Addiction and Depression, Two Sides to the Same Coin?

I’ve been reading some articles lately, and recently had a bout of serious SAD. I’ve considered myself addicted to sugar. More recently I’ve been finding myself watching a lot of T.V and browsing the internet. Part of that has to do with me being in a work environment that is not suited to my personality. I’m miserable, so I am taking steps to get out of that job and find myself one that better suits me.

Last January, I read a huffington post article on addiction. It was kind of a revelation to me, but I really didn’t do anything with it as I was concentrating on other things.

Then I read this New York Post article which reminded me about the article I had read last year. It got me thinking about how similar addiction and depression are.

If I stay home too many days in a row, no matter how many people I talk with via the internet or phone, I seriously go stir crazy. I experienced it when DH was away at tech school and I still experience. At the same time, if I’m around too many people in a day, all I want to do is be alone and escape in a fantasy book or T.V. show. I need a nice medium.

So what I’m saying is that humans are a social creature. If we’re isolated too long (no matter how introverted you are, you need SOME human contact, even if it’s less than extroverts) we are more likely to develop depression and/or addictions. However, if we are in a healthy environment where we have people who support us, don’t try to make us be someone we’re not, and generally have fun, even if we’re presented with an addicting drug (for example Percocet for pain after a surgery), the chance of getting addicted is practically nil. See the Rat Park study for more information.

Not only does addiction or depression have to do with having a good support group, it has to do with your personality and being in an environment where your personality will thrive. For some people (like me) they need a regimented routine, for others they can’t thrive on having everything planned out.

You also have to be eating right and getting exercise. Yeah, I know you hear this a lot. But seriously. It takes will power to deal with this shit. Addictions are not a disease like down-syndrome. You CAN break it. There are alcoholics who recover and are able to socially drink. Hell, after doing the research for this, I can no longer use the excuse that alcoholism runs in my family, so I don’t want to become an addict. I DON’T LIKE ALCOHOL AND HOW IT BEHAVES IN MY SYSTEM! For some reason people can’t seem to understand that…but that’s a topic for another time.

Will power is like a muscle. The more you use it, the better you become at using it. But I think there is an added part to this. You have to have some sort of support in what you are trying to do, and this person(s) REALLY have to support you. They can’t be just “yeah, yeah, I support you.” They have to be like “Yes, I will help you in anyway I can, just let me know what I can do for you. Do you want help with this aspect of it?”

For depression/SAD, if I’m not getting at least 5,000 steps a day (any less than that and you are considered sedentary, and 10,000 is the general consensus of professionals to be the optimum goal), I feel it. If I don’t take my vitamin supplements (D and probiotic at the least) I can feel the lethargy start to settle in. So now, when I start to feel that, instead of giving in, I go take my vitamins, plop myself down in front of my Happy Lite, and get going. If I don’t have anything pressing to do, I might take a walk on my treadmill to get the blood flowing.

The human psyche is extremely complicated, and each person is different from the next. You have to find what works for you, because what works for ME will probably not work for you. Just keep going, keep getting up when you get knocked down, find your niche of people who support you, find what foods and exercise work for you. Keep working at it until you get it.

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