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Addiction and depression

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Elly
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Addiction and depression « Reply #60 on: February 16, 2012, 10:33 PM »
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Clinical depression is the worst.I have been on meds for years to make me feel normal.it also runs in familys. The feelings of hopeleesness
and sadness are awful.People who commit suicide do it to get away from the pain I remember thinking  of suicide when i was just a child .Had no idea what was wrong.Thank god for Lexapro.
Something Bevc often says on here sticks in my mind - you have to walk a mile in another man's shoes to appreciate what they go through.  I'm glad your medication helps you, and I hope you keep well in the future.  x
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iamabritt
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Addiction and depression « Reply #61 on: February 16, 2012, 10:35 PM »
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Something Bevc often says on here sticks in my mind - you have to walk a mile in another man's shoes to appreciate what they go through.  I'm glad your medication helps you, and I hope you keep well in the future.  x
Thank you Elly so very true.
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Clydey
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Addiction and depression « Reply #62 on: February 16, 2012, 10:46 PM »
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Clinical depression is the worst.I have been on meds for years to make me feel normal.it also runs in familys. The feelings of hopeleesness
and sadness are awful.People who commit suicide do it to get away from the pain I remember thinking  of suicide when i was just a child .Had no idea what was wrong.Thank god for Lexapro.

I've had a little personal experience of it, mainly due to coming off my painkillers. It's a temporary imbalance, so it goes away. However, those few days were horrific. I had no motivation to do anything and there seemed to be no light at the end of the tunnel. Even just experiencing it a little allowed me to understand why people commit suicide because of it. I've also studied the neurobiology of addiction, and wrote a paper on it.
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Mark
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Addiction and depression « Reply #63 on: February 16, 2012, 11:31 PM »
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I've also studied the neurobiology of addiction, and wrote a paper on it.
Whatever. It's just pretentious.

[ Last edit by Mark February 16, 2012, 11:39 PM ] IP Logged
Emma Jean
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Re: Addiction and depression « Reply #64 on: February 17, 2012, 05:29 PM »
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I can see what you did with the title, Mark but I was strictly talking about addictions in general. I’ve told some of you to stay on topic but why the case of clinical depression was brought up is still just beyond me. My comment about a disease being pretentious has to do with addictions and addictions only. I’ve mentioned it before and I will still maintain that, while in some cases both depression and addictions are related, they are not necessarily mutual. For example, a gambler may not suffer from clinical depression or any form of depression. Same with chain smokers and a lot of other addictions.

Similarly, people who tend to overeat don’t necessarily suffer from depression. My eldest brother, for example, is one of the happiest man on earth yet he overeats and now very fat. I am not sure how long he’s going to live but it doesn’t look very good on the outlook. He’s literally eating himself to death yet he can’t help it and that’s simply because he has fallen into the vicious circle of addictions. But he did make the choice himself to overeat at first. That’s why I say that while addiction itself a disease, it’s not a disease that were given to us and that we did everything not to have it, but rather, we took it upon us. In other words, it’s a made up disease. You make a conscious choice when you decide to gamble, or overeat or drink excessively - be it alcohol or coffee etc. or smoke.

My friend’s father made a conscious choice to drink early which led him to become an alcoholic to eventually die at age 54. He had no reason to drink other than the fact that, he grew up in an environment and family where everyone pretty much drank. That was there favourite passing time after all. His daughter then made a conscious choice that she’s never going to drink, so when we go out, I make sure that I don’t drink either just to respect her wish. But you can see the difference the two made and how one led to a better life and the other, well...

There was a girl named Amanda who used to live next to my apartment and she was 24. She too was a drug addict. She took it up for fun, for trying out sake, at 19 then got totally hooked. She had a wonderful family and had absolutely no reason to get addicted but she did choose on it at an age when she could have clearly decided not to do so.

These are just some of my personal encounters with addicted people in which every one of them had a choice to not become an addict.

