Clinical depression is one of the most common mental health disorders worldwide. According to the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH), in 2021, “An estimated 21.0 million adults in the United States had at least one major depressive episode. This number represented 8.3% of all U.S. adults.”

Avery Lane treats depression using evidence-based and alternative holistic therapies.


What Is Clinical Depression?

Everyone has days where they feel sad about life or specific situations. However, clinical depression causes significant emotional distress and disrupts a person’s ability to function for prolonged periods. Studies have shown major depressive disorder (MDD) “is diagnosed when an individual has a persistently low or depressed mood, anhedonia or decreased interest in pleasurable activities, feelings of guilt or worthlessness, lack of energy, poor concentration, appetite changes, psychomotor retardation or agitation, sleep disturbances, or suicidal thoughts.” An official diagnosis is necessary to ensure the best treatment.

Multiple disorders exist with primary depressive symptoms, including:

  • Major depression
  • Dysthymia/Persistent depressive disorder
  • Bipolar disorder
  • Seasonal affective disorder (SAD)
  • Postpartum depression (PPD)
  • Premenstrual dysphoric disorder (PMDD)

Some people with substance use disorder (SUD) may have depressive symptoms without meeting the criteria for clinical depression. The clinical team at Avery Lane conducts comprehensive assessments and screenings to ensure clients with depression are accurately diagnosed and treated. Clinicians treat any depressive symptoms alongside SUD and other co-occurring conditions. Integrative care and a trauma-informed approach reduce the severity of symptoms for many people in treatment.

Signs and Symptoms

Everyone reacts to depression differently, and the symptoms exist along a spectrum. However, some of the most common signs of depression include:

  • Sudden loss of interest in previously enjoyed activities
  • Unusual and persistent sadness
  • Frequent crying for no particular reason
  • Sleep disturbances, including insomnia or oversleeping
  • Changes in appetite causing noticeable weight gain or loss
  • Social isolation and withdrawal from loved ones
  • Self-harming behaviors

Many of the symptoms of depression are only noticeable to the person experiencing them, making it difficult for friends or family to recognize a problem. Most people with clinical depression experience the symptoms and side effects for at least half the days during a given week. However, they may have whole days or even weeks where they feel perfectly normal before the symptoms return. Depression is often directly affected by stress levels. Women in early recovery may experience more stressors and have increased symptoms of depression.

The Side Effects of Untreated Depression

Untreated depression has the potential to cause self-harming behaviors and suicidal ideation. According to SSM Population Health, “Left undiagnosed and thus untreated, depression can worsen and significantly diminish quality of life.” Often, people with SUD are unaware their symptoms are caused by untreated depression. The two conditions share overlapping symptoms and risk factors, making them difficult to differentiate.

Some common side effects of chronic, untreated depression include:

  • Constant fatigue
  • Increased risk-taking behaviors
  • Reduced productivity at work or school
  • Relationship problems
  • Increased risk of developing physical illnesses

Women are more likely to be diagnosed with depressive disorders. According to the Journal of Psychiatry and Neuroscience, “The fact that increased prevalence of depression correlates with hormonal changes in women, particularly during puberty, prior to menstruation, following pregnancy and at perimenopause, suggests that female hormonal fluctuations may be a trigger for depression.” Genetics and environmental factors also play a significant role in the development of depression for women with SUD.

How Depression Affects the Brain

Depression is one of the most common mental health issues worldwide. Many women diagnosed with SUD have co-occurring depression or severe depression symptoms that impact their quality of life. Depression affects the brain and other body systems by influencing neurotransmitters and hormones.

Chronic depression affects the function and structure of the brain. Early intervention and treatment is the best way to avoid severe side effects. However, early intervention are not always possible. Often, depression goes undiagnosed and untreated.

Some of the areas most commonly affected by depression include:

  • Amygdala: The processing center for emotions
  • Hippocampus: The area responsible for learning and memory
  • Dorsomedial thalamus: A region that plays a role in completing cognitive tasks and memory

Not all forms of depression are caused by emotional distress. According to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), “[S]ome central nervous system injuries and illnesses may also lead to depression.” Individuals with depression caused by physical illness or injury to the brain should receive comprehensive treatment for all related conditions during recovery. Case managers can help women find resources for managing issues affecting their physical health during treatment.

Treatment Options at Avery Lane

Depression increases the risk of relapse for women in recovery by worsening symptoms and causing emotional distress. Avery Lane offers residential, partial hospitalization programs (PHPs), and outpatient treatment programs for women with SUD and co-occurring depressive disorders. Women collaborate with their care team to determine which treatment modalities fit their needs and preferences.

