Depression and addiction

depression and internetDepression affects you.

Your job, your marriage, your friendships and your sexuality. The fall recorded in Genesis chapter 2 affected us as human beings – body, soul and spirit. In Christ a holistic approach is important for healing.

Sexual addiction can be triggered by depression or any other mood disorder. This is not a cop out for sin or disobedience, but a physical chemical reality. What I do with this knowledge however is important.

Responsibility means the ability to respond

Once you see the connection between depression and a desire to act out sexually or that it was a factor in acting out sexually, you have to take responsibility.

The depression may have a chemical source (endogenous) which is caused by biological or genetic factors. Or it may be a reactive depression (exogenous) which is caused by trauma, stress, environmental issues or even ongoing negative thinking. Or it may be a combination of the two. For example ongoing stress may trigger a clinical depression to which you are already genetically predisposed because of your family of origin.

The sexual acting out because of the mood disorder could have started in your teen years where actions such as masturbation or viewing pornography were like a pill treating the mood disorder, because your brain was out of balance. The sexual addiction then became a way to try balance the brain and feel better. The endorphins and enkephalins released by the brain through sexual activity were the natural opiates that gave the sense of euphoria. These natural opiates are four times more powerful than morphine and are the body’s natural painkillers. The sexual activity becomes the medication for the mood disorder and apart from biological habit now explains why during during depression, vulnerability to sexual addiction can occur.

Isolate the main life problem that caused you the depression

Either way, you want to isolate the main problem that lead to depression.  This is best done through a psychiatric evaluation. Having depression does not mean there is something permanently wrong with you and it all takes some time so be patient with yourself. Depression often means you have been hurt in some way and have tried to cope and move on without being aware of the actual wounds.

Depression, whether chemical or reactive, can be treated with medication, therapy and change in lifestyle. Concurrently you can then take hopefull steps of discipleship to deal with the underlying sexual addiction which was triggered by the mood disorder.