I don’t know if you know this but addiction problems are only increasing. Why? Because it’s mostly environmental and partly genetic - meaning some people will be more prone to addictions than others but that’s all there’s to it. We live in a day and age where we highly depend on things that comfort us instantly. People are even addicted to even Facebook; it’s harmless but the addiction is there. We can’t possibly live without any of our electronic gadgets for all I know. Life would become instantly meaningless if that were to happen. Back on those days and you don’t even have to go as far back as the Stone Age or let’s say, in the rural part of world where people are still fighting to stay alive, don’t get depressed or addicted so easily mainly because they don’t have the choice to do so. They are still struggling to live first because they feel they are so close to death anyway.

Anyway, the point is – when it comes to addiction, a lot of the times you have the option to actually avoid it; but if you do take that step then it makes it voluntary; therefore, you fall into that vicious circle of addictions and you have only yourself to blame in most cases I’d say.

Clydey, I am going to make a couple of points to you and then in absence please allow yourself to go crazy on me.   Re: my condition, first - I was never diagnosed with clinical depression and that’s only because I never took the initiative. Had I gone to the therapist then it’s entirely possible that I might have been diagnosed with one. After all, I was carrying all the symptoms that of a clinically depressed one at that time. You weren’t with me so how would you know?

Second, please educate yourself before you lecture me and go online and look for articles. I can make your life easier but I have no intention to do so. But once you do research a bit further, you will see that, losses including deaths, in fact especially losses of loved ones cause severe depression.  

While I was very depressed, I educated myself first about the situation before I went on to decide something too concrete and it was a process and it took its sweet time, but I trained myself to think positively and once I did, my life started to change slowly but steadily. In Eckhart Tolle’s case, the transformation was overnight. He, one morning, found himself completely cured as he woke up with this enlightened feeling that changed his life forever. That’s a very rare case but it did happen, mind you given that he was clinically depressed and was suffering from loneliness. So that’s why I say, have you tried and consider everything else before decided to get into addictions like Whitney Houston in this case? I am sure a lot of them didn’t.  

You simply failed to see my point. Not only that, you changed the subject matter with an instant and you called on my depression without even knowing me well or even being there for me. Had you the guy who was with me on those days, I would have taken your words a bit more seriously, but you lost your case even before you started. Now that would be strictly your problem.

And frankly, I don’t care if anyone disagrees with me because ultimately it’s a message board and the purpose of it is to express your opinion. And that’s all I did.  Unfortunately I was talking about my past experience which made me quite vulnerable, so I didn’t make points that much clear and got a bit emotional. Besides it’s hard to argue with one too many people at the same time.

Anyway, am still at work wrapping things up but thought I’d post this before I take off. I wrote this last night but was too tired to post it, so I put it off until now. I wanted to touch a couple of other things that I brought up the other day and never had the chance to clarify, but this is long enough. As long as I get to clarify my main point, though I am sure it will still fall onto deaf ears, because some of your minds are so made up even for a broader, different and open discussions. This literally takes the fun away.

Oh, and I am not sorry for the long post. You very much deserved it. lol
[ Last edit by Emma Jean February 17, 2012, 05:36 PM ] IP Logged
Clydey
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Re: Addiction and depression « Reply #65 on: February 18, 2012, 06:32 PM »
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I can see what you did with the title, Mark but I was strictly talking about addictions in general. I’ve told some of you to stay on topic but why the case of clinical depression was brought up is still just beyond me. My comment about a disease being pretentious has to do with addictions and addictions only. I’ve mentioned it before and I will still maintain that, while in some cases both depression and addictions are related, they are not necessarily mutual. For example, a gambler may not suffer from clinical depression or any form of depression. Same with chain smokers and a lot of other addictions.

Similarly, people who tend to overeat don’t necessarily suffer from depression. My eldest brother, for example, is one of the happiest man on earth yet he overeats and now very fat. I am not sure how long he’s going to live but it doesn’t look very good on the outlook. He’s literally eating himself to death yet he can’t help it and that’s simply because he has fallen into the vicious circle of addictions. But he did make the choice himself to overeat at first. That’s why I say that while addiction itself a disease, it’s not a disease that were given to us and that we did everything not to have it, but rather, we took it upon us. In other words, it’s a made up disease. You make a conscious choice when you decide to gamble, or overeat or drink excessively - be it alcohol or coffee etc. or smoke.

