What is Depression?
Depression is a stressful mental health condition that is identified with extreme negative thoughts and moods. It is not the usual blues that is experienced by most of us. Depression may be caused by a traumatic event or personal stress and it might occur without any prior intimation. Depression is a common mental health condition that is faced by millions of people. You might not always seem sad to be depressed but extensive anhedonia (inability to experience pleasure), inability to experience an increase in mood, and hopelessness are most common signs. The other signs that dictate depression in people include:
▪ Withdrawal from socialising
▪ Immense sadness
▪ Loss of interest in everyday activities and in hobbies which was once enjoyed
▪ Change in appetite
▪ Suicidal tendencies
▪ Unexplained physical problems
Why do depressed people turn towards alcohol/drugs and why is the combination so dangerous?
To escape from the emotional turmoil of depression, depressed people will turn to active alcoholism and drug addiction. Alcohol and drugs increase the amount of dopamine in the mid-brain. Thereby, it reduces the negative impact of feeling much emotional pain.
Alcohol is a depressant that disrupts the chemical balance in our brain, affecting our thoughts, feelings, and actions. This is why we get a relaxed feeling when we have that first drink. Drugs, especially stimulants, gives us a boost of energy. For a lot of people, a drink can help them feel less anxious and more confident. This is because it depresses that part of the brain that is associated with inhibition. But, as the drinking and drugging increases, more is needed to gain the same high. The pain of life manifests exponentially over time to the point where it develops into an addiction. Moreover, excessive intoxication could lead to more depression, hallucinations, delusions, body tremors, and psychosis. Eventually, as addiction develops, there may be a possibility of death.
Can treatment cure depression and addiction?
Depression and addiction is treatable. We call this a Dual Diagnosis. In such procedures, it is best to attend to the addiction through committing to a program of abstinence. This is because much of the symptoms of depression lies hidden beneath the addiction. Hence, only in time, will the depression reveal itself as adequate healing from the addiction is apparent.
Treatment begins with challenging the belief system that has kept the depressed addict in his/her condition. We can challenge these beliefs through a number of talk therapies such as CBT (Cognitive Behavioural Therapy) and DBT (Dialectic Behavioural Therapy).