Depression and Addictive Behavior Double Thesis

Excerpt from Thesis :

Caffeine dependency/addiction may contribute to "insomnia, digestive disorders, gastric irritation, headaches, as well as exacerbated PMS symptoms and emotional irritability," (Hunt, 1999) each potential components of depression. To counter the need for a caffeine "fix," gradually introduction decaf as substitute, albeit decaf also has between 2 and 33 milligrams (mg.) caffeine per 8-ounce serving.

Full-strength coffee has 145 to 272 mg.. A person may also substitute herbal drinks or drink peppermint tea.

As excessive caffeine consumption may impair sleep, a necessary practice to counter depression, re-establishing normal sleep patterns after withdrawal from caffeine may prove difficult as a person's body, frequently artificially stimulated " forgets" how to shut down when he/she becomes tired. Capsules of valerian with kava before going to bed may help, however, tinctures with an alcohol base introduce the herb into a person's system more quickly. Herbs, albeit, are to help support a person through the healing process, not to be deemed as a cure for addiction.

Sweet Addictions Sugar craving often masks a nutritional imbalance, so consequently, individuals experiencing an excessive desire for sugar need to evaluate their diets and make healthy changes.

In 1999, Hunt reported the average American roughly consumes his/her weight in sugar each year. Mood swings, weight gain, and increased risks for diabetes (insulin levels raised), potential kidney stones, lower immunity and pain threshold, as well as vital minerals' loss, including calcium and magnesium, which may contribute to osteoporosis, evolving from excessive sugar consumption may serve as factors' contributing to depression, due to sugar's accompanying "side affects."

New" Addictions

Research documents that serious consequences evolve from utilizing some of the world's "new" addictions, particularly the use of the Internet in an addictive manner, including gambling obsessively online, shopping excessively or gaming excessively. As with other addictions, "social isolation, depression, marital discord, divorce, job loss, and financial debt" (Young, 2005) constitute "side effects" which may also contribute to depression.

Internet addiction may not yet be widespread, however, Louise Nadeau, a professor at the Universite de Montreal's Department of Psychology, reports serious cases have been noted where teenagers do not leave their house, "don't have interpersonal relationships, and have been isolated in front of their computer screen for the past two or three years, and only speak in the language of the characters they play with in network video games." (University of Montreal, 2008)

Young (2005) purports that research reveals individuals benefit from prevention and education programs relating to in Internet use and that "specialized training can educate employees about the warning signs of online addiction to assist in early detection." Warning signs of Internet addiction include, but may not be limited to the following:

Staying online longer than intended;

Feeling preoccupied with online use, often to the point of daydreaming and anticipating the next online session;

Inability to control online use;

Feeling restless, moody, depressed, or irritable when attempting to restrict or stop Internet use;

Jeopardizing relationships or career endeavors because of excessive Internet use;

Lying to family members or friends to conceal the extent of involvement with the Internet; and Using the Internet as a way of escaping from problems. (Young, 2005)

Addiction theorists purport that addictions achieve something for the addicted individual, despite the fact the benefits or "fix" may be illusory or momentary. In turn, the resulting mental pleasure contributes to more intense feelings about the "substance." Because addictions "serve a useful purpose to the addict, the attachment or sensation may grow to such proportions that it damages a person's life."

Training can help combat the stigma accompanying addiction in the workplace, and in turn engender support and help for addicted individuals. (Young, 2005)

VMAT2 (May not fit and if so, needs reference to depression)

The brain vesicular monoamine transporter () constitutes a component of the re-uptake mechanism regulating monoaminergic neurotransmission, Schwartz, Weizman and Rehavi (2005) explain. In their study, "Decreased platelet vesicular monoamine transporter density in habitual smokers," these researchers note they previously demonstrated an elevated degree of similarity "between the pharmacodynamic characteristics of platelet and brain VMAT2." Findings from this current study, albeit reveals that the VMAT2's decreased density in smokers' platelets may mirror nicotine induced desensitization of VMAT2. When Schwartz, Weizman and Rehavi (2005) "measured the VMAT2 pharmacodynamic characteristics using high-affinity [3H]dihydrotetrabenazine (TBZOH) binding to platelets of smokers (n=15) compared to sex and age matched healthy nonsmokers controls (n=14)," they noted that in contrast to nonsmokers, smokers presented a considerable decrease (17%, P=0.02) in VMAT2 density (Bmax) in their platelets. These researchers note, albeit, that no significant difference existed in the affinity of [3H]TBZOH to its platelet binding site. In addition, the VMAT2 density did not link with the amount an individual smoked. This phenomenon, the researchers purport, may prove germane to the nicotine's addictive properties.