You make a conscious choice, but there may well be reasons that justify that choice. And just because someone makes a choice to do something, it does not mean that their addiction is 'pretentious'. I have no idea how that word could possibly even apply to an addiction.

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My friend’s father made a conscious choice to drink early which led him to become an alcoholic to eventually die at age 54. He had no reason to drink other than the fact that, he grew up in an environment and family where everyone pretty much drank. That was there favourite passing time after all. His daughter then made a conscious choice that she’s never going to drink, so when we go out, I make sure that I don’t drink either just to respect her wish. But you can see the difference the two made and how one led to a better life and the other, well...

He could have made a conscious choice to drink alcohol when he was of age and he still would have likely become addicted. What does that have to do with anything? You have no idea why he became addicted. Most people grow up in an environment 'where everyone pretty much' drinks.

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There was a girl named Amanda who used to live next to my apartment and she was 24. She too was a drug addict. She took it up for fun, for trying out sake, at 19 then got totally hooked. She had a wonderful family and had absolutely no reason to get addicted but she did choose on it at an age when she could have clearly decided not to do so.

Great, an anecdote. Maybe we can get that published in an academic journal.

People make choices and get addicted as a result. People make choices and don't get addicted. What on earth is your point? Getting addicted isn't a choice. It happens even when bad choices aren't made.

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These are just some of my personal encounters with addicted people in which every one of them had a choice to not become an addict.

No, they had a choice not to start the addictive behaviour. They didn't choose to become addicted.

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Clydey, I am going to make a couple of points to you and then in absence please allow yourself to go crazy on me.   Re: my condition, first - I was never diagnosed with clinical depression and that’s only because I never took the initiative. Had I gone to the therapist then it’s entirely possible that I might have been diagnosed with one. After all, I was carrying all the symptoms that of a clinically depressed one at that time. You weren’t with me so how would you know?

Because you described your circumstances, for the umpteenth time. You were not clinically depressed. There is rational depression and there is clinical depression. What you described is the former. It was related to your circumstances and it subsided on its own. That is not clinical depression. Suggesting that it is and you shrugged it off without help is an insult to people who suffer from that condition. You are not special, Emma Jean. You did not suddenly develop clinical depression, seek no help, and just have it disappear.

Your arrogance is nauseating.

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Second, please educate yourself before you lecture me and go online and look for articles. I can make your life easier but I have no intention to do so. But once you do research a bit further, you will see that, losses including deaths, in fact especially losses of loved ones cause severe depression. 

Educate myself? This subject is part of my Master's Degree. I'll include a short essay I wrote on the subject.

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Mark
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Re: Addiction and depression « Reply #66 on: February 18, 2012, 06:34 PM »
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Emma, thanks to the details you have provided, it's absolutely clear you didn't suffer clinical depression. That is all I have to say on this.
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Clydey
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Re: Addiction and depression « Reply #67 on: February 18, 2012, 06:35 PM »
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Addiction

The complexities of drug addiction are oft-overlooked and/or plain misunderstood. One need only switch on the television to realise this, as it assaults us with simplistic phrases such as ‘Say nope to dope’, ‘Hugs not drugs’ and ‘Don’t choose the booze’. My own experience with prescription painkillers makes these slogans seem almost comically naive. The use of opiates was not a choice for me initially, but rather a necessity. This may equally apply to recreational drug use, depending on how strictly you define the term ‘choice’. To what extent is one free to choose if genetically predisposed to addiction, as some studies claim? One might say that freedom of choice is impinged upon in cases involving peer pressure and exposure to environmental factors conducive to substance abuse. In the strictest sense, for the most part we are all free to make our own choices. We ultimately decide, but a multitude of factors contribute to the choices we make, whether they are social, biological, psychological, and so on. This essay will discuss the various approaches to addiction and the extent to which progress is contingent upon an integrated approach .

In order to investigate the subject of addiction it is necessary to first define what is meant by the term ‘addiction’. Definitions range from simple one-sentence descriptions to in-depth diagnostic criteria. Depending on the source, terms such as ‘abuse’, ‘addiction’ and ‘dependence’ are used interchangeably or defined separately (Altman, 1996). For the sake of simplicity and because it would be impossible to accommodate all of the various definitions, this essay will use one of the definitions favoured by Altman (1996, p.286): addiction is ‘...a relatively extreme, pathological state in which obtaining, taking and recovering from a drug represents a loss of behavioural control over drug taking which occurs at the expense of most other activities and despite adverse consequences.’

