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Last Updated on April 28, 2023

Have you ever ever tried to eat, sleep, or drink your blues away?

Alcohol, comfort food, and all-day snooze fests can briefly numb feelings of melancholy — and because of this, self-medicating with these methods (instead of actually getting to the origin of your depression and seeking treatment) may seem like a viable quick fix.

Actually, numbing your blue disposition with unhealthy coping mechanisms may be one of the very first signals of melancholy, explains Stephanie A. Gamble, PhD, assistant professor in the department of psychiatry at the University of Rochester Medical Center in New York. Gamble’s current research into depression in alcohol dependent women reveals that lots of women aren’t entirely aware of the link between their depression symptoms and their alcohol use until they consider a life look at their alcohol usage — when they started, and what they were using alcohol in reaction to.

By some estimates, nearly one in three people with depression possess a substance abuse illness, including drugs or booze. But by turning to these vices, you won’t be really got the depression relief you seek — instead, it can merely make things worse. On top of feeling depressed, you may find yourself in the midst of family disagreement, financial adversity, and worsened disposition.

“If you might have somebody who is depressed and using illegal drugs, or if you have someone who has a material addiction problem and depression is layered in on that, it makes treatment more difficult,” Gamble says. “It’s going to make it more difficult to achieve remission.”

Depression ‘Treatments’ That Bring Self Harm

Gamble describes that using unhealthy coping mechanisms often starts out fairly innocently, with folks duplicating something that brought them happiness and relief previously. But since these tactics can not really treat depression, the depression symptoms persevere, occasionally worsened by the efforts to self-medicate.

A number of the harmful means people attempt to cope with depression include:

  • Alcohol. You will find alcohol in most social settings, and it’s even sometimes advocated (in modest amounts) for good health. So it is easy to slip into boozing consistently to ease mental pain. “Oftentimes, the folks around them become more conscious of the issue in relation to the individuals themselves,” says Gamble. If you discover yourself going back to the bottle during the day or are in possession of a family or personal history of alcohol abuse, you might be in danger for dependency.
  • Drug use. Not only are most illegal drugs addictive, they can still interfere together with the effectiveness of true melancholy treatment. “After the ramifications of the substance have worn off, you’re still left with that underlying depression, irritability, or lack of interest or delight,” Gamble says. Exactly like alcohol, drug use could be followed by withdrawal. Depression symptoms can be all really perpetuated by this, plus the remorse, shame, and side effect from the habit.
  • Painkillers. “The use of prescription painkillers is really on the rise, and emergency sections are seeing increases in overdoses and surely a growth in dependency,” Gamble says. Painkiller dependence often begins having a legitimate need for pain relief, but when you are using painkillers to numb not only physical pain but also emotional pain, that’s a problem.
  • Comfort food. You would not be the first to reach for a doughnut on a rough day, but if it’s a routine habit, you might be overeating in an effort to cope with melancholy. Medical researchers are starting to look at whether being overweight increases the risk for depression for bodily reasons — so be aware that you might literally be feeding your melancholy with this particular strategy.
  • Shopping. It’s called “retail therapy” to get a reason: Shopping supplies some people with temporary depression relief. Apart from not addressing issues that are important, Gamble points out that, if you do not have the resources to pay the credit card statement getting yourself into debt could just make things worse.
  • Promiscuity. Studies have revealed a connection between risky sex (unprotected sex or sex with new partners) and depression. Like shopping, this can provide short-term relief, but the long-term impact on physical and emotional health could just make melancholy worse.
  • Self-mutilation. This form of self-harm calls for causing yourself physical pain — such as picking at or cutting your skin, or even biting yourself — to alleviate emotional pain. By some estimates, as many as 1 percent of people have engaged in some kind of self harm.
  • Sleeping the day away. Depression may cause serious and unanticipated changes in sleep habits. If thinking of remaining in bed today (and tomorrow, and also the day after that) seems better than needing to get up and deal with your daily life, this may be a warning sign that you’re depressed. Sleep, as it could appear to be a recourse from your own issues, is not so much a melancholy treatment as a symptom.
  • Suicidal thoughts. Preparation your personal passing, called suicide ideation, might seem like the very best way out of the shadowy world of melancholy. Nevertheless, having these thoughts is a severe symptom of depression — and depression could be treated. Urgent treatment is required in this instance to direct you away from this long-lasting solution to a difficulty that was short-term and treatable.
SEE ALSO:  Depression Common in Those With PTSD, Study Finds

Depression Treatments That Do Work

Though treating depression ought to be individualized, the best depression relief will probably come from a variety of the following:

  • Conversation therapy. Many people can realize significant relief through cognitive behavioral therapy or another therapeutic strategy having a mental health professional that helps them identify what’s (and is not) working nicely in their lives.
  • Drug. Depression alleviation for unique or serious symptoms generally could be gotten through the proper antidepressants.
  • Lifestyle changes. Eating better, being physically active, learning stress management techniques, and getting regular sleep will all go a very long way toward aiding you to reach melancholy relief.
  • Treatment that is habit. Because substance abuse and addictive behaviors (shopping, sex, or betting) can actually make depression worse or treatment-resistant, you must get help with one of these problems too. Twelve-step programs have become powerful.

Usually, combining treatment and treatment with proper lifestyle changes will result in the most effective results.

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