Coping Strategies

In an interview on The Mental Illness Happy Hour podcast, Dr. Cali Estes recently had a quote which is worth a moment of our time to look at:

“The drinking is your solving your problem, it’s your solution to your problem and that’s where a lot of treatment centers go wrong: they address your drinking, they don’t address your problem. They say ‘you need to stop drinking and doing drugs, that’s your problem.’ No it’s not. It’s your coping skill to deal with your problem. What’s your problem?”

There are two main theories about the connection between addiction and depression. One can be called The Dog Wags the Tail, and the other is The Tail Wags the Dog.

how to stay off drugs

The Tail Wags the Dog

In reverse order, the second premise is that alcohol and drug addiction as well as other compulsive behavior causes depression which feeds back into the addictive behavior. In many situations, this is very likely accurate. Many people become biologically addicted to a drug such as alcohol and painkillers. This dependency leads to a lessening of quality of life, which deepens the addiction.

The Dog Wags the Tail

In other people, it’s the opposite. Dr. Estes is talking about the first premise. In it, doctors and psychiatrists search for underlying psychological conditions that may lead to why a person chooses to self-medicate.


It’s probably most accurate to say that both are at play here. Whether it’s the dog or the tail doing the wagging, the wagging is happening. The problem won’t be solved until both the dependency and its underlying cause are addressed.

If you’re in Florida and would like to start getting to the root cause of your addictions, please recognize that long term rehab will help you find sustainable solutions better than a single weekend. Call us today to get started: (844) 299-0618.

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