Addiction Articles

Is Depression an Addiction?

Friday, September 19th, 2014

photomedic.netOne of the chapters of my memoir, Beyond Blue, is called “The Least Harmful Addiction.” I explain that willpower 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 getting 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.

Psychology Around the Net: September 13, 2014

Saturday, September 13th, 2014

Tips for Getting to Sleep and Staying Asleep

What happens when you and your partner are on different sleep-wake schedules? Do you experience anxiety when waiting on a text reply? What about social media — how is it affecting both your brain and your body? Find out within this week’s Psychology Around the Net.

Couples on Different Sleep Schedules Can Expect Conflict — and Adapt: If “[e]xperts think couples tend to have more stable sleep-wake routines and help co-regulate each other,” what happens when the two have sleep-wake schedules completely out of whack with one another?

Once an Addict, Always an Addict?

Saturday, August 30th, 2014

Once an Addict, Always an Addict? This is a saying I’ve always grappled with. One part of me is against any type of labeling, let alone a heavy label to be carried for the rest of your life. We are all so interchangeably dynamic, that to categorize someone into a box forever doesn’t sit well. 

Another part of me completely agrees with this statement and perceives it to be utterly valid. Instead of denying who you are, true acceptance perhaps is the only way to not only recover, but to continue to maintain your recovery. However much I am against “branding” someone for life, it is human nature to create categorizes in order to piece things together and make sense of circumstances.

How the Brain Creates a Dependence On Opioids

Sunday, August 24th, 2014

How The Brain Creates A Dependence On OpioidsOpioids have been around for a very long time, and are used as painkillers to help patients cope with pain post-surgery. They have both helped and harmed people, alleviating chronic pain for people who have undergone invasive surgeries, but also being the source of dangerous addictions for those who have developed dependencies on the painkillers.

Derived from the poppy plant, it’s known for being able to induce sleep. And the use of opioids for medical reasons is widespread, which has contributed to the growth of opioid related addictions. The reason lies in the powerful effect opioids have on the brain.

How to Be Diligent in Your Recovery

Sunday, August 24th, 2014

3 Ways to Develop A Spiritual PracticeRecovery is a long process. It takes time and it takes patience to achieve a relative balance and to find a measure of health after you’ve been diagnosed with a mental illness.

When I was diagnosed eight years ago with schizophrenia I was so riddled by delusions and paranoia that I could hardly step foot outside. I was constantly worried that people were thinking things about me, talking behind my back and conspiring against me. In the thick of it, it was me against this horrible evil world, and to say it broke me would be an understatement.

Why the Death of Robin Williams Is So Hard to Accept

Wednesday, August 20th, 2014

Flickr Creative Commons / Global PanoramaSadly, it’s nothing new — a celebrity either directly or indirectly ends their own life. It was Philip Seymour Hoffman, most recently; Heath Ledger, previously; and the list continues.

Now, Robin Williams is gone. Removed from the world directly by his own hand.

As much as I was moved by deaths of other celebrities who hold a place within me, there is something noticeably more difficult to accept with Robin Williams’ suicide.

Are You ‘Addicted’ to Something?

Wednesday, August 20th, 2014

addiction-300x212The definition of  “addiction,” and what people can become “addicted” to, are hotly contested issues. In everyday conversation, of course, people throw around the word “addicted” a lot, as in, “I’m addicted to Game of Thrones.”

Addiction, whatever it might be, is a subject that’s related to my current fascination: habits. As I explain in the introduction of Better Than Before, my discussion of habit formation doesn’t cover addictions, compulsions, nervous habits, or habits of mind. Nevertheless, I did a lot of reading and thinking about addiction, because it’s a useful area to consider.

Hopeful Lessons from Robin Williams and Kurt Cobain

Tuesday, August 19th, 2014

Hopeful Lessons from Robin Williams and Kurt CobainI’m old enough to remember Kurt Cobain’s suicide in 1994, and what a major cultural and news event it was.

Although there have been other celebrity deaths in the years since, it’s only now with Robin Williams that a suicide has had as much attention and social magnitude.

The differences over time are striking. Social media has changed the nature of news as well as the conversation about news, and blogs make it easy for anyone to publish online what once might have been op-eds and letters to the editor in paper newspapers and magazines. Retweets and faves on @unsuicide reached an all-time high this week, with more people interested in both learning about and sharing information on suicide prevention. Mashable noticed a powerful and far-reaching positive change in the dialogue about suicide.

Can a Sex Addict Also Be a Codependent?

Sunday, August 17th, 2014

Can a Sex Addict also be a Codependent?In my 27 years working with addicts and codependents, I rarely have come across a completely healthy partner of an addict. Although addicts’ partners are unequivocally not to blame for the addiction, and most certainly not the consequences of it, they certainly carry responsibility for the shared relationship problems.

The nature of shared relational responsibility is even more pronounced in the sex addict/co-addict (partner) relationship. Addiction psychotherapists all have experienced how both the addict and his or her partner participate, either actively or passively, in their dysfunctional relationship.

The Difference Between Love and Love Addiction

Thursday, August 14th, 2014

The Difference between Love and Love AddictionEven for a securely attached personality, falling in love can be temporarily disorienting. We are all familiar with phrases such as “she took my breath away” or “he swept me off my feet.” Usually, however, this initial whirlwind is followed by a period of trust-building and the establishment of true intimacy based on mutual respect and understanding.

The above phrases often have a very different meaning for a love addict. They signal destabilization and loss of autonomy. Infatuation can mark the beginning of a downward spiral into obsession and constant preoccupation.

Sexual Addiction, Depression, and the Emotional Affair

Tuesday, August 12th, 2014

JealousyI am helping my friend, I’ll call her Pam, end an emotional affair. I mean, it’s not the kind of emotional affair where she tells the guy that she loves him. They don’t have secret meetings, or talk every day, or have “code language.”

To an outsider, the relationship wouldn’t seem inappropriate in the slightest. Yet she’s invested herself emotionally — letting it take a big chunk out of her heart — which is creating all kinds of guilt and anxiety for her.

Withdrawal: The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly

Thursday, August 7th, 2014

Withdrawal: the Good, the Bad, and the UglyWithdrawal makes love addiction different from codependency. Like any other addict, a love addict wants a fix — in this case, the object of his or her obsession. That could be a particular person, or a relationship in general. So what happens when that “substance” goes away?

There are two ways a love addict enters withdrawal: They’ve ended the relationship or tried to. Or his or her partner has left the relationship — explicitly, or by becoming obsessed with his or her own addictive behavior. As soon as the love addict feels the other person’s absence, it will trigger feelings of loss.

Recent Comments
  • karma is a bitch: Both sides…..you stated you met your current “cheating husband” when he and you...
  • sameboat: Meloncholy…are you still there? I too am going through something similiar as you. And after reading...
  • Geegee: btw, personally I would not go the hysterectomy route. It may work for some people, but I couldn’t the...
  • Geegee: It definitely effects your mentality, mindset, emotions, mood, even your self-image. I’ve had PMDD for...
  • Michelle: One of the best bits of advice anyone gave me re:depression is to stay away from people with problems. When...
Subscribe to Our Weekly Newsletter


Find a Therapist
Enter ZIP or postal code