It’s no secret that people suffering from depression often turn to alcohol to try and numb the pain. But is drinking really helping, or just making it worse?
While alcohol may offer some temporary relief from the symptoms of depression, it is a false relife. Alcohol is a depressant, and drinking with depression can invite a vicious cycle of becoming depressed, drinking to relieve the symptoms, and then becoming more depressed because of the drinking.
In today’s post, we’ll explore the complex relationship between drinking and depression— looking at both short-term and long-term effects of combining these two things. We’ll also look at how to identify an unhealthy relationship with alcohol and what you can do if you feel like you are struggling with both depression and alcohol abuse.
The Relationship Between Alcohol And Depression
Depression and alcohol use disorder are often comorbid, meaning they occur together. According to the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, about 20 percent of people with alcohol use disorder also have major depression.
There is a complex relationship between alcohol and depression. Depression can lead to heavy drinking as people try to self-medicate or numb their emotions. But alcohol abuse can also worsen depression symptoms, creating a vicious cycle.
Heavy drinking can interfere with medications prescribed for depression, make it harder to stick to treatment plans, and increase the risk of suicide. It can also make it more difficult to recover from episodes of depression.
If you’re struggling with alcoholism and depression, it’s important to seek professional help. This is sometimes called a dual-diagnosis, when a person is diagnosed with both an addiction and a mental health disorder. Treatment for both conditions at the same time is necessary to improve your chances of recovery.
How Drinking Can Make Depression Worse
It’s no secret that alcohol and depression don’t mix. Drinking can make depression worse and can even lead to suicidal thoughts or attempts. Alcohol is a depressant, so it can amplify the symptoms of depression. It can also make it harder to stick to treatment for depression, like therapy or taking medication.
Alcohol use disorder is common among people with depression. That’s why it’s important to be honest with your doctor or therapist about your drinking habits if you’re depressed.
Drinking can worsen depression in a few different ways.
First, alcohol is a depressant itself, so it can make the symptoms of depression worse.
Second, drinking can interfere with medication or therapy for depression.
Finally, drinking can lead to financial problems, relationship problems, and legal problems—all of which can make depression worse.
If you’re struggling with alcohol and depression, know that you’re not alone. Many people struggle with both conditions at the same time. The most important thing you can do is get help from a mental health professional who can create a treatment plan that’s right for you
The Different Types Of Depression
There are many different types of depression, each with its own symptoms and causes.
Major depression is the most common type, characterized by a persistent low mood, loss of interest in usual activities, and feelings of hopelessness.
Persistent depressive disorder (formerly known as dysthymia) is a form of major depression that lasts for at least two years.
Bipolar disorder (formerly known as manic-depressive illness) is another type of depression that alternates between periods of highs (mania) and lows (depression).
Seasonal affective disorder (SAD) is a form of major depression that occurs at the same time each year, usually in the fall or winter.
Postpartum depression is a form of major depression that can occur after childbirth.
Psychotic depression is a rare but serious type of mental illness in which a person has severe depression plus some form of psychosis, such as hallucinations or delusions.
Treatment For Depression And Alcoholism
There are a variety of effective treatment options available for depression and alcoholism, including medication, talk therapy, and lifestyle changes.
Medication can be an effective treatment for depression. Antidepressants work by balancing chemicals in the brain that regulate mood and emotions. It’s important to know that it may take several weeks or longer for antidepressants to start working. If you’re considering taking medication for depression, it’s important to work with a mental health professional to find the right medication and dosage for you.
There are also some medications that can work to combat alcoholism as well. Many of these medications are used during the detox phase (this is called medically assisted detox). But there are some medications that can potentially reduce cravings and make alcohol unpalatable as well.
Talk therapy is another effective treatment option for both depression and alcoholism. In talk therapy, also called counseling or psychotherapy, you talk with a mental health professional about your thoughts, feelings, and experiences. Talk therapy can help you understand your thoughts and feelings and learn new coping skills.
Lifestyle changes can also help reduce symptoms of both depression and alcoholism. Exercise has been shown to be an effective treatment for depression and can help to limit cravings. Getting regular exercise can help improve your mood and increase your energy levels. Eating a healthy diet and getting enough sleep are also important for managing all types of mental illness, including depression and alcoholism.
Think You Might Have Alcoholism With Depression? Call Us Today
As we have seen, drinking alcohol can make depression worse in some cases. It is important to be aware of the risks associated with drinking and to understand that even in moderation, alcohol may not be a helpful coping mechanism for those struggling with depression.
If you are feeling depressed and find yourself reaching for alcohol as a way to cope, it is important to speak with a treatment center like ours for help. We can be reached at (615) 326-6449 and are looking forward to speaking with you.