Understanding Mental Illness: The Most Important Thing You Should Know

Everyone is different, and the reason for addiction, depression and anxiety is based on three things: genetics, environment, and situation.

For one person, addiction could be 30% genetic, 30% environmental, and 40% situational. The genetic component perhaps came from the father, who was a person with alcohol use disorder, as well as grandma.

The environmental component came from the alcoholic father being verbally and physically abusive growing up; they were also sexually abused as a child.

The situation at the time was having to deal with losing their father from liver failure and heart disease, and their mom was recently diagnosed with cancer. Another person’s addiction could be 60% genetic, 10% environmental, and 30% situational.

This rule also applies to depression and anxiety. Someone could be depressed and anxious because those genes became activated because of their unhealthy environment. The situation at the time could lead to a depressive episode. Their depression and anxiety could be 25% genetic, 25% environmental, and 50% situational, whereas someone else’s depression and anxiety might be 50% genetic, 40% environmental, and 10% situational.

Although we can’t change our genetics or the environment we grew up in, we can improve our environment in adulthood. You can choose various types of therapy, such as regular talk therapy, cognitive behaviour therapy (CBT), eye movement desensitization and reprocessing (EMDR), etc.

EMDR is a type of hypnotherapy that forces you to go back in time to the situations which caused the PTSD, depression, anxiety, and/or addictions, and it forces you to deal with it and allows you to get over it faster than regular talk therapy. Traditional therapy can last up to 10 years or more, whereas EMDR can help you in months or even sooner.

When situations arise that trigger addiction or depression and anxiety, going to therapy helps, finding things like group therapy and reaching out to family and friends to cope. Daily exercise is more potent than any antidepressant on the market. Medication can help people, too, but exercise is more beneficial. A daily meditation and yoga routine can dramatically decrease depression and anxiety. It can significantly lower the adverse effects of a depressing situation.

One of the most important things discussed in an addiction rehabilitation center or any of the twelve-step programs is that an addict and/or alcoholic when in recovery, should totally change their environment. Meaning, move the fuck out of the neighbourhood you’re in, move cities if you have to. Change your friends. Any friend that was part of the crew you used to do drugs with is out of your life entirely. Block and delete any old drug friends, both their numbers and social media. Any person trying to persuade you to use alcohol and other drugs is not a friend but an enabler, a douche bag if you will.

You matter, and you are important. You are much better for society as a happy, sober soul rather than a depressed, raging alcoholic drug addict.

Be kinder and fuck douche bags.

Dean Mathers


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