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So what can you do to help people you love who are depressed, if you can’t tell they’re depressed?Ask questions very kindly and listen to the answers very carefully.

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I am not saying that all addicts are driven by depression—depression can also be caused by addiction.But addiction can be a form depression takes that is not easy to identify as depression. I also include people who work most of their waking hours. Whether they are hiding from the world in bed, preoccupied with an addiction, pushing people away with anger, or keeping their real thoughts and feelings inside while pretending to be okay, people with depression usually feel very alone. Whether they are hiding from the world in bed, preoccupied with an addiction, pushing people away with anger, or keeping their real thoughts and feelings inside while pretending to be okay, people with depression usually feel very alone.Depression also has a built-in isolating fog quality that makes it very difficult to feel connected to people.Still others are addicted to something, and the depression is obscured by the addiction.People with addictions spend most of their time and energy relating to the addiction.On top of the pain they already feel, acting happy is emotionally exhausting, and having this secret is isolating. Others funnel their pain into anger and people see them rage, abuse, shame, or react with annoyance or irritation to whatever happens around them.

They may or may not themselves know they’re depressed, but others often don’t guess how much devastating emotional pain they are in.

They can smile and laugh; they can act like everyone else, even while they are in excruciating emotional pain.

Usually they find a way to spend time alone crying or letting down the facade and then go back to acting when they have to be with people.

But the thrill wears off, and they are depleted by the effects of the addiction and may also feel remorse or shame, so the depression descends on them, pulling them down like a cement jacket.

They begin the cycle again to try to feel better; they plan and anticipate.

Nonjudgmental listening is still essential but may need to be combined with some firm boundary-setting and professional treatment for the addiction. Questions or concerns about the preceding article can be directed to the author or posted as a comment below.