What are the causes of drug addiction? The answer to that question depends on whom you ask or the addict to whom you are referring, given the potentially large number of interrelated factors that may contribute to addiction (Teesson, 2002). These factors are mostly covered by 3 major approaches to the subject: biological, psychological, and sociological (Altman, 1996; Teesson, 2002). The biological perspective focuses on neurological and genetic factors (Teesson, 2002). We now know a great deal about how the various addictive substances interact with the brain. Research suggests that the mesolimbic dopaminergic pathway  plays a crucial role in these interactions. Experiments involving the intracranial self-stimulation (ICSS) of rats first demonstrated what is now referred to as ‘the dopamine hypothesis’, as mild electric shocks in certain areas of the brain proved to be pleasurable (Goldstein, 2001, p.63). Further experiments involving human participants confirmed these findings and it was discovered that the release of dopamine in these areas was chiefly responsible for the reinforcing effects of drugs that interacted with neurons in this pathway (Goldstein, 2001). Pleasure-seeking alone cannot account for addiction, however. This would simply lead to the notion of addiction as a ‘disease of the will’, which is now an antiquated concept (Orford, 2002, p.1). Most agree that there are more important factors to be considered (Orford, 2002; Teesson, 2002; Goldstein, 2001).

Neuroadaptation has been suggested as one possible contributing factor to drug addiction (Teesson, 2002). This process involves changes in brain chemistry as a result of repeated exposure to a given stimulus. In the context of addiction, the brain is responding to the state of disequilibrium that results from repeated drug use. To illustrate this, I will use my own experience with co-codamol  as a possible example. The repeated use of this opiate increases dopamine levels in the brain. In order to redress the balance, the brain seeks to inhibit the release of dopamine by increasing GABA transmission. The result of this is the need to administer higher doses of co-codamol in order to achieve the high to which I had become accustomed. Neuroadaptation also negatively reinforces the continued use of co-codamol in the event that drug use ceases. Having altered brain chemistry to oppose the increased dopamine levels, the brain is in a less desirable state of disequilibrium now that the changes go unopposed. This theory has been suggested as an explanation for the withdrawal symptoms experienced by drug addicts (Teesson, 2002).

It has been suggested that addiction may be inherited. Various family and twin studies have been undertaken in order to determine the heritability of addiction (Teesson, 2002); however, family studies are inherently flawed due to environmental factors that cannot be discounted. So while alcohol addiction was shown to be higher in cases where family members were also addicted, there must be an asterisk that accompanies these findings (Teesson, 2002). Adoption studies involving twins (both identical and fraternal) do not share this problem and several have demonstrated the possible existence of genetic factors contributing to addiction, particularly concerning alcohol use. Despite this, genes that may be implicated in addiction heritability are yet to be identified (Teesson, 2002). What also needs to be addressed is how genetic  factors contribute to addiction. In other words, the nature of the relationship needs to be clarified.

Sociological and psychological factors are also likely to play a role in addiction. As Orford (2001, p.342) says, ...’some of the strongest determinants [of addiction] are ecological, socioeconomic or cultural...’ The role of peer pressure was touched upon earlier, for example. Individuals can potentially be persuaded to try drugs for the first time, which could lead to addiction even it does not cause it. However, there are reinforcing environmental factors once substance abuse does develop, such as increased likelihood to associate with other drug abusers (Orford, 2001; Teesson, 2002). One must also consider the role of poverty and the potential use of drugs as an escape. There is obvious merit to the notion that simple pleasure-seeking can lead to addiction, even though it cannot explain it. The influence of parents’ drug use is also deemed to increase a child’s chance of developing substance addiction (Teesson, 2002). There are various other theories of addiction that are within the realm of psychology. The role of classical conditioning has been particularly influential in the areas of withdrawal symptoms and reinforcement through association (Berridge and Robinson, 1995). Similarly, certain personality types have been linked with drug addiction (Altman, 1996), which can likely be tied in with genetic and environmental factors.

