Alcohol is a vital part of social settings in the U.S. People use it after a tragic life event, a job loss, or other life hardships to drown their sorrows. A few drinks can appear to calm you and ease anxiety since alcohol makes you drowsy.
People often drink now and then when they’re feeling down. But, if one feels the need for that drink regularly, it is a sign of alcohol use disorder. Experts also draw a direct correlation between alcoholism and depression.
The debate is whether heavy drinking causes depression or whether depressed people drink heavily. Each is possible.
Read on to find out more about the link between alcohol abuse and depression.
Alcohol is an unsafe substance, resulting in many health issues. It may also end up increasing depressive signs. Visit a rehab center to learn more.
- Depression is a mental state of feeling persistent sadness and anxiety.
- People use alcohol to reduce depressive signs, but it results in quite the opposite.
- Common types of depression may include seasonal affective disorder (SAD) and Major Depressive Disorder.
- Treatment options for co-occurring disorders include medication-assisted therapy (MAT), cognitive behavior therapy (CBT), and group therapy.
How Are Alcoholism and Depression Connected
Alcohol dependence is common among people who experience depression. Depression is a mental illness defined by persistent sadness. Sad feelings affect how people think and behave. It may impact various aspects of life, such as:
- Duties at work
- Personal level goals
- Relationships with loved ones
People who struggle with depression use alcohol to ease the signs of their illness. It becomes a way to escape from reality for them. But, using alcohol to treat sadness can harm your health.
Alcohol consumption changes the brain’s neurotransmitters. With alcohol use, chemicals like serotonin and dopamine fluctuate quickly. Dopamine manages your brain’s reward system, whereas serotonin helps maintain a stable mood.
Sudden high or low levels of these substances might bring on depressive symptoms.
Self-medicating with alcohol while depressed increases the risk of severe physical harm. You may develop suicidal thoughts and actions.
Visit a rehab center to learn about treatment options for alcohol use and depression.
Types of Depression
People with alcohol disorders are diagnosed with several distinct types of depression. Depression can quickly take over your life, even if certain kinds are less severe than others.
Common types of depression include:
Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD)
SAD correlates with a change in seasons. Its signs appear in the fall and gradually worsen during the winter. According to a study, the winter blues are brought on by a lack of light during the winter. The positive feelings turn into negative attitudes over the fall and winter seasons.
Seasonal Affective Disorder signs must have been present in an individual for at least two consecutive years to receive an official diagnosis.
Seasonal Affective Disorder may have the following symptoms:
- Most days feeling down
- Sleeping over time
- More weight gain or loss than usual
- Observing changes in appetite
- Feeling heavy in the arms and legs
- High blood pressure
Alcohol is often used to enhance enjoyment during gloomy seasons. But binge drinking can result in a full-blown addiction that lasts well through fall and winter.
Drinking alcohol causes the body to rely on these hormones to feel happy. As a result, you will start to want alcohol to feel satisfied.
Psychotic depression is a more severe form of depression. It causes paranoia or delusions. People with this kind of depression may hear voices or think someone is trying to harm them.
Here are a few signs of psychotic depression:
- Mood disorders
- Sleeping during the day and all night
- Ignoring personal care
- Illogical speech
Drinking when suffering from psychotic depression can harm your health and the well-being of those around you. Alcohol doesn’t make you feel more at ease. It makes the signs of psychotic depression worse.
When under the influence, your paranoia worsens, leading to senseless acts, mania, and suicidal thoughts.
Alcohol problems can develop over time in a person. But, if a person with alcohol abuse and psychotic depression tries to stop drinking, their body can come under shock.
Serious health problems may result from this. Because of this, treating a co-occurring disorder should only be done so by qualified doctors.
Persistent Depressive Disorder (PDD)
Experts define PDD as feeling recurrent depressive signs over two years. But symptoms are not always consistent. It can be present in varying degrees of severity for weeks or months.
PDD symptoms include:
- Low self-esteem
- Sense of loss
- Having trouble making judgments
- Difficulty paying attention
- Avoiding hobbies and social actions
A substance use disorder, like alcoholism, is far more likely to develop in people with PDD. Alcoholism and depression co-occurring can affect your relationship with loved ones. Over time, your alcohol reliance will grow stronger the more you drink.
The adverse effects of co-existing alcoholism and PDD shouldn’t be felt in silence by anyone. The good news is that co-occurring conditions are treatable safely through rehab plans. These plans offer the help needed for long-term healing.
Major Depressive Disorder
Major depressive disorder is the most severe form of depression. It happens when signs like sadness and a sense of loss interfere with your daily routine. A major depressive episode will happen to about 20 to 25 percent of American adults at some point in their lives.
Major depression can negatively impact your health, including the ability to sleep, eat, and think.
Major depressive symptoms include:
- Crying without a known reason
- Mood swings
- Lack of desire to work and low energy
- Recurring suicidal thoughts
With major depression, you should stay away from alcohol. Alcohol can worsen depression, which can have effects. It is so because alcohol affects the same brain regions involved in mood regulation. Drinking can change the chemical composition of the brain, which can bring signs of a mental health condition like depression.
