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Depression Health Center

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Untreated Depression

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What are signs of drug and alcohol abuse with untreated depression?

Alcohol and drug abuse are common among people with clinical depression. They’re especially common among teens and among young and middle-age males. It is very important to encourage these people to get help, because they are more likely to attempt suicide.

Signs of drug and alcohol abuse include:

  • Inability to maintain personal relationships
  • Secretive alcohol use
  • Self-pity
  • Tremors
  • Unexplained memory loss
  • Unwillingness to talk about drugs or alcohol

Those who suffer depression and abuse drugs or alcohol may need very specialized treatment.

Are the signs of untreated depression in men different from those in women?

Men who have untreated clinical depression may exhibit more anger, frustration, and violent behavior than women. In addition, men with untreated depression may take dangerous risks such as reckless driving and having unsafe sex. Men are not aware that physical symptoms, such as headaches, digestive disorders and chronic pain, can be symptoms of depression.

Why is untreated depression considered to be a disability?

Depression can render people disabled in their work life, family life, and social life. Left untreated, clinical depression is as costly as heart disease or AIDS to the U.S. economy. Untreated depression is responsible for more than 200 million days lost from work each year. The annual cost of untreated depression is more than $43.7 billion in absenteeism from work, lost productivity, and direct treatment costs.

How does untreated depression affect my family?

Living with a depressed person is very difficult and stressful for family members and friends. It’s often helpful to have a family member involved in the evaluation and treatment of a depressed relative. Sometimes marital or even family therapy is indicated.

Can untreated depression lead to suicide?

Depression carries a high risk of suicide. This is the worst but very real outcome of untreated or under-treated depression. Anybody who expresses suicidal thoughts or intentions should be taken very, very seriously. Do not hesitate to call your local suicide hotline immediately. Call 800-SUICIDE (800-784-2433) or 800-273-TALK (800-273-8255) -- or the deaf hotline at 800-799-4889.

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