The Relationship Between Depression And Addiction Is Mediated By Shame A Recent Study Claims

The research “Shame mediates the relationship between depression and addictive behaviors“ published in Addictive Behaviors reports the following.

Young adults who feel shame could develop addictions or become depressed.

According to the research’s author Elena Bilevicius of the University of Manitoba early adulthood is dangerous for development. It’s the first time when we observe mood and substance use disorders and addictions.

The scientists who took part in the experiment analyzed the connections between depression, shame, and addiction. They tested 210 college students. The high rates of comorbidity between these conditions served to gain knowledge of the role of depression in becoming an addict. As an earlier study has shown addiction and depression are correlated. That’s why the researchers decided to see what role shame possibly plays in the process.

As previously conducted studies, this one also confirmed that intense alcohol and betting abuse could provoke depression. But a new discovery was made too. Shame mediated the relation between these conditions.

During the experiment the scientists surveyed signs of depression like:

The research period was one month. At the end of it, the scientists concluded the following. People who were more likely to feel shame could be related to substance abuse problems. This means that patients who became ashamed of themselves were more prone to drug or alcohol abuse.

On the other hand, people with intense symptoms of depression at the baseline felt ashamed more easily.

So it turns out that shame might play the role of mediator between depression and addiction.

The conducted study is longitudinal, but there are certain limitations.

According to its author, scientists couldn’t establish directionality or causality. Or in other words, they couldn’t discover if more intense depressive symptoms really provoked shame, and whether feeling ashamed always led to addiction.

According to them, it is likely that shame appears before depression, not after / similarly to the model of the study/. But it is important to find out which really happens first.

This way scientists could gain profound knowledge of the relationship between depression, shame, and addiction.

The authors of the study explained why they’ve chosen to examine young college students. As they’ve previously stated their developmental phase is when mood and substance use problems appear for the first time.

The research was authored by: Elena Bilevicius, Alanna Single, Lindsay A. Bristow, Melody Foot, Michael Ellery, Matthew T. Keough, and Edward A. Johnson.

Finally, below are listed some of the major reasons why college students turn to drugs:

  • Pressure coming from the social environment
  • Escape from problems
  • Pressure related to performance in school
  • Traumatic experiences, mental disorders like anxiety and depression
  • According to scientific research students who watch films which show alcohol and drug abuse are more prone to substance abuse in real life.
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