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How Addiction Relates to Depression

Addiction and depression are related. In fact, people who live with addictions to tobacco, gambling, and shoplifting are more likely to be experiencing depression as well. It is possible that people who are already experiencing the symptoms of depression are more susceptible to becoming addiction to other substances or activities.

Depression is a disorder that affects an individual's moods. It is a very common condition, and people who live with depression may be able to take some comfort in the fact that they are living with "the common cold of mental illness." A person who is depressed may describe feelings of despair, hopelessness, or worthlessness. It may be difficult for the person to concentrate and to process information easily. In the case of a severe depression, even following a conversation may be difficult.

Tobacco is a highly-addictive substance, as anyone who has ever tried to give up the habit is well aware. The results of a study conducted with a group of heavy smokers in the late 1990's concluded that over 50 percent of the respondents had also experienced at least one episode of depression. This figure is even more interesting when you consider that depression affects approximately 10 percent of the general population.

In some cases people who are depressed start gambling or shoplifting to feel better. They report that engaging in these types of activities helps them to feel "alive" again. For a person who has been depressed for some time, gambling gives the individual a "rush" when they win. A depressed person who becomes addicted to shoplifting gets an extra thrill from the idea that they might get caught, as well as the excitement of doing something that they know is illegal.

Depression may not be the reason people take up smoking or become addicted to gambling or shoplifting. A more likely explanation is that the depressed person is desperate to do something that will help them feel anything other than the awful sense of nothingness that comes with depression.

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