Relationship Between Depression and Addiction
Depression is a psychotic disorder marked especially by sadness, inactivity, difficulty thinking and concentrating, loss of appetite, sleeplessness, and low self-esteem. I’m going to show how it all can affect each other. Depression can be both genetically inherited and brought on by a traumatic experience either as a child or adult. “Community studies have estimated the 24% of women and 15% of men will at some point in their lives is clinically depressed. ” (Zautra. Emotions, Stress, and Health, pg. 133). Depression is an extended period of disturbance in both positive and negative affect systems.
A black period in a person’s life can have a lot of negative emotion and very little positive emotions. You could have a great day and then next thing you know you’re in a depressive state. This can be attributed to various stressful events or small instances that can set a depressive state into motion. Everyday emotions or stressors can lead to feelings of hopelessness and low self-esteem. “Large depression is the stuff of breakdowns. ” (Solomon. The Noonday Demon, pg. 17). Depression is like a building rusting over the years but with grief and insecurities that eventually collapse.
There are two models of depression: The first is the dimensional: it is on a continuum with sadness that represents an extreme version. The second is the categorical: this describes depression as an illness separate from other emotions. Within depression one of the first things to go is happiness, but soon after your other emotions follow. Some of these other emotions are sadness, your sense of humor, and your belief in and capacity for love. Depression is highly dramatic and visibly different. Depression exists in time. Depression also doubles the risk of heart attacks.
It’s insipid, fogs the days, disables the color in each day and weakens ordinary action. It leaves you tired, bored and self-obsessed. It takes away trust in any relationship, you start to think that people are talking about you or they don’t love you. You start to think that they don’t care. Some people are so debilitated that they shut down and push everybody away. Depression is an intense dark place; it causes uncertainty and loss of control. When you have an episode you can’t find your balance to right it. When it comes it degrades one’s self and ultimately eclipses the ability to give or receive affections.
You end up going along the gradual path or a sudden trigger of emotion that brings you to a place that’s generally different than reality. You feel you are turning into something feeble, like a child that more and more of you will just blow away in the wind. It makes you feel less and less than normal. It makes you feel insignificant and you start to doubt your worth. It’s not the consequence of a reduced level of anything we can measure. It hits people in different ways. Some are predisposed to resist or battle through it; some are helpless in its grip. According to recent research, about 3% of Americans – some 19 million – suffer from chronic depression. More than 2 million of those are children. ”(Solomon. The Noonday Demon. Pg. 25).
Depression claims more years than war, cancer and AIDS. Pills and love are 2 ways forward. It now exists as a personal and a social phenomenon. In order to treat depression you need to understand the experience of a breakdown, the mode of action, medication, and the most common talking therapy. Intelligent treatment requires close examination on specific variants of depression. Children, elderly and gender are some of these variants.
Substance abusers form a very large subcategory of their own. They disguise the depressive illness by self-medicating with alcohol and drugs. Depression and substance abuse form a cycle. People who are depressed abuse substances in a way to free themselves from feeling depressed. Some people who abuse substances disrupt their lives to the point that they become depressed. Drug and alcohol addiction can be classified as genetic. Addiction is also considered an illness. Some people abuse drugs and alcohol to escape the horrors of their family and work situations.
Some use because they were abused physically and mentally. Other because of losing their children, employment or marital breakdowns. Substance abuse results in enormous costs to the abuser and their families. As in depression, feelings of loneliness and lack of positive emotion are a source of why addiction starts. I found as an addict myself that to control my emotions; I would use cocaine to escape. I abused drugs to survive through my emotions. This avoidance of pain, combined with the misinterpreting of the feeling of wanting may be what underlines the treadmill of addiction.
Cocaine seems to block dopamine uptake, so that you have more floating around in your brain; morphine causes the release of dopamine. Research shows that if the brain is constantly flooded with dopamine it will develop a resistance to the drug. It’s why we as addicts need more and more to get high. When addicts go into recovery, they no longer have the excessive release of dopamine. They start to feel flat and depressed. Others with family histories of addiction tend to have lower levels of endorphins than those who are genetically and inclined to addiction.
A depressed individual is likely to become addicted more rapidly than a person who isn’t depressed. Caffeine, nicotine and alcohol are the legal substances abused. Alcohol can do a great job of drowning out the pain. Cocaine is an expensive drug that causes a major crash after 48-72 hrs. It consistently depletes your neuron stores. This causes the crash. When you finally crash you have major fatigue, agitation and depression. Cocaine is considered to be a long term depression augmenter. Depression enables addicts. Depression weakens you and weakness is the surest path to addiction.
Alcoholics Anonymous and other 12 step programs provide supportive settings in which people can safely share about their experiences with alcohol, depression and their own fears. With a sponsor and a therapist you can start on the path to healing yourself. Realizing what you need to change about yourself gives you the power to move on and eventually help others. It one of the hardest processes admitting that you are an addict. I know for me going back will kill me. Depression for me depletes my energy and causes me not to care about anything.