This is an angle I hear non-depressed people discuss often.
Is depression an addiction? That is to say, do people get addicted to the depressed mindset?
Most people who claim such things are often times less than knowledgeable when it comes to depression.
This makes their opinions seem less than relevant – after all, what do they know?
Yet it’s not difficult to see why people grow to assume such things about depression people.
So what is it? What is it that makes people think that depression is addictive?
It’s because depression is seen as something that people don’t really want to stop.
Crazy, right? Why would people think that we enjoy being depressed?
But here’s the thing, while we don’t enjoy being depressed, we aren’t really in a hurry to get better.
Allow me to explain
Is Depression Addictive?
To answer this question we are going to have to review the terms “depression” and “addiction” separately.
- Addiction – A type of disorder that’s classified by a compulsive engagement in rewarding stimuli, regardless of consequences (according to Wikipedia).
- Depression – A type of disorder that’s characterized by a variety of symptoms that persist for two weeks at the very least.
That being said, none of this proves that depression is addictive, merely that depression and addiction are closely related.
What if I told you that the relation between the two was much more subtle than that?
Back in the military, they didn’t try to help us
A few years back, when I served in the military, I had an acquaintance who suffered from depression.
We were on the same team and he was clearly depressed.
It wasn’t my place to assume so, and for the most part I didn’t, but he was also reviewed by multiple professionals and was deemed as depressed.
He often times went to what I assumed were therapy sessions, yet nothing has changed in practice.
If anything, he only seemed to get even duller than he was before.
Not to insult him or anything, but there wasn’t any spark in his eyes (even when you could actually see them).
I went through the same thing more than once in my life, but his situation just seemed to get worse and worse.
A few weeks later he was excused from obligatory service.
Yet it was only about a year later that I discovered what happened to him.
You see, the whole purpose of the mental health system in the army is to decide who is eligible for service or not.
Actual therapy isn’t really in the plan.
Case in point, they will feed you a bunch of antidepressants and carefully document your progress through weekly meetings.
At first I was shocked, but as it turns out, very few depressed people seemed to mind that fact.
The sad truth
“People think depression is sadness, crying or dressing in black. But people are wrong. Depression is the constant feeling of being numb. You wake up in the morning just to go back to bed again.”
Being exposed to the inner workings of the military’s mental health treatments, I decided to look into the bottom of this mess.
As it turns out, however, nobody really seemed to mind.
The treatment wasn’t working, and people wanted to be released from their service, yet neither of those things would help them feel better.
Depression is numbness, a total lack of will or intent. You wake up in order to go to bad again.
This also means that depressed people are unlikely to take action in order to improve their condition.
The sad truth is that depressed people become used to the notion of being depressed.
It’s far from being pleasant, it’s actually downright horrible for the most part, yet they can’t bring themselves to do anything about it.
Because depression-sufferers are comfortable with their situation.
Don’t get me wrong, they hate being depressed, but they have “made peace” with depression.
Their entire existence is stagnant, they can’t bring themselves to care about anything for the most part.
Not even about improving their own condition.
This means that depressed people tend to just “want” to improve their condition, yet aren’t really willing to put in the effort to make any changes.
Through no fault of their own, mind you, it’s just the way their minds are made up.
To a person who suffers from depression or anxiety, it’s much more preferable to do take their pills and look for a forum for depressed people or something to share their experiences and thoughts and read the thoughts and experiences of others.
In other words, their medication makes them feel less horrible (or they might just be dependent on it to function), and they want to find companionship.
Seriously, depressed people attract other depressed people as if it’s second nature for them.
This is why the military promotes such a careless form of treatment – their sole motivation is to understand whether or not their soldiers are functional.
So what should be done?
The truth is that depression can be a life-long struggle for most people.
You need to put in a lot of effort to overcome it, and it’s definitely going to take a while before you see substantial results.
Depressed people, for the most part, don’t have the perseverance to pull something like this off.
In my case, for example, I never once forgot how happy I was as a child.
I was energetic, happy and full of life and curiosity.
Just recalling these distant memories made me angry enough to do something about them.
It bordered on an obsession really.
I couldn’t think straight at all, but I wanted to be the same happy kid that I was back then.
Unrealistic, I know, but the idea itself served me well enough.
You need to take action
It’s an ugly truth, but only by taking action consistently are you going to get any results.
So what are your options, really? Oh boy, there are too many of them to count!
Generally, however, I believe that you should focus on both body and mind for this to work.
Maintaining good physical health goes a long way in treating mental disorders.
Exercise has a huge variety of positive benefits, some of which are directly related to mental health.
Some other benefits include an increase in self-esteem and confidence.
Making simple choices in terms of diet can go a long way.
If you decide to actually actively pursue mental health, exercising can have huge results in the long run.
By having the right habits you will be able to shape your own mindset over time.
This progress can be further enhanced by regular therapy sessions and exposure to a nurturing and supportive environment.
Avoid negative people and strive to make a change in yourself, don’t let others drag you down with them.
Once you develop the right mindset and attempt to pursue your goals for long enough you will find yourself experiencing a positive change in your life.
This is extremely crucial, you must be borderline obsessed with the idea of getting your life back for this entire procedure to work.
Easier said than done, right?
So, let’s review: Is depression an addiction?
To answer the original question – No, depression isn’t an addiction.
There are no stimuli to pursue, merely the notion of continuing with your solitude, regardless of any desire for your life to be anything but that sense of nothingness.
Real changes need to be made for you to experience any improvement in your condition.
You can’t just “want” to get better, it doesn’t work that way.
Even antidepressants won’t take you far if you simply lack the will to make a change in your life, as many people with depression do.
I urge you, take action.
Do not be passive, do not submit to your condition while coming up with excuses.
I understand your pain, but that’s the worst thing that you could do to yourself!
Here’s something to think about: Have you been taking action regarding your problems, or did you choose to be passive about them?
We might give up too soon, we might even not try at all, but this won’t get us anywhere.
Make sure to write down your thoughts in the comment section below, we could all use the support of knowing that you are here 🙂
If you got any questions that you would like to ask me personally then please be sure to send me an email.
I always reply to any emails that I receive (unless it’s spam).