As can be seen, there are many potential factors to consider when it comes to drug addiction. Interestingly, they may all be correct. The addiction of one individual could develop as a result of genetic predisposition; the addiction of another might be the result of the environment to which he/she was exposed; while the addiction of someone else could be the result of some combination of the factors discussed. Hypothetically, addiction may start with trying a drug because of peer pressure, develop because of a genetic predisposition, be exacerbated by neuroadaptation and continually reinforced through environmental cues that have developed through associative learning. With that in mind, could it be any clearer than an integrated approach is required in order to attain a better understanding of drug addiction?

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Elly
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Re: Addiction and depression « Reply #68 on: February 18, 2012, 06:43 PM »
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^ That's really interesting, James.

One of my brothers had his DNA analysed.  He is in the field of scientific research and found himself in a position to participate.  He was told that if he ever tried heroin, he was four times as likely to become addicted than anyone else, given the predisposition in his genes.  He was also told that there was no genetic predisposition to become addicted to alcohol.  However, as your essay above indicates, there are also environmental and social factors that have to be taken into account in any person's life. 

It's a fascinating subject indeed.
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Re: Addiction and depression « Reply #69 on: February 19, 2012, 01:18 AM »
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Have just found this very interesting thread.  I tried to wade through as much of what has been posted as I could in a short space of time, so if I'm saying something somebody else has already said, then I apologise.

Basically, I suffer regularly from episodes of clinical depression for which I take anit-depressants, but there are times when even they don't help.  I can lie in bed for days at a time, sometimes longer (the last long spell was just before Christmas last year, and it continued for 3 weeks).  I eat very little and all I want to do is sleep all the time, which, obviously, isn't possible.  Nothing interests me, not even MW or my beloved tennis (I even missed the first week of Wimbledon last year) - so if I disappear from time to time, that's usually the reason why.

This depression all started when, at the age of 29, my marriage began to fail after only two years.  Too late I discovered the man I thought I loved and who I thought loved me was in actual fact a bully, and one who resorted to mental rather than physical abuse - and that is the worst kind.  No-one can see mental scars.   Things did drag on for a further two years until finally one day, by mutual consent, he moved out of the flat, which fortunately I had bought and the title to which was in my name.  Luckily too there were no children of the marriage.

As a result of the stress of this I lost my job and, unable to cope with all that had happened, I turned to prescrition drugs - valium and barbiturates.  It quickly got to the stage where I began taking more and more to get the desired effect, particularly when I was forced to sell the flat because I could no longer pay the mortgage. The next few years were a sort of blur.  I went to stay with my parents for a while, then tried living on my own again, but couldn't cope and so went back to my parents, which was pretty grim because they lived in a small village where I knew absolutely nobody.  I was an in-patient at a psychiatric hospital on five occasions in four years.  When doctors weaned me off drugs I turned to alcohol as a means of escape, so I ended up being treated for alcohol addiction, successfully as it happens, and at which point I returned to Edinburgh - and the drug problem started all over again, mainly because I was even lonelier then than I had been after my husband left me, and being lonely in a big city isn't fun.  I tried to commit suicide and ended up in hospital again being weaned off sleeping pills.

By pure chance, after I was discharged, I met somebody who was self-employed and who was looking for someone to do a bit of typing and general office duties for him on a part-time basis.  He was also very understanding about my predicament.  That gave me back my confidence and skills and after a few months I felt well enough to cope with a full-time job.  It was difficult, but for the next few years I was happy.  I had a job and a social life.

Twenty years ago that all came to an end when I was made redundant from two jobs in succession through no fault of my own, and once more I was finally forced to sell my flat because of the mortgage.  This time I was determined not to go down the drug/alcohol route, so struggled on for years, living in rented property and taking what temporary jobs I could get.  Problem was, I had no social life, so once again loneliness was a feature and I just grew more and more into myself becoming more and more depressed and anxious, and also, latterly, agoraphobic (which is a fear of social contact as well as its preceived meaning of fear of being outside), yet I still refused help of any kind - medical or psychological.

