Depression Isn’t an Addiction: It’s an Illness

photomedic.netOne of the chapters of my memoir, Beyond Blue, is called “The Least Harmful Addiction.” I explain that will power is, regrettably, a finite thing. We have a limited amount, so we must preserve it for the most harmful addictions we have (i.e. When desperate, we should inhale chocolate truffles over geting wasted on vodka). In that chapter, I list all my vices in order of most threatening to least threatening: depression, alcoholism, toxic relationships, workaholism, nicotine, sugar, and caffeine.

Someone in Group Beyond Blue, the online support group I moderate, was reading my book and was confused why I would list depression among my addictions. “Is depression really an addiction?” she asked. Her query inspired an interesting conversation in the group.

There were those who believe that people can become addicted to depression much like a kid becomes reliant on his blankie. The negative thought patterns, if left unchallenged, create a kind of trap or a false sense of security. Some believed that a person can get too comfortable with the apathy and emptiness of depression. Then they don’t want to change.

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