Ending Addiction for Good

What Comes First, Depression or Addiction?

Addiction and depression often go hand in hand. Read More

All good beginnings

Among these precursors, the one that I see especially in older people, is simple boredom. Boredom often predates depression.


Boredom may be an issue, AZWarrior, but the greater problem is loneliness. In research on substance abuse among the elderly, loneliness is both a self-identified and observed problem that leads to substance abuse, particularly excessive drinking.


I began suffering from depression by age 12 (maybe a bit younger), I took my first drink at age 17 in the middle of a crushing depression that left me unable to get out of bed some days. I got drunk to feel better for a while. I wanted relief. I chased that relief for the next 10 years. When I would end up in psych wards back then they said that depressed people did not drink, so I had to be bi-polar, so they treated me for the wrong problem and I continued to drink. Then I got into "recovery" and was told that I was depressed because alcohol was a depressant and that when I was a kid I was just a "pre-alcoholic" not depressed. Mumbo-jumbo is what I have gotten from recovery systems and mental health systems until just a few years ago. I stayed sober and suffering from depression for many years until I became brave enough to seek help for my mental health again. Finally I received proper treatment.

My advice to anyone suffering from depression is NEVER drink alcohol or you will not get real, lasting mental healthcare. People who self-medicate get shuffled off to the "get right with God" system, belittled, and forgotten.


I'm curious to know what help Mini-vans make me ill eventually received that worked? His story sounds very familiar to my son's. Who has gone to the hospital numerous times, but refuses treatment and instead chooses to self medicate.

Medication and therapy

I was finally diagnosed with General Anxiety Disorder, OCD, and Depression. I have been given medication that works for both my anxiety and depression. Mainly effexor. I did get sober, but continued to suffer from my mental health problems for another 17 years until I decided that I would seek professional help.

Nicely stated.

Thank you for the most accurate description of getting 'shuffled off to the get right with god system, belittled and forgotten'. That is because addiction has been labeled a 'disease' rather than the learning disorder it is. People deserve real help and not faith healing disguised as medicine.


I agree that boredom comes before depression because boredom can also be linked with loneliness. I think coping well with these situations begins in your relationship with your parents in infancy, so those of us with insensitive caregivers in childhood have to do the very hard work of learning to deal with these things as adults, ugh!!

Mini-Vans' Comment

Mini-vans' story shares a sad truth that often times physicians, and even some mental health professionals, do not have proper training in the most up-to-date treatment strategies for addiction or depression. Even now, many addiction treatment centers will not treat depression or other co-occurring psychiatric disorders and psychiatric hospitals are ill-equipped to treat depression. Further, many medications either show no real efficacy in treating depression or may worsen addiction. It's a real problem with our health care system.

If you look at the blog on my treatment center's website, http://www.cliffsidemalibu.com/blog/, you will find that frequently Dr. Scharff, our Director of Addiction Research, writes about depression and addiction. What we've found is that both must be treated concurrently. The very best long-term treatment is intensive one-on-one psychotherapy, to get at the root causes of the addiction. In conjunction with this, we also provide therapies that include acupuncture, meditation, massage, yoga, proper nutrition, and exercise. These complementary practices help lift the symptoms of depression so that the psychological work can continue at its highest level. There's no quick fix for treating depression and addiction, but both can be done.

I'm glad you finally found the help that you needed, Mini-van. Your story stands as a testament that we need to do more to help those with dual-diagnoses.

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Richard Taite is CEO and founder of the Cliffside Malibu Treatment Center in Malibu, California and co-author of the book Ending Addiction for Good.


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