National Drug Strategy
National Drug Strategy

Comorbidity of mental disorders and substance use: a brief guide for the primary care clinician

5.1 Depression

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Depression is a debilitating disorder that disrupts relationships and daily lives and is one of the most common mental disorders(119). Depression is more common in women than in men(68, 119).

People with depression may present as tearful and report that they feel sad, empty, hopeless and discouraged. Children and adolescents may present as irritable. Adults may also present as irritable and report concentration problems. People with depression may report loss of interest or pleasure in most activities, trouble sleeping, fatigue and problems with weight. Feelings of worthlessness and guilt may be associated with suicidal ideation.

To be diagnosed with major depression, a person must either have a depressed mood or a loss of interest or pleasure in daily activities consistently for at least a two week period. This mood must represent a change from the person's normal mood. Social, occupational, educational or other important functioning must also be negatively impaired by the change in mood.

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