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How Alcohol and Depression Can Be Connected

A man thinking about alcohol and depression

Alcohol addiction and depression have many commonalities. They both can significantly lower quality of life, and they can both have fatal outcomes when left untreated. Addiction and depression treatment can offer a way to heal and move forward from these potentially deadly conditions.

Woodland Recovery Center is an addiction treatment center that provides support for a variety of mental health concerns, including depression. Call 662.222.2989 today to learn more about an alcohol detox center.

Alcoholism and Depression Share Similarities

Alcohol addiction and depression are two serious conditions, and each can exist without the presence of the other. In addition to the risk of death associated with each, the two share other key similarities.

Alcoholism and depression have a variety of symptoms and are diagnosed when an individual’s experience meets certain criteria.

Alcoholism is a type of substance use disorder. Key signs of alcoholism include:

  • Increase in tolerance
  • Withdrawal symptoms when drinking is stopped
  • Cravings for alcohol
  • Constant thoughts about getting or consuming more alcohol
  • Alcohol use interferes with relationships and responsibilities
  • Alcohol use brings unwanted consequences, like legal issues

Depression is a mental health condition. Common symptoms of depression include:

  • Loss of interest or motivation
  • Feelings of numbness or apathy
  • Disinterest in relationships or hobbies
  • Withdrawal or isolation
  • Thoughts of suicide or death

When the symptoms of either condition persist, or severe symptoms are present, it’s a sign that professional help is needed.

Drinking Can Cause Depression

Excessive alcohol use triggers a vast array of adverse effects and can ultimately lead to a substance use disorder, profoundly affecting individuals’ physical, mental, and social well-being. While some individuals who begin drinking might manage to maintain control over their alcohol consumption, a significant number of people find regulating their intake challenging, often leading down a path of dependency.

According to detailed studies by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), alcohol acts as a depressant on the nervous system. This interaction doesn’t merely result in momentary changes; over time, it can lead to significant alterations in brain function and structure. These changes are not without consequence; they may directly contribute to the onset of depression. However, the link between alcohol use and depression isn’t confined to the biochemical. The social and personal repercussions of alcoholism further compound this issue.

The Damage Alcohol Causes Is Deep

Alcoholism invariably degrades the quality of life across all fronts. The damage it inflicts isn’t limited to the individual’s health—it reaches into every aspect of their life. Relationships with family and friends suffer as trust erodes and connections falter under the strain of continued alcohol misuse. Performance at work and school declines, which can result in job loss or academic failure, further exacerbating feelings of worthlessness and despair. Moreover, the financial strain of purchasing alcohol, potential medical bills due to alcohol-related health issues, and possible legal fees stemming from alcohol-fueled incidents can lead to a financial crisis.

The impact of alcohol addiction is so pervasive and all-encompassing that it significantly lowers an individual’s overall life satisfaction and well-being. Given its far-reaching effects on personal health, relationships, professional life, and financial status, it’s hardly surprising that depression often follows in the wake of alcoholism. The cycle of drinking to alleviate feelings of depression, only for alcohol to deepen those very sentiments, creates a vicious cycle that can be incredibly difficult to break.

Depression Can Lead to Alcohol Addiction

Just as alcohol use can cause depression, depression can also lead to alcohol addiction. When an individual is struggling with depression, they often live under the burden of unbearable feelings. Alcohol can provide a sense of temporary escape from the thoughts and feelings that accompany depression.

Using a substance like alcohol to escape from the symptoms of an untreated mental health concern is such a common practice that it even has a name: “self-medicating.” Although the practice of self-medicating can provide the illusion of relief, in reality, substance use can worsen a mental health condition significantly.

Frequent alcohol use can develop into a substance use disorder quickly, and the resulting physical and psychological dependence is very difficult to overcome without professional help.

Woodland Recovery Center Offers Help for Alcohol and Depression

Untreated depression puts people at risk of suicide. Alcohol addiction can similarly bring fatal outcomes caused by everything from withdrawal symptoms to liver failure to drunk driving accidents.

Getting help for alcohol addiction and depression is the first step in regaining health on all levels—physical, mental, and emotional. If you or a loved one is struggling with alcoholism, depression, or any other mental health concerns, a professional treatment program can provide the tools for restoring wellness to your life.

Call 662.222.2989 or use our online contact form and ask about getting help for alcoholism and depression at Woodland Recovery Center.