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on psychiatry and psychology

Can a Depression Cause the Development of an Addiction?

Abstract: Yes, depression can lead a person to start an addiction.

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Can a Depression Cause the Development of an Addiction?

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Question(s): 
Written by: Wendy Moelker, Psychologist in charge, tutor, Emergis center for mental health care, Goes, the Netherlands.
First version: 22 Jul 2008.
Latest revision: 22 Jul 2008.

Can a depression cause the development of an addiction?

Answer:

In order to find out if someone has a depression, the person involved should be examined by a psychologist or a psychiatrist. They can make the diagnosis and offer a specialized treatment, like medication or a combination of medication and individual psychological therapy. Depression has the following characteristics, over a longer period of time:

  • lack of wanting to do things or having less fun in(almost) every activity.
  • obvious loss or increase of weight.
  • depressive mood during a great part of the day.
  • lack of sleep or too much sleep.
  • slowness in movement.
  • fatigue and loss of energy.
  • difficulty in thinking and concentrating, or indecisiveness.
  • repeated thoughts of death.

These signs cannot originate from the use of drugs or alcohol. However, they can cause someone to start using drugs or alcohol to make himself feel better, and as a result develop an addiction. If that happens, the addiction is yet another problem. The person involved should ask himself the following questions:

  • do I drink, smoke, gamble or use drugs to decrease above-mentioned symptoms or to make me feel better?
  • before I started to drink, smoke, gamble or use drugs did I suffer from any of the above-mentioned symptoms?
  • do I really feel better behaving like this?

It is important to find professional help to solve your problems.

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