One day I collapsed because I had more or less stopped eating and my physical health was suffering, particularly as I have diabetes.  I spent seven months in hospital being treated for clinical depression.  What I had suffered from before was reactive depression (which name speaks for itself), but because it had gone untreated for so long it had become something a lot more sinister, and it looks like I'm stuck with it for life, although fortunately it is episodic. for the moment anyway.  I still suffer from agoraphobia to quite a large extent, but I do have a life of sorts when I'm going through a good spell.  Unfortunately I never know when the next lot of depression is going to come along.  People find this very hard to believe, and I don't blame them, but I can go to bed one night feeling OK, yet wake up next day and it's like I've gone into a black hole, but by the same token I can suddenly just snap out of it and start living again.  I do go to a Centre for people who suffer from mental illness, but usually only when I'm feeling well!  Because I have no other social life it can truly be said that, apart from one very dear man whom I've known for years (purely platonic, by the way) and who has given me tremendous support over the years, all my friends are in my computer.

So I guess that what I'm trying to say is that it is possible for the less serious reactive depression to turn into clinical depression if left untreated for a long period of time, so presumably in that time chemical imbalances somehow take place in the brain, as opposed to those unfortunate souls who seem to have this imbalance anyway, and psychiatrists now believe that these people have these imbalances at birth and that it's only a matter of time before they succumb to clinical depression.

As for addiction - well there is a school of thought that, like clinical depression, some people are born with a "quirk" in their brain which makes them more susceptible to becoming addicts, whether it be to drink, drugs, smoking, gambling, or whatever.  I believe that that's how it was with me after my marriage broke up.  For years I felt that I must be a very weak person because I couldn't function without drugs, whilst so many people were telling me to pull myself together and get a life - usually citing some friend/relative who had had a traumatic experience, yet had managed to cope without any form of dependency, so why couldn't I?  That, however well meant, only had the effect of making me feel even more of a failure, and so the addiction continued until I did finally manage to turn my life around, only to be slapped down again a few years later.

I still have people saying to me "But why can't you just do [whatever]", but these days it just bounces off me because I know that, on the whole, they're speaking from ignorance as to what clinical depression, and agoraphobia, are all about.  Also my treatment is now left in the hands of my GP because, according to the psychiatric profession, once the age of 65 is reached, they don't want to know about you.  You're "old".  End of.  I could only get a referral to an NHS psychiastrist if my mental health seriously deteriorated or I showed signs of Alzheimers - and that, to me, is totally unacceptable in 21st century Britain.

Sorry, for the very long post - I seem to have beaten Emma Jean's record with this one. Smile






[ Last edit by Aileen February 19, 2012, 03:38 AM ] IP Logged
Clydey
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Re: Addiction and depression « Reply #70 on: February 19, 2012, 04:43 AM »
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Have just found this very interesting thread.  I tried to wade through as much of what has been posted as I could in a short space of time, so if I'm saying something somebody else has already said, then I apologise.

Basically, I suffer regularly from episodes of clinical depression for which I take anit-depressants, but there are times when even they don't help.  I can lie in bed for days at a time, sometimes longer (the last long spell was just before Christmas last year, and it continued for 3 weeks).  I eat very little and all I want to do is sleep all the time, which, obviously, isn't possible.  Nothing interests me, not even MW or my beloved tennis (I even missed the first week of Wimbledon last year) - so if I disappear from time to time, that's usually the reason why.

This depression all started when, at the age of 29, my marriage began to fail after only two years.  Too late I discovered the man I thought I loved and who I thought loved me was in actual fact a bully, and one who resorted to mental rather than physical abuse - and that is the worst kind.  No-one can see mental scars.   Things did drag on for a further two years until finally one day, by mutual consent, he moved out of the flat, which fortunately I had bought and the title to which was in my name.  Luckily too there were no children of the marriage.