Avery Lane offers traditional psychotherapy and alternative holistic therapies, including energy psychology. Clients have complete control over their treatment plans. Women with co-occurring depression often benefit from combining multiple therapeutic methods and prescription medications. Managing symptoms allows them to heal from substance misuse and establish new healthy routines to support a sober life, reduce stress, and decrease symptoms of depression.

Avery Lane uses comprehensive assessments to diagnose co-occurring mental health disorders during admissions. Professional addiction recovery and mental health treatment programs help women struggling with depression. To learn more about our programs and services, call us today at (800) 270-2406.

Contact Avery Lane Admissions Today

Summer Lan Franco
MA, MFT-t, Primary Therapist

Summer Lan Franco loves working with people to facilitate recovery from substance use disorders, disordered eating, mental health issues and complex trauma. She earned her BS in Nutrition and Food Science from California State University Chico and MS in Counseling Psychology from Dominican University of California. She has worked in community-based and private practice settings. Her approach is personable and sincere. Summer believes in helping people rediscover their true selves by uncovering barriers that stand in the way. Her warmth and earnest interest in others’ wellbeing are always present in the work she does with people seeking help. She has experience with trauma recovery, substance abuse recovery, codependency, family issues, disordered eating, treatment for anxiety and depression, and working with personality disorders.

Alaina Dunér
Office Manager, Sound Healing Group Facilitator, Reiki Master

Alaina Dunér is a Sonoma County native. She studied sociology and outdoor adventure programming for two years at Loyola University of New Orleans and Warren Wilson College. In 2016 Alaina was on a recreational skydive and had a crash landing that resulted in her fracturing multiple vertebrae in her spine. Since her accident, Alaina has emersed herself in understanding the nuances and complexities of health and spirituality. She is passionate about supporting clients through Reiki and Sound. Since taking a pause from university, Alaina has become a certified Reiki Master Teacher in the Tibetan Usui system, an Ayurvedic yoga instructor, a health coach from the Institute of Integrative Nutrition, and a trauma informed sound facilitator. At the end of 2022 Alaina will attend Southern Utah University to complete her bachelor’s in aerospace and aviation with an emphasis on rotary flight.

Sunnie Skillman
Energy Worker

Sunnie has worked within the field of Energy Psychology for over 20 years and has been trained in a number of healing modalities, including EFT (Emotional Freedom Technique) and Access Consciousness. She has been using the tools of Access Consciousness for 23 years, teaching classes and working with clients using various hands-on energy body work techniques. She specializes working with clients who have symptoms of PTSD and assisting in clearing where trauma is stored in the body.
Sunnie brings her personal experience with trauma healing as well as her kind and
caring energy to support the ladies interested in working with other healing modalities
at Avery Lane.

Nicole Collins,
AMFT, Primary Therapist

Nicole Collins entered the field of healing after receiving her BA from Colorado State University
in Human Services, which led her to work in domestic violence. Following her beliefs and
passion in the body-mind-spirit connection and the Intelligence of the Self-healing power, she
got her MS from Touro University in Vallejo. She believes that addiction, alcoholism,
depression, the things that push against your joy, calm, serenity, and sense of security, are
powerful and baffling. Still, there is something unique inside of you that is ready to push back
against it all. The fear, anxiety, depression, and trauma that press against your head and chest
are real, but they should not define you. She feels her role is to help you find the resources
within to overcome the challenges and suffering that life may bring. She specializes in trauma,
substance abuse, LGBTQIA+ community, matters of belonging, helping individuals heal in their
relationships within themselves. In your work together, she will meet you where you are and
support you in reacquainting you, with all parts of yourself, including your inherent wisdom.

Erin Miller, RADT
Recovery Counselor

Erin is a Registered Alcohol Drug Technician, Certified Recovery Coach, and Certified Clinical
Trauma Specialist-A (Trauma and Addiction). She is currently pursuing her Bachelor of Arts in
Psychology and Addiction Studies at Aspen University. Through her personal experience with
alcohol addiction and recovery, Erin was inspired to support others on their recovery journeys.
She brings kindness, compassion, and encouragement to her work at Avery Lane. Erin lives in
Sonoma County with her husband and their two adventurous children.

Laurel LeMohn
Recovery Counselor

is a Mendocino County native. She received her Bachelor of Arts degree from Sonoma State University in 2014 and is currently pursuing her Master’s degree in Counseling Psychology from Dominican University. She has been a Recovery Counselor at Avery Lane since October, 2021, and works from a trauma-informed, psychodynamic, and humanistic lens. She has had a desire towards helping others since she was young and looks forward to working with you as you transition your life into one where you are thriving and proud to be living.