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What Does Untreated Depression do to our Health?

Depression is all too common in early recovery. It is a complex illness that can be caused by many factors, including brain chemistry, mood regulation problems, trauma, stress, and medical problems. When we engage in substance abuse, we tend to make our depression much worse by changing the chemistry of our brains and exposing ourselves to the chaos of life in active addiction. In early recovery, it is extremely important to address our struggles with depression. If left untreated, we can be putting our sobriety at risk and causing major damage to our physical and mental health.

Being depressed interferes with our ability to socialize with friends and loved ones. This often leads to social isolation and a worsening of symptoms. When we do not socially interact for long periods of time, we dig ourselves deeper into our depression and anxiety. Spending time isolated and ruminating about our depression makes it worse.

Depression causes us to stay in a state of “fight-or-flight” by increasing cortisol levels. Healthline recently examined the effects of depression on the brain and found that, “Problems can occur when excessive amounts of cortisol are sent to the brain due to a stressful event or a chemical imbalance in the body. In a healthy brain, brain cells (neurons) are produced throughout a person’s adult life in a part of the hippocampus called the dentate gyrus. In people with MDD, however, the long-term exposure to increased cortisol levels can slow the production of new neurons and cause the neurons in the hippocampus to shrink. This can lead to memory problems.” The effects of chronic depression are not only mental– there is also an increased risk of heart-attack and stroke. Certainly, depression is often an unavoidable problem in early recovery, as our brains are beginning to heal from the effects of drugs and alcohol. However, we should discuss our situation with a medical professional in order to develop an effective treatment plan to avoid long-term physical and mental problems.

Treatment is an opportune time to address our struggles with depression. Oceanfront Recover, a men’s treatment facility in beautiful Laguna Beach, offers Dual Diagnosis treatment to address your problems with substance abuse and mental health issues. For more information about individualized treatment options, please call today: (877) 279-1777