How Are Alcohol and Depression Related?

Regardless of whom we are and where we are, each of us experiences what would be term as good days or bad days. This depends on what one could be going through either in a family setting, at the work place or even one’s relationship with other people. This in turn leads us to seek solace from various things or avenues. Alcohol is one of those things that many have turned to during such times, but often times when used excessively it has led to depression. Whether alcohol and depression are related or not is an issue that will be tackled in this article.

Does Depression Make You Drink Alcohol?

Alcohol and depression can be related in different ways and the question of whether depression can make someone to drink stir lots of debate. First and foremost, it is worth noting that drinking as a result of depression only makes things worse. It has been concluded that depressed children have a greater chance of becoming drunkards in future. On the other hand, teenagers who have had major depression will be forced to turn to alcohol much more easily than those who have not gone through it. Women too have a greater chance of engaging in the use of alcohol than men if they have a depression history. They actually tend to engage in excessive consumption than men, especially when they are down.

When some weak and depressed situations, you will be tempted to take more alcohol, thinking that it will keep you going and even cope with life. This may lead you to a habit of drinking regularly, while using alcohol as medication and thereafter having dependence on it, leading to further depression. Therefore, while depression can lead to the consumption of alcohol, it is not an effective way of handling the situation.


Does Alcohol Make You Feel Depressed?

Generally, alcohol is a sedative drug and a depressant for that matter. This implies that one becomes prone to loss of consciousness despite the amount consumed. This is what eventually leads to depression. Up to a third of those engaging in excessive use of alcohol have major depression. When one has had too much to drink, they are not capable of making wise decisions which may lead to bankruptcy, termination of employment and broken relationships among others. If such individuals are the kind that tends to get miserable when such things happen, they will easily slide into depression.

Alcohol can make you feel better for some time. However, it may get you to a situation of wanting more of it and sometimes become depressing when you can't resist it. What's more, it will be worth mentioning that depressed people who drink in excess have severe bouts of depression and often times they tend to be suicidal. For bad to worse, alcohol also tends to reduce the effectiveness of antidepressants.

Alcohol and Depression —— A Vicious Cycle

Signs of depression become evident easily for those who drink excessively. Serotonin is a chemical in the brain that helps regulate your mood and any form of alcohol abuse lowers its levels. In Britain, people with a greater chance of becoming excessive or problem drinkers are either anxious or depressed. If you drink to improve the way you feel or to cover up your depression, you may be on the onset of a vicious cycle. Some of the red flag indicators that alcohol is taking a toll on your moods are:

  • Restless sleep
  • Lethargy and a feeling of constant exhaustion
  • Having mood swings
  • Anxiety where you would otherwise be relaxed

How to Get Rid of Alcohol and Depression

Dealing with alcohol and depression starts by accepting that you have a problem with them and that you need help.

1. Quit Alcohol

There are 3 ways to help you get rid of drinking safely and effectively:

  • Safe Detoxification

This involves the use of medication that prevents withdrawal syndrome when quitting alcohol. Some withdrawal symptoms include anxiety, sweating, tremor, seizures, restlessness, nausea and Delirium Tremens (DTs). Symptoms of DTs are disorientation, hallucinations and delusions. They can actually last up to seven days.

  • Counseling Sessions

Such sessions help you abstain or maintain "controlled drinking" within acceptable limits. Physiological therapies like cognitive behavioral therapy can really help.

  • Administration of Medication

In some instances, this is meant to work. Some of the medical administrations used are disulfiram (Antabse) which helps in abstinence. If you drink while using this medication, you will tend to react in ways that are unpleasant and potentially dangerous. Then, acamprosate (Campral) reduces alcohol cravings. These medicines can only work if you are willing to quit drinking alcohol. Besides, they are not just meant to work instantaneously.

2. Alleviate Depression

Under normal circumstances, those that drink under depression should feel much better a few weeks after avoiding alcohol. Hence, it is prudent to handle the issue of alcohol first and then address depression later if it has not ceased after this period. A few weeks without drinking will improve your mood and you are likely to get along with people much more easily. If depression ceases, then drinking would be termed the root cause. If it is as a result of life issues, it will be wise to talk about it with your doctor.

Contacting your GP will also help deal with depression through cognitive therapy which is a talking treatment. The GP can also suggest antidepressant medication but in both cases you will need to keep off alcohol. Certain medication can be used to lower the urge for drinking but may not work for many. These can be obtained from a specialist.

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