Risk Factors of Depression and Alcohol Use Disorder (AUD)
Which comes first, AUD or depression, is unclear. It is also due to the different feelings of each person. But, if you have one condition, it raises the risk of developing the other. For example, a person who feels depressed can drink to self-medicate. It makes AUD worse.
People who drink often are more prone to depressive episodes. They may drink more to try to feel better.
The following are some risk factors that could support either one or both of these conditions:
- Personality: Some medical experts argue that either illness may be evident in those with a negative approach toward life. Similarly, those with low self-esteem may be prone to depression or AUD.
- Genetics: A high risk for those with a family history of either issue may exist. According to research, genetic predisposition may raise your risk of AUD or depression.
- Personal History: Abuse, trauma, and other issues may increase your risk of depression or AUD.
Treatment Options for Depression and Alcohol Abuse
Depression and alcohol addiction is treatable, even in their most severe expressions. But, it is best to seek therapy early.
Experts advise people to get help from a treatment facility specializing in rehab due to the nature of co-occurring issues. Alcohol treatment programs help people get ready to reintegrate into daily life. Many facilities can also offer advice for aftercare to help ensure sobriety.
The widely used rehab options are:
Medication-Assisted Therapy (MAT)
Prescription drugs are used in this therapy to lessen cravings. Four drugs, benzodiazepines, naltrexone, acamprosate, and disulfiram, are used to curb the urge to drink. To control mood swings, a doctor may also prescribe an antidepressant.
Although drugs can be helpful during recovery, you should take them in conjunction with different types of treatment.
Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT)
CBT teaches patients how to swap out negative beliefs. It is a crucial step in the healing process. CBT teaches individuals to:
- Know potential triggers
- Develop a coping mechanism for the desire to drink
- Form rational goals
With the help of a counselor, you can continue CBT after treatment. It typically begins in a rehab setting.
Group therapy is helpful during rehab as a tool to connect and foster chat among people overcoming similar co-occurring disorders. The frequency of meetings varies depending on your chosen curriculum. But they are often offered once or twice per week.
People can often express themselves freely in group therapy about the highs and lows of their addiction. They offer support to those who are going through difficult periods. Many aftercare programs provide various forms of group therapy for patients to continue working on their rehab.
The initial step to regaining control of your life is to seek treatment. Although rehab centers aid in treating addiction, not all of them will provide the help you might want to get over a co-occurring disorder. For example, specific centers might focus on a particular ailment and provide therapy for a specific issue.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)
Is there a relationship between alcohol and depression?
Excessive drinking is the root cause of many mental health problems. Depression is one example. Citing the studies, people who binge drink are more prone to feel depression.
Consuming more than eight drinks in a single session for men or six for women is excessive alcohol use. Aside from raising your risk of accidents and injuries, it can also lead to other mental health issues.
Consult your doctor to know more about the link between alcohol and depression.
How does alcohol affect your mental health?
Alcohol is a depressant drug that can alter your mood. It disturbs your brain chemistry. You may feel relaxed because it impacts the area of your brain that regulates inhibition. But, these effects go away shortly. The chemical changes in your brain may soon cause you to feel negative emotions.
Alcohol slows down data processing in the brain. It makes it hard to fix your true feelings. Alcohol reduces the number of neurotransmitters in your brain. But we need a certain amount to prevent anxiety. You would need to drink more to cope with these distressing emotions.
How long does alcohol-induced depression last?
The duration of an alcohol-induced depression varies from person to person. You may improve your symptoms if you don’t drink for a specific time. Some people may use other ways to get the same results. But, in most cases, it lasts around three to four weeks.
But, some research has shown that if the signs of depression persist after stopping drug or alcohol use, depression may take a severe form. Some other factors may also change the duration. Visiting a rehab center can help you in such a situation.
Can alcohol cause severe depression?
Alcohol is a depressant. If you drink often, it can start a depressive cycle. The majority of the time, binge drinking results from an underlying issue. As a result, you may develop clinical depression.
When you drink, you can make choices you wouldn’t typically make. You’ll later come to guilt, leading to despair. A cycle of depression might be triggered by simply realizing that you are not in control of yourself.
Alcohol hangovers can provide a highly depressed, ill, and depressing feeling.
Consult the Haven Detox-South Florida for Treating Alcoholism and Depression.
Do you experience alcohol abuse or depression? Do you find quitting alcohol challenging? Or do you find it hard to resist relapsing into drinking when you are depressed?
A professional rehab plan is best for you if you have these two disorders. It would be best if you visit a center aware of the delicate balance between alcohol abuse and mental disease. The Haven Detox-South Florida offers a professional and convenient approach, offering residential treatment services. Self-management of drinking with depression is not easy. We support you if you’re ready to stop drug addiction. Learn more about our services by calling (561) 328-8627