Have you detected a depressive episode in your own mood? Even today, depression remains a mystified topic, which does not help us combat it. Substance addiction and depressive episodes can become co-occurring conditions that are hard to treat, though it is not impossible. If you or a loved one is struggling with both addiction and depression, seek professional help. At Laguna Shores Recovery, our licensed mental healthcare professionals and therapists have worked with many people who suffer from these conditions. We can help you design a custom treatment plan that treats both conditions together. Our residential facility offers a range of treatments, including diagnosis, behavioral therapies, and 12-step programs. We are committed to providing you with first-class care and services. Look no further for expertise and commitment. Call us at (866) 906-3203.