Depression Treatment at Absolute Awakenings

The depression treatment program at Absolute Awakenings Treatment Center provides comprehensive and individualized treatment for patients suffering from depression.

Understanding Depression

Short-term feelings of sadness are normal. After all, life has its ups and downs, and no one is guaranteed to feel happy and upbeat all of the time. However, when sadness lasts for more than several days and affects a person’s ability to live normally, it may be a treatable medical condition. More than 6.7 percent of adults in the U.S. suffer from major depression.

Prolonged and intense depression can make it difficult to connect with others, handle important responsibilities, and even practice good self-care. Moreover, clinical depression often has no known cause. With clinical depression, people may feel sad, defeated, and lack sufficient energy and motivation, but they may not know why.

Depression is a common co-occurring disorder among those living with drug or alcohol addiction. The different types of depression that a person can develop include:

  • Major depressive disorder
  • Bipolar disorder
  • Seasonal affective disorder (SAD)
  • Psychotic depression
  • Postpartum/peripartum depression
  • Persistent depressive disorder

Living with untreated clinical depression often makes people desperate for relief. When the source of their pain and the means for alleviating it are unknown, many begin self-medicating in harmful ways.

At Absolute Awakenings, our mental health treatment programs help people with depression develop sustainable plans for managing their disorders. We give our patients the skills and tools they need to enjoy consistent mood balance and good mental health. This creates a stable foundation for recovery. When clinical depression is properly managed, it is no longer necessary to self-treat with drugs or alcohol.

Risk Factors for Depression

Clinical depression has a very high level of heritability. Thus. having an immediate family member who suffers from depression is considered a major risk factor. Other risk factors for clinical depression include:

  • Past trauma
  • A history of physical, sexual, or emotional abuse
  • Sudden or significant life changes (divorce, moving, changing jobs)
  • Chronic physical pain
  • Terminal or progressive illness
  • Social or professional conflicts
  • Variations in brain chemistry

How people process difficult emotions plays a significant role in the development of depression. For instance, although sadness is normal after the death of a loved one. However, some people do not move through the normal stages of grief and struggle to move beyond their sadness.

Symptoms of Depression

Depression is far different from normal feelings of sadness. Unlike short-term sadness, depression lingers for days, weeks, or even months on end. It may be difficult to pinpoint its cause, and few things seem capable of alleviating it. Among some of the most common symptoms of depression are:

  • Excessive fatigue and rapid loss of energy
  • Recurring thoughts of death or self-harm
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Indecisiveness
  • Excessive sleeping (hypersomnia)
  • Insomnia
  • Significant appetite and weight changes
  • Decreased interest in normal activities (anhedonia)
  • Decreased self-care

With clinical depression, these and other symptoms present for at least two weeks or longer.

Diagnosing Clinical or Major Depressive Disorder

There are no lab tests that can be reliably used to diagnose depression. The diagnostic process for major depressive disorder typically includes various lab tests such as blood tests and urinalysis. In some instances, various forms of diagnostic imaging are used.

Performing a full medical examination gives doctors the ability to rule out physiological problems that may be the source of a person’s depression symptoms. These include chemical imbalances within the brain that make it virtually impossible for people to enjoy mood balance or natural feelings of elation without medical intervention.

When no physiological causes for a person’s depression are identified, a comprehensive psychological assessment is performed. Mental health professionals consider factors such as genetic predisposition, recent life changes, past traumas, and more. Diagnosing major depressive disorder is based upon the criteria set forth in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM). It includes the identification of multiple core symptoms of depression that span for several weeks.

How Is Depression Treated?

Depression is treated with a combination of medication and psychotherapy. Anti-depressants are often used to balance seratonin levels in the brain in patients with known variations in brain chemistry. Psychotherapy or “talk therapy” is used to help patients:

  • Increase their distress tolerance
  • Develop healthier coping skills
  • Learn evidence-based stress management techniques
  • Practice problem-solving

Psychotherapy can also be used to help people process repressed emotions such as guilt or grief. It can also improve their self-image and overall sense of self-worth.


There are many types of psychotherapy that are offered in dual diagnosis treatment for co-occurring depression disorders. These include cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), dialectical behavioral therapy (one version of CBT), and motivational interviewing (MI). For most depression disorders, CBT consistently proves the most effective.

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy

Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) is an evidence-based form of psychotherapy that encourages cognitive restructuring. With CBT, patients can learn how to recognize distorted or negative thinking and how to change negative thought patterns. They also learn how to take a proactive approach to solving problems.


There are several types of antidepressant medications that can be prescribed for the long-term management of clinical depression. These include selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs), seratonin and norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors (SNRIs), and monoamine oxidase inhibitors (MAOIs). Due to their high level of efficacy and minimal side effects, SSRIs are often the preferred choice in addiction treatment. They treat chemical depression by restoring seratonin balance in the brain.

Medications to treat depression include:

  • Lexapro
  • Zoloft
  • Prozac
  • Paxil
  • Celexa
  • Luvox
  • Wellbutrin

Treating Depression at Absolute Awakenings

Treating depression at Absolute Awakenings always entails a multi-pronged approach. We leverage various options in psychotherapy along with the medical management of depression disorders. When necessary, we also offer nutritional counseling, stress management training, and other natural and evidence-based tools.

These interventions help our clients achieve mood balance and overall mental health. Our goal-setting and life-planning services additionally assist patients in establishing manageable, sustainable lives post-treatment.

Call Now to Start Healing

If you’re tired of self-treating your depression in unhealthy and undeniably harmful ways, you’re not alone. At Absolute Awakenings, we help people battle both depression and substance use disorder at once. Our dual diagnosis program will give you the skills that you need to enjoy a sober, successful, and ultimately happy life. Call us today to start healing.

Clinically Reviewed By: Candace Kotkin De Carvalho

Passionate about providing individualized treatment for clients of all backgrounds, Candace brings nearly a decade of hands-on experience to her role as the Clinical Director, having recently led the Alternative Recovery and Wellness program at Advanced Health & Education in Eatontown. A Certified Clinical Trauma Professional, a Licensed Clinical Alcohol and Drug Counselor, a Licensed Social Worker, a Certified Clinical Supervisor, and a Registered Yoga Teacher, Candace brings a wealth of experience and knowledge to the organization.

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