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Addiction and the factors that fuel it

Addiction doesn’t happen in a vacuum.

As Department of Psychiatry associate professor Sheila Specker, M.D., has seen time and again, it’s often accompanied by depression, bipolar disorder, an eating disorder, or another mental health problem. Sometimes it’s one thread in a tangle of issues; often it’s tough to tease out which problem came first.

Two decades ago, when Specker was running an outpatient treatment program she’d developed for women battling addiction and eating disorders, she learned that in many cases, depression had often preceded both.

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