As a result of the stress of this I lost my job and, unable to cope with all that had happened, I turned to prescrition drugs - valium and barbiturates.  It quickly got to the stage where I began taking more and more to get the desired effect, particularly when I was forced to sell the flat because I could no longer pay the mortgage. The next few years were a sort of blur.  I went to stay with my parents for a while, then tried living on my own again, but couldn't cope and so went back to my parents, which was pretty grim because they lived in a small village where I knew absolutely nobody.  I was an in-patient at a psychiatric hospital on five occasions in four years.  When doctors weaned me off drugs I turned to alcohol as a means of escape, so I ended up being treated for alcohol addiction, successfully as it happens, and at which point I returned to Edinburgh - and the drug problem started all over again, mainly because I was even lonelier then than I had been after my husband left me, and being lonely in a big city isn't fun.  I tried to commit suicide and ended up in hospital again being weaned off sleeping pills.

By pure chance, after I was discharged, I met somebody who was self-employed and who was looking for someone to do a bit of typing and general office duties for him on a part-time basis.  He was also very understanding about my predicament.  That gave me back my confidence and skills and after a few months I felt well enough to cope with a full-time job.  It was difficult, but for the next few years I was happy.  I had a job and a social life.

Twenty years ago that all came to an end when I was made redundant from two jobs in succession through no fault of my own, and once more I was finally forced to sell my flat because of the mortgage.  This time I was determined not to go down the drug/alcohol route, so struggled on for years, living in rented property and taking what temporary jobs I could get.  Problem was, I had no social life, so once again loneliness was a feature and I just grew more and more into myself becoming more and more depressed and anxious, and also, latterly, agoraphobic (which is a fear of social contact as well as its preceived meaning of fear of being outside), yet I still refused help of any kind - medical or psychological.

One day I collapsed because I had more or less stopped eating and my physical health was suffering, particularly as I have diabetes.  I spent seven months in hospital being treated for clinical depression.  What I had suffered from before was reactive depression (which name speaks for itself), but because it had gone untreated for so long it had become something a lot more sinister, and it looks like I'm stuck with it for life, although fortunately it is episodic. for the moment anyway.  I still suffer from agoraphobia to quite a large extent, but I do have a life of sorts when I'm going through a good spell.  Unfortunately I never know when the next lot of depression is going to come along.  People find this very hard to believe, and I don't blame them, but I can go to bed one night feeling OK, yet wake up next day and it's like I've gone into a black hole, but by the same token I can suddenly just snap out of it and start living again.  I do go to a Centre for people who suffer from mental illness, but usually only when I'm feeling well!  Because I have no other social life it can truly be said that, apart from one very dear man whom I've known for years (purely platonic, by the way) and who has given me tremendous support over the years, all my friends are in my computer.

So I guess that what I'm trying to say is that it is possible for the less serious reactive depression to turn into clinical depression if left untreated for a long period of time, so presumably in that time chemical imbalances somehow take place in the brain, as opposed to those unfortunate souls who seem to have this imbalance anyway, and psychiatrists now believe that these people have these imbalances at birth and that it's only a matter of time before they succumb to clinical depression.

As for addiction - well there is a school of thought that, like clinical depression, some people are born with a "quirk" in their brain which makes them more susceptible to becoming addicts, whether it be to drink, drugs, smoking, gambling, or whatever.  I believe that that's how it was with me after my marriage broke up.  For years I felt that I must be a very weak person because I couldn't function without drugs, whilst so many people were telling me to pull myself together and get a life - usually citing some friend/relative who had had a traumatic experience, yet had managed to cope without any form of dependency, so why couldn't I?  That, however well meant, only had the effect of making me feel even more of a failure, and so the addiction continued until I did finally manage to turn my life around, only to be slapped down again a few years later.

I still have people saying to me "But why can't you just do [whatever]", but these days it just bounces off me because I know that, on the whole, they're speaking from ignorance as to what clinical depression, and agoraphobia, are all about.  Also my treatment is now left in the hands of my GP because, according to the psychiatric profession, once the age of 65 is reached, they don't want to know about you.  You're "old".  End of.  I could only get a referral to an NHS psychiastrist if my mental health seriously deteriorated or I showed signs of Alzheimers - and that, to me, is totally unacceptable in 21st century Britain.

Sorry, for the very long post - I seem to have beaten Emma Jean's record with this one. Smile


One other possibility is that the addiction may have caused the clinical effects. A serious addiction can create a lasting effect on the brain. As it said in my essay, your brain is in a state of disequilibrium once you stop taking the drugs and this can have a horrendous effect on one's mood.

