Monty Don discusses his 'form of depression'
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Steve Coogan, 55, is the comic genius behind the smash hit Alan Partridge. The actor has made a name for himself playing a range of mostly insufferable and witty characters. For Steve, issues with confidence and sudden fame took him to a dark place.
Steve Coogan bravely admitted to having struggled with mental health issues due to the pressure of fame and being a national icon.
He candidly revealed that the difficulties led him to drugs and to develop a “sex addiction”.
The comedy star overcame the problems with the help of a psychotherapist and relaxation techniques, but believed his struggles stemmed from not being confident.
Steve has been open about his struggle with depression and has said “I will always be a recovering addict”.
In his 2015 autobiography Easily Distracted, he recalled how in the summer of 1992 he suffered a “cocaine-induced panic attack”.
Revealing his harrowing experience, Steve said: “’My blood sugar level had dropped dramatically, and I was on the verge of blacking out.
“I could feel pins and needles in my left arm, and my heart was thundering.
“I thought I was having a heart attack.
“I couldn’t stop thinking ‘I am going to die. This is it’.”
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In the UK, it’s estimated that roughly 86 percent of people who access treatment for drug use experience mental health problems.
Similarly, 70 percent of people in treatment for drug dependency also have a mental illness.
For those people that report coexisting mental health difficulties, depressive and anxiety symptoms tend to be the most common.
People struggling with depression are more likely to develop an addiction to drugs or alcohol as they try to cope with painful feelings.
On the flip side, alcohol and depressant drugs can increase feelings of sadness and fatigue, and people can experience depression as the effects of drugs wear off or as they face the impact of addiction.
Depression that is triggered by substance abuse may correct itself once the drug problem is treated, said Aaron Sternlicht, a therapist and co-founder of Family Addiction Specialist.
“It’s not so easy if you have turned to drugs or alcohol to cope with depression.
“Since alcohol and drugs release feel-good neurotransmitters in the brain, they can help numb unpleasant emotions and release feelings of euphoria.
“Unfortunately, using substances to cope with depression is a short-term solution that ends up with long-term consequences.
“As the individual becomes increasingly dependent on the substance, their low mood actually can exacerbate.”
Symptoms of depression can range from lasting feelings of unhappiness and hopelessness, to losing interest in the things you used to enjoy and feeling very tearful.
Symptoms of drug addiction may include not meeting obligations and work responsibilities or cutting back on social or recreational activities because of drug use, continuing to use the drug, even though you know it’s causing problems in your life or causing you physical or psychological harm and experiencing withdrawal symptoms when you attempt to stop taking the drug.
Fortunately for Steve he was able to overcome his demons with the help of a psychotherapist.
Other methods to help treat depression and addiction can include cognitive behavioural therapy, residential treatment, medication or improving your daily habits such as more exercise, meditation or a healthier diet.
For confidential support call the Samaritans in the UK on 116 123 or visit a local Samaritans branch.
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