Role of Cocaine Use in Depression

In "Cocaine Use May Alter Brain Cells, Play Role in Depression," the NIH/National Institute on Drug Abuse (2003) reports results of another study relating to VMAT2. Researchers found that cocaine users exhibited lower concentrations of dopamine and VMAT2 than displayed in non-users' brains. In addition, cocaine users who suffered from depression presented lower levels of VMAT2 than individual cocaine users, not experiencing depression. Researchers did not confirm, albeit, whether cocaine use destroyed dopamine cells, or simply dysregulated them. They also did not know whether treatment, time or any other factor could reverse changes. Findings from this study indicate chronic cocaine use may foster changes in a person's brain, potentially contributing to a person potentially experiencing difficulty feeling a sense of pleasure. "Further efforts at clarifying the detrimental effects of cocaine on brain cells," the NIH/National Institute on Drug Abuse (2003) contends, "may help in the development of effective treatment interventions and pharmacotherapies."

Clinical Techniques of Helping


Pharmacogenetics, Jancin (2005) reports, according to Sean P. David, M.D., director of research in family medicine at Brown University, Providence, R.I., may help combat tobacco addiction as tobacco-related illness currently constitute the world's primary public health problem. According to Dr. David, twin studies suggest that approximately half the variation in smoking behavior may evolve from genetic factors. Although accompanied by concerns and a bevy of question, pharmacogenetics possesses the capability to customize individuals' treatment/s for addictions, as well as avert adverse events by genotype. In 2005, the World Health Organization (WHO) projected estimated that by 2020, tobacco use will contribute to roughly 10 million deaths each year.

In addition, WHO estimates that approximately 500 million people living in 2005, including approximately one-third of Chinese males will ultimately die prematurely, from illnesses related to tobacco. (Jancin, 2005) Numerous epidemiologists argue that tobacco use prevalence could be cut in half during the next 25 years, contributing to 150-200 million saved lives. They noted this task, in fact, has been done in the past in the U.S., as between the 1950s and the 1980s, U.S. tobacco consumption decreased by half.

The choice is ours....," Dr. David stressed to his audience of physicians at Wonca 2004, the conference of the World Organization of Family Doctors regarding the war against tobacco addiction. He concluded "...if we so choose," he contends, physicians with the help of pharmacogenetics, can win the war on tobacco addiction. (Jancin, 2005)


In the 1999 article "Quit," Hunt shares strategies to help a person overcome sugar, tobacco and caffeine addictions. Hunt stresses that "no single pill, powder, tea, tincture or trick to 'cure' addictions" exist, however a myriad of treatments, currently available, can increase a person's understanding of addictions' psychological roots, as well as educate individuals as how to overcome addictions. According to Hunt (1999), the most successful treatments utilize a combination of "nutritional guidance, acupuncture, hypnosis, homeopathy or herbs with behavior modification and social support." Two vital factors, desire and commitment, according to Joseph Parisi, Ph.D., a clinical psychologist in Charlotte, North Carolina, albeit prove vital to a person overcoming his/her addiction.

A are desire and commitment. Beyond that, "you should only attempt to quit during a low-stress period in your life. Gather support from friends and family by telling them your intentions and asking them to help keep you on track. Finally, recognize the role addiction plays in your life by identifying the situations, people, places and emotions that trigger your addictive behavior." (Hunt, 1999)

Tried and True" Techniques

Homeopathy Homeopathy reportedly proves most effective when a trained practitioner personalizes and prescribes treatment. In Homeopathy a-Z, Dana Ullman, M.P.H., recommends Tabacum, a veg-safe microdose derived from tobacco, as a remedy to counter tobacco addiction.

When a person experiences the desire to smoke, Ullman contends that four pellets of the 6, 12 or 30C potency will help him. Incense serves as a substitute for the burning smell cigarettes emit. Tim Blakley, herb educator for Frontier Natural Products Co-op in Norway, Iowa, suggests that chewing sweet, woody licorice root also helps smokers overcome their cravings, as the long, narrow licorice root, similar to a cigarette, will helps quench a person's "need for an oral fix,"…

Sources Used in Documents:


Campbell, William G., MD, CCFP, FASAM. (2002). "Addiction: A Disease of Volition Caused by a Cognitive Impairment." The Canadian Journal of Psychiatry. Retrieved September 15, 2008, from

Cell Press (2007, November 9). Enzyme Regulates Brain Pathology Induced by Cocaine, Stress. ScienceDaily. Retrieved September 15, 2008, at

Coleridge's Conversation Poems." (1999). University of Virginia. Retrieved September 15, 2008, at University Press (2008). Cambridge Dictionaries Online. Retrieved September 15, 2008, at

The Columbia World of Quotations (1996). New York: Columbia University Press, 1996. Retrieved September 15, 2008, from

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