Depressed Into Addiction Or Addicted To Escaping Depression?
Germanwings flight co-pilot, Andreas Lubitz, who is thought to have deliberately crashed his airplane into the French Alps is now believed to have been hiding an illness most likely to be related to depression.
No one can really know what was going through the mind of the 27 year old, a fit, healthy non-smoker who ran half-marathons. Andreas remained determinedly silent throughout the eight long minutes it took flight 4U 9525 to nosedive into oblivion. What we do know for certain is that a total of 149 passengers and crew instantly lost their lives.
Triggered by external factors
Here in the UK, nearly one in five of adults experience anxiety or depression, according to official figures from the Office for National Statistics. Most recent figures show that 39 per cent of all work-related illnesses are found to be caused by work-related stress, depression or anxiety (Labour Force Survey – Health and Safety Executive, 2013/14).
Stress and severe mood disorders, such as depression are so closely linked to alcoholism, drug addiction and substance abuse, that it can be hard to try and work out where depression is driving addictive behaviour or if substance abuse itself is now more the chief cause. To complicate matters further, both may be triggered by external factors.
Breaking the cycle of dependency
Helping men and women to begin their personal road back to recovery and regain control over their lives involves firstly breaking the cycle of dependency. Alcohol is of course, a depressant, and individuals who turn to alcohol to ‘self-medicate’ are actually fuelling the depression.
There is a similar cycle to a drug habit, which can trap individuals into bouncing backwards and forth from one high to the next as they try to escape, altogether, feeling ‘down’ in between. Very soon consumption or dosage is out of control.
When severe depression takes control
When an addiction problem is out of control, mental problems may soon develop and symptoms of depression or even hallucinations soon follow. When severe depression takes control an individual starts to feel they are unable to escape feelings of complete despair and hopelessness that their situation can ever be put right. The downward spiralling logic of the addict can often lead to taking the only available course they believe is left to them.
Perhaps, if that young German co-pilot had not tried to hide his personal problems from those who could have helped. Perhaps, he could have taken a decision to reset his flight path to recovery and rise above the thickening cloud cover concealing his troubled demons.
Maybe, just maybe if he had sought professional help one more time he would not have made up his mind that there was no solution to his problems. No alternative other than to live out his last moments on earth replicating his inner descent into turmoil…