Anyway, you seem to have led quite a life. You've done well to soldier on, given how long you have suffered from depression. It's a lonely existence.
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Aileen
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Re: Addiction and depression « Reply #71 on: February 19, 2012, 05:34 AM »
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One other possibility is that the addiction may have caused the clinical effects. A serious addiction can create a lasting effect on the brain. As it said in my essay, your brain is in a state of disequilibrium once you stop taking the drugs and this can have a horrendous effect on one's mood.

Anyway, you seem to have led quite a life. You've done well to soldier on, given how long you have suffered from depression. It's a lonely existence.
Thank you James. hug   Fortunately I did have some very good times in my youth, and then for a few years when I was in my 40s until things collapsed around me again, so it hasn't all been bad.  Also I do at least have good spells in between the bad which make life bearable, and that is something for which I am very grateful.
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Emma Jean
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Re: Addiction and depression « Reply #72 on: February 28, 2012, 08:27 PM »
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Aileen, thanks for sharing your story. It was very touching.  hug I don’t think life was ever meant to be easy for anyone anyway though some handle it better than others and I mostly contribute that to the mentality one has and also, in the environment one grows up. For example, Muslims very rarely drink as it’s prohibited in their religion so the addiction to alcohol is very rare in those countries. There are, however, a lot of cases of addictions to prescriptions drugs but only of late. Because Muslims women are more conservative by religion and passive by nature, you will see a lot of mental abusing (and physical as well) in marriages by their husbands and these women aren’t at all educated or independent enough to leave their husbands and make it on their own. So they stay in this life long abusing marriage just for the sake of it (for children a lot of the cases) but very rarely they become depressed or addicted, because there aren’t a lot of suicide cases to draw any other conclusions. Perhaps because first of all, they don’t have the scope as a lot of them aren’t even allowed to leave the house and also because, they probably accept it as a way of life. 

Anyway, can you tell me if you don’t mind it, why your marriage had such terrible affect on you? Wasn’t that a normal occurrence of life like death anyway? I am genuinely curious.
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Re: Addiction and depression « Reply #73 on: February 28, 2012, 09:56 PM »
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Probably because the bottom fell out of her world - a marriage break up is one of the worst things that can happen to you.
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Re: Addiction and depression « Reply #74 on: February 29, 2012, 03:32 AM »
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Aileen, thanks for sharing your story. It was very touching.  hug

Anyway, can you tell me if you don’t mind it, why your marriage had such terrible affect on you? Wasn’t that a normal occurrence of life like death anyway? I am genuinely curious.
Sorry EJ, but I've only just got round to this.  No I don't mind telling you.

sengamac is right, up to a point - but the reason it had such a terrible affect on me was just as I stated in my post, i.e. "Too late I discovered the man I thought I loved and who I thought loved me was in actual fact a bully, and one who resorted to mental rather than physical abuse - and that is the worst kind.  No-one can see mental scars."

To elaborate - I was frequently told how useless I was, although why I let that get to me, I don't know because I was successfully holding down a fairly demanding job, as well as running around after him (he was bone lazy); I was compared unfavourably to the girlfriends/wives of his mates (there was a crowd of us who socialised together);  I was humiliated in front of our friends; I was useless in bed - and that, by the way, was rich coming from him!  To put it bluntly he was one of the "quick in and out" brigade.  Foreplay was almost non-existent, and once he'd satisfied himself simply turned over and fell asleep (fortunately I've since had two separate relationships with men who were wonderful lovers).  The ultimate insult here though was when he started looking at fairly hard porn magazines in my presence - in fact he actually kept them under the bed.  That in addition to openly having a brief fling with a man-eating solo female who was in our hotel when we went on holiday to what was the former Yugoslavia.

So that was it - I felt worthless and degraded - and if somebody keeps on telling you the same negative things over and over again, believe me it has the same effect as water dripping onto a stone, i.e. over a long enough period of time it gradually erodes all your integrity, confidence and self-esteem.

Strangely enough this is the first time since my marital break-up that I've actually written down what I've said in both posts, but it's so distant now it's almost like it happened to somebody else and not me.

[ Last edit by Aileen February 29, 2012, 03:36 AM ] IP Logged
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