Everybody has hit a rough patch at least once in their lives. No matter the reason, difficult situations in life can lead to depression and certain behaviours which are not normal for us. Here you can know a bit more about the causes and how you can overcome such situations.
What are the possible reasons for dysfunctional behaviour?
The reasons for dysfunctional behaviour are varied. Divorce, losing a loved one, challenges at work we weren’t able to deal with, and internal doubts and conflicts are just some of them. People have a tendency to compete, devaluing someone else’s pain in comparison to their own. This is why it is very important to understand that if a certain life situation makes you feel depressed, frustrated or scared, it is okay to feel like that. Maybe to someone, your reasons will seem trivial and ridiculous, but only you can decide what you feel. Fights with friends or family, break-ups, a bad period at university – those are all normal situations that can sometimes have a problematic response.
What are the consequences of this behaviour?
It is important to deal with it as fast and as efficiently as possible because many problems can arise. Eating disorders and alcohol and drug abuse are the most common ones. What’s more, in many cases they happen together and result in a tragic way. When depressed or feeling rejected and lonely, people tend to think they will find comfort in drugs, alcohol or eating. When wanting to fit in or leading a lonely and depressing life, many people turn to drugs. It is the most common issue among young people, although adults can experience it too. Drug abuse can lead to many additional health problems, and, of course, an inability to function on a daily basis. Peer pressure is one of the leading causes of drug abuse in young people but it is just one of the many reasons for this condition.
As far as eating disorders and alcoholism go, there are cases when a person is lacking dopamine and tries to make up for it by eating or drinking because those actions can release dopamine, which causes feelings of pleasure and happiness. Some conditions are bulimia and anorexia that is even more common. Bulimia is a condition where a person doesn’t see themselves and their body realistically. They have a period of binge eating and then, caused by feelings of guilt, they have periods of extreme dieting together with vomiting and use of laxatives. In some cases, anorexia is intertwined with alcohol abuse and then we are talking about drunkorexia. Some drink because that way they will handle eating without feeling guilty and others to prevent weight gain during the day and be able to compensate for calories in alcohol during the night. This causes big problems because alcohol has no nutritional value, which leads to further eating and health complications. This is precisely the core of the problem because everything happens cyclically and it is hard to get out of it without professional help.
How can you continue with your life after dealing with drug and alcohol abuse or eating disorders?
For starters, it is important to understand that these situations can happen to anybody regardless of their gender, age, social and economic status, and this should help you not feel marginalised if you ever did experience something similar. The other important thing to realise is that it is going to take some time, and that is totally okay. Give it some time. Drug withdrawal is a period you will have to go through to be able to move on to all the following steps in the process. This means kicking your habit and stopping with substance abuse.
Professionals will be there to help you at all times by giving you a new diet and exercise plan. Counselling is a mandatory part of every recovery of this kind, and through it, you will be able to talk about your problems, find new hobbies and learn to be more open to meeting people who are sober. During this whole process, you will be getting ready to go back to work. Maybe not your initial job, but any other that will make you feel content and fulfilled. Don’t be afraid to talk about your past with the new employer if it comes up, but also don’t tell more than you should. Just explain that you are ready to work and still in the treatment process but able to commit to a regular job. You will have to come to terms with finding a temporary or freelancer job at first, just so that you can create a habit again. But when you combine it with a new lifestyle, hobby and friends, it all adds up to a complete life.
Looking for help and being patient in these situations is the key. Remaining positive as much as possible is also important because when you leave everything behind, you will be a stronger person, able to deal with whatever life throws at you. Don’t look at this like it is your downfall, rather, pick all the positive things in the whole experience and learn to build on those.
Peter Wallace has been an advocate for mental health awareness for years. He holds a master’s degree in counselling from the University of Edinburgh.