There is a natural part of us biologically that fights the feeling of pain. We don't like it. We spend billions of dollars on drugs every year so that we don't have to experience pain of any kind from a headache to cancer. Pain is no fun!
That's why when you are suffering from depression, your body has the strong urge to protect it's self from the psychological and sometimes physical pain of the disorder, and so we self-medicate.
Remember the old lady in your neighborhood that all the kids made fun of or at least talked about behind closed doors. "Poor Mrs. McGrady. She drinks a little too much and never leaves her front porch." Well, that was probably because poor Mrs. McGrady suffered from severe depression ever since her children left home for college 30 years ago. And to dull the pain - to get through the day - Mrs. McGrady drinks rum and orange juice all day.
That's just one example. People can self-medicate in many ways including over-indulgence of alcohol, food, prescription drugs (such as Ambien), sex, gambling, and many other vices. Does this sound familiar?
What you think may be someone you know or love with a problem of addiction, more than likely stemmed from an undiagnosed case of clinical depression. Especially with men. Men are rarely diagnosed with mental disorders such as depression or anxiety disorder, because they often don't seek treatment.
What can you do?
1. Well if you are the person who knows someone with a self-medicating addiction, remember that the addiction is stemming from a much bigger place. One of which could be depression. Help that person find support for their mental health --as well as a stint in rehab. Many people often go through a rehabilitative program, get clean, and never follow through with the therapy afterwards that is so desperately needed so support that new life.
2. If you are the person self-medicating. Know that at some point you are going to have feel the pain in order to be able to work through it. Tricking yourself into believing that there is nothing wrong by masking it -- never works. That's how so many people leave this world having lived unfulfilled lives. Lives in a fog, because they were too afraid to acknowledge their pain and then devise a strategy to rid themselves of it. Don't be that person. Don't leave that legacy.
Are you depressed? Find out for free by taking a free online depression screening.
Quick Tip: Addictions often start when a person uses them to fill a void in their lives. What is the missing part of your life? What could make your life a whole lot better? What do you consider living a successful life?
Addictive Thinking, Second Edition : Understanding Self-Deception
Lisa Angelettie, "GirlShrink" is an online advice authority. Her site GirlShrink.com is the #1 "Advice & Counseling" site on the web. Visit her site for a personal advice session. Please visit us for more discussion on this topic in the depression forum to talk about it further. Don't forget to subscribe to our newsletter for topics in the news, new articles, website & book reviews, and other useful mental health resources. Subscribe below.