Alcohol Worsens Depression; Depression Worsens Alcohol Abuse

During therapy, you can learn coping mechanisms that can help you return to life without drinking. Likewise, if you’re diagnosed with one of these conditions, your doctor may ask about symptoms of the other. This is a common part of diagnosis because both so frequently occur together.

  • More research is required before an adequate answer can be produced.
  • Consider looking into holistic therapies such as yoga or meditation.
  • It is important that the particular type of therapy employed fully take into account the intersection between alcohol abuse and depression.
  • Drinking alcohol is known to trigger dopamine release and activate the reward system in a person’s brain.
  • Without proper treatment, self-medicating depression with alcohol increases the risk of severe bodily injury, and even suicidal behaviors.

In other words, dual diagnosis treatment is essential for those struggling with alcoholism and depression. While the prevalence of co-occurring disorders is clear, the link between depression and alcohol abuse is more complex. However, understanding the connection is a critical preliminary step to helping someone get treatment at a rehabilitation center.


As discussed in Part One of this series, another barrier to treatment is that, in the U.S., separate treatment programs and services are in place to treat each problem. However, most addiction treatment programs are not geared to handle clinical depression, and people in treatment for alcohol and depression depression seldom receive appropriate treatment for substance use disorders. Alcoholics frequently experience episodes of intense depression and/or severe anxiety. Depressed or anxious alcohol-dependent people often believe that they drink to relieve symptoms of sadness or nervousness.

  • Effective treatment requires the aid of a facility that understands the relationship between the two.
  • If this is a medical emergency or if there is immediate danger of harm, call 911 and explain that you need support for a mental health crisis.
  • Because of the complicated relationship between depression and alcohol use, Lurie says it’s best to address both at the same time through a specialized treatment program.
  • In a mental health crisis, a person’s usual coping mechanisms for everyday life break down.
  • Once she began feeling pangs of shame while drinking heavily after work, she decided to go back to AA.
  • If you or a loved one are struggling with depression or overuse of alcohol, there is help and hope.

As a result, a person will begin to crave alcohol in order to achieve a feeling of satisfaction. This type of depression is linked to changes in light stemming from a shift in seasons.

What is Alcohol Use Disorder?

A treatment provider may also prescribe an antidepressant to balance mood swings and other symptoms of depression. While medications can be extremely beneficial during recovery, they should only be used alongside other forms of treatment.

The GP will contact the local crisis intervention team (available 24/7) if necessary. As it becomes more frequent, though, they start feeling sad or down more often. Heavy drinking affects brain chemistry and impacts the way the brain functions. Someone who drinks heavily for a long time might develop depression as a result of their alcohol use. Research also shows about one-third of people with depression also have an alcohol problem. Children and teenagers who show signs of depression are more likely to develop alcohol problems. Women with a history of depression are also twice as likely to turn to heavy drinking for relief.

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