Alcoholism or alcohol use disorder (AUD) is one of the fastest growing health concerns in the United States. According to the Anxiety and Depression Association of America (ADAA), around 20 percent of the Americans who have an anxiety or mood disorder such as depression, abuse alcohol or a substance, while about 20 percent of the people who abuse alcohol or substances, also suffer from anxiety or a mood disorder.
Alcohol is considered to be the quickest stress-buster and mood-booster. The substance is often consumed by people as a form of self-medication as it makes them feel better, relieve tension and help them deal with their depression. Although, the short-term effects of alcohol may serve as a temptation, it’s long-term effects can actually worsen an individual’s mental health, sometimes leading to depression.
As part of our series “Drinking alcohol impacts mental equilibrium,” we share with you a few interesting aspects that unveil the relationship between alcohol and depression.
Alcohol tends to increase the risk of depression
Alcohol increases the risk of developing depression in an individual. This is because alcohol tends to disrupt the production of certain chemicals, majorly serotonin (a chemical that regulates the mood), in the human brain. Alcohol is a depressant, therefore, a person who consumes it can experience the blues or feel depressed. Further, if an individual already suffering from depression consumes alcohol, his or her condition may worsen.
When someone drinks excessively, it invariably impacts his or her relationships whether at work or with family and friends. This may increase the person’s stress levels and in turn, result in anxiety or severe depression. Under the influence of alcohol, an individual loses his self-control and indulges in activities that he or she might regret later. Such feelings are more likely to increase his or her stress and trigger depression.
Often, drinking is considered to be an escape from depression. But, this often tends to worsen the symptoms of depression. An individual caught in this vicious cycle of depression and alcoholism may end up committing suicide or die cause of complications resulting from excessive drinking.
Alcohol along with depression can create havoc
Many times a person who is depressed or in a bad mood may be inclined to abuse alcohol. This is because alcohol creates certain mood-boosting effects by altering the brain chemistry. But this can also lead to several negative effects such as:
Alcohol interferes with an individual’s sleep cycle. A person suffering from depression is usually unable to sleep well. Added to this, if he or she starts drinking alcohol it further ruins the body’s ability to rest. This worsens the symptoms of depression and apart from leading to a bad mood can cause difficulty in concentrating, an inability to remember things and exhaustion.
Adverse side effects of medication
An individual might be prescribed some antidepressants to treat depression. If these are taken along with alcohol, it can lead to severe health issues such as drowsiness, impaired behavior and even heart stroke.
Road to recovery
Drinking alcohol in limited quantities is permissible, however, opting for it at every possible opportunity can ruin one’s health, relationships and social life. Therefore, it is always better for an individual to know his limits so that they can avoid health problems. One should remember that alcohol is not a savior but a silent killer. People already suffering from illnesses like depression and on specific medication, should be extra careful