Depression and Alcohol

It is common for people who drink to sometimes “drown their sorrows” whenever things go wrong in their life. Stress and sadness can be overwhelming and alcohol has the power to make you temporarily forget whatever is happening so that you feel happier or more relaxed. When someone has been diagnosed with clinical depression, it is not surprising that they might be tempted to drink heavily as their symptoms arise. The connection between depression and alcohol is one of the strongest of any co-occurring disorder. Depression and alcoholism are problems that continually reinforce one another and create a cycle that becomes impossible to resolve without professional help. Dr. Paul’s By The Sea offers treatment that can help individuals who are struggling to handle their own issues with depression and the complications that their substance abuse has also caused.

Alcohol and Substance-Induced Depression

The link between alcohol and depression can happen in a few different ways. People who have clinical depression but have not been diagnosed or are not receiving treatment might turn to alcohol to continually deal with their feelings of hopelessness and self-destructive thoughts. Their alcohol abuse will eventually evolve into an addiction because symptoms of their illness only grow worse the more that they drink. The situation can be the same for someone without clinical depression who simply drinks when they experience normal daily stress or feelings of sadness when something bad happens. Because heavy alcohol consumption can lead to mood problems, a person who drinks whenever a problem comes up could find that their addiction has caused them to develop clinical depression. This problem is actually quite common for people with addictions and it known as substance-induced depression. People with this type of depression that is caused by their alcoholism can potentially eliminate most of their symptoms with dual diagnosis treatment.

Facts about Depression and Alcohol

  • Depressed teens are more likely to have problems with alcohol when they become adults
  • Women are more than twice as likely to drink heavily if they have a history of depression.
  • Heavy alcohol use can make antidepressants less effective
  • Up to 40 percent of people who drink heavily have symptoms resembling a depressive illness
  • People who are depressed and drink heavily have more frequent and severe episodes of depression and are more likely to think about suicide.

Regardless of whether depression precedes addiction or alcoholism has led to the development of the disorder, it is important for anyone with this co-occurring disorder to get treatment for both issues. Dual diagnosis treatment focuses attention on improving symptoms of depression while ensuring that the patient is learning valuable tools to recover from their alcohol problem. With only general rehabilitation treatment, someone with depression is at a higher risk for relapse because they are not receiving attention for their disorder. Dual diagnosis treatment allows patients the opportunity to work with experienced therapists that understand the complexities and strong relationship between mental illness and addiction. Patients in a dual diagnosis program can benefit from specialized treatment that helps them overcome their own unique issues that have kept them addicted. Individual and group therapy, activities, education and a daily treatment routine can all help people with a dual diagnosis to gradually reduce the symptoms of both of their disorders. At Dr. Paul’s By The Sea, our patients learn all the skills necessary to manage their mental illness and stay sober after treatment. Through recovery for depression and alcoholism, it is possible to return to a healthier and happier life.