Depression Is an Addiction
The Definition of Addiction
Addiction has been defined as follows:- “Being abnormally tolerant to and dependent on something that is psychologically or physically habit forming.”
With this definition in mind, anyone who has experienced long standing depression can say without doubt that it is indeed a “psychological habit that a person has an abnormal tolerance to and dependence upon”.
How Does Someone Become Addicted to Depression?
Everyone has their own personal story and history of how their addiction began. The most likely wide ranging scenario though is as follows…
At some point in a person’s life (probably somewhere in childhood), a person’s identity became rooted in depression. If one takes into consideration the Fear-Anger-Depression link (ie: that anger is a mask for fear as it gives a person a sense of power in a powerless situation and depression is stuffed anger that a person does not feel a right to have or express), then it is easier to understand how, if that person is experiencing regular situations which are fear inducing and then do not feel they have an outlet or a right to express the anger the fear induces in them, then the pattern of stuffing the anger turns into a habit and then turns over time into depression which then turns into an addiction.
There are many factors to be considered as to why people choose or are forced long term to stay in their depression addiction:-
- Depression is often a better alternative to anxiety.
- People seek the familiar and if a person has been depressed for some time, this is what is now familiar even though it is painful.
- Fear releases adrenaline into the body which a person can become addicted to and anger releases cortisol (also potentially addictive) meaning there are physiological addictions related to depression too if one remembers the Fear-Anger-Depression factor.
- Depression is safe in that a person knows where they are with it. It is like a pair of old moth eaten slippers. They know what to expect from it and it holds no surprises.
- Depression becomes a part of who you are – the missing link – similar in fact to a drug addict or alcoholic when a person does not feel complete without their drug of choice.
- As with any addiction, a person knows it is a problem and harmful to them but is often powerless to stop it.
- Any change is scary even if a person is desperate for change. Old habits will do their best to kick in if defiance is shown to the addiction.
- There is also often the feeling that even when life is getting better on the outside and conditions change in a person’s life, a part of the depressed person does not want to embrace happiness as depression is all they know. It has them trapped in quicksand.
- Depression is simply “comfortable” no matter how uncomfortable and painful it feels. Happiness is alien, frightening and threatening to the status quo. As a species, humans often fear change – both good and bad. Therefore every ounce of progress must be balanced up (on a subconscious level) by an act of self sabotage and in the case of depression addiction, the choice to be depressed and create more pain in the body when faced with a positive move forward of some description. Too much success must be balanced by failure.
- The bottom line is this… people who are addicted to misery try to protect themselves against feeling bad by not feeling too good. It becomes a catch 22 situation.
How Does a Person Recover From Depression Addiction Without the Use of Drugs?
There is no one way but admitting and accepting you have the problem is probably your best first step. Depending upon what the root cause is will be your starting point in how best to proceed. In general though, there are many non-drug routes to go down which could help. For example:-
- Cognitive Behavioural Therapy
- EFT (also known as Tapping)
- 12 Step Recovery Programs
- Holistic Therapies
A Book called “When Misery is Company” by Anne Katherine is also a very useful resource as it discusses Misery Addiction and has a recovery program for it.
By Billi Caine