Loneliness and Depression Can Fuel Addiction
Addiction often starts, and gets worse, from feeling lonely or depressed. Turning to drugs and alcohol becomes a way to cope with uncomfortable emotions like loneliness and depression. It numbs the pain from feeling alone, unwanted, unloved and confused. It allows us to avoid dealing with our emotions. Drugs and alcohol deliver a false sense of comfort which in turn allows one to temporarily feel that they are no longer lonely and depressed. It is temporary, deceptive, unhealthy and ultimately destructive.
When we do put down the drugs and alcohol, all of those emotions come back. We sober up, and since we’ve never done anything to truly cope with the original emotion, we become sad again. We must continue to use alcohol and drugs to avoid the problem. This is how loneliness and depression can fuel addiction.
Loneliness and Depression Can Fuel Addiction: What is loneliness?
Loneliness and depression can both fuel addiction, but they are two very different emotions. Being lonely is mostly a state of mind. That feeling of loneliness can disappear if you change your attitude. There can be a joy of solitude rather than a “down” of loneliness. Loneliness comes from a feeling of being isolated from others. Someone can feel loneliness even in a crowd of people. Conversely, you don’t have to feel lonely, even when you are alone. Combating loneliness starts by becoming comfortable with yourself and by learning to connect with other people and the world around you. It is also about changing your state of mind.
Loneliness and Depression Can Fuel Addiction: What is depression?
Depression is different. Depression affects people in different ways. Temporary depression is a normal part of life. If you are living life on life’s terms, there are bound to be times when you are not feeling happy. When those feelings hit, the question becomes how will you deal with it? Part of dealing with depression in a healthy way comes from realizing that it is only temporary, and drugs and alcohol will not help in the long run. Things will get better; this will pass, and until then, try to do something for someone else. Helping someone else or listening to someone else’s problems is a good way to get out of your own head and to get some perspective on your own problems.
Clinical depression, however, is a different story. It is a very real disorder, classified by a depressed mood all day, diminished interest in activities that used to be enjoyable, significant weight loss or gain, fatigue, and even recurrent thoughts of death. Clinical depression can fuel addiction because you become so desperate to get away from the pain. If your depression is in this category, the best option is to seek the care of a mental health professional. Sometimes, using drugs and alcohol for a long time can throw off the chemistry in the brain, and there are several types of medications that can help with this.
Above all, it is important to remember that in order to be truly successful in dealing with depression and loneliness, you must be clean and sober and committed to a clean and sober lifestyle. Drugs and alcohol may seem like a good fix at first, but ultimately, you end up making things much, much worse.
If your loved one is in need of alcohol or drug addiction treatment please give us a call at 800-951-6135.