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Depression

There are many different types of depression: Typical depression – major depression, bipolar disorders – manic depression,  cyclothymic disorder, dysthymia – neurotic depression, adjustment disorders – reactive depression, symptomatic depression, depression in conjunction with addiction, depression as a side effect of drugs, winter depression, depression during puberty, premenstrual syndrome, baby blues, postnatal depression and menopausal depression

Definition according to WHO: “a common mental disorder, characterized by sadness, loss of interest or pleasure, feelings of guilt or low self-worth, disturbed sleep or appetite, feelings of tiredness, and poor concentration. Depression can be long-lasting or recurring, substantially impairing an individual’s ability to function at work or school or cope with daily life. At its most severe, depression can lead to suicide.  Mild types of depression can be treated without medicines but when depression is moderate or severe they may need medication and professional talking treatments. Depression often starts at a young age. Women are more affected by depression than men and unemployed people are also at a greater risk.“

Addiction and depression are often mutually reinforcing. Addicted people use alcohol to treat their depression while the damaging effect of the alcohol  makes them depressed. Drugs decrease awareness and, hence, act as painkillers—no just for the body but also for the soul.

Depression is characterized by a cognitive triad:  negative views of the world, of self, and of the future. This makes aggressive,  listless and blunt. All feelings die, life appears to be unbearably empty and senseless. Alcohol lifts the “mood”, even if the mood is negative. Yet, high spirits soon turn into irritability and a  feeling of discomfort. A “hangover“, however, is a socially accepted, self-compatible explanation pattern for depressive experience and behavior.

Alcohol makes more eloquent and self-conscious, reduces anxiety and barriers, disinhibits and (initially) has a sexually stimulating effect. A depression, however, is characterized by deficits in exactly these areas: Depression makes shy, listless, tired, it reduces  self worth and sexual desire. It is therefor understandable why the addictive substance is used.

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