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 'Tackling Mental Health for Rugby League'
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Drug & Alcohol abuse & Depression

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There is strong evidence to suggest there is a link between the use & abuse of drugs & alcohol and an underlying depressive illness.



People don’t like to feel down. They don’t like being depressed, miserable or unhappy. ‘Down’ times are normal and serve two (2) main purposes. (1) they are human reactions to a negative life experience, incident or event. This is appropriate & necessary for our overall well being. (2) they serve as a means to motivate a person to achieve, change or modify aspects of their life. The 2nd point is very relevant & understandable to the Rugby League player.



Who of you has felt the ‘let down’ and ‘misery’ at having lost a Grand Final. Do you lie down, retire, spend the off season miserable or lose interest in the next season? One would hope not, particularly your coach. This loss and the feelings attached should, and usually do, motivate you to improve and attack the next season with the intention of winning. Who can forget the scenes of theMelbourne Storm players after their loss toBrisbane in 2006? A different story in 2007, though. 



Unfortunately people dislike feeling down and unable to handle life’s stressors. They look for ways in which they can ‘make themselves feel better’, or a way of numbing the pain or blocking it out, immediately, even if it’s effect is only for a short while.



Drugs & Alcohol can serve this purpose. Yet the results & consequences from this temporary measure can have disastrous long term & possibly permanent effects on your life. 



The first, and most significant point, is that these remedies will not ‘cure’ the problem. When you wake up the next day, they’re still there; in fact they may be worse or there may be new issues.



Secondly, the measures you adopt to counter your depressive feelings, themselves, have serious side effects and consequences, whether they be physical, psychological, social or emotional. Add in financial and you’ve got serious problems. 



Thirdly, most of the substances used cause depression by themselves. Can you imagine being depressed and taking a substance that is 100% sure to make your depression worse, given their depressive nature or side effects added to your underlying depressive illness? 



There is no instant cure for depression; there is no magic pill that will suddenly ‘take it all away'; there is no immediate solution to most problems. As with training & conditioning forRugby League, it takes effort.



There is little difference between the need for physical conditioning and psychological conditioning. Both require effort, concentration, determination & discipline. Of course there are other things that will help such as counseling, medication, support, programs etc., but at the end of the day, you are the only one who can make the decision & address the issues you are confronted with and that are causing your depressive mood. 



From another perspective, the use & abuse of alcohol & illicit drugs can contribute to the development of a depressive disorder. Most are depressant in nature and those that are not create a ‘false’ state of euphoria that cause ‘let down’ & depressive features when no longer ‘active’ or when they are withdrawn.







Should you have concerns regarding any issue relating to your 'mental or physical well-being', 'Kick off' strongly recommend you seek professional assistance. This may entail contacting your GP or similar clinician (Psychologist, Psychiatrist, Counsellor etc.). You may also contact the appropriate agency or service that might assist you. Irrespective of your choice, ensure you see someone who might help. 



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"Kick Off' is a 'world first' program & service dedicated specifically to a sport....in this instance; the great game of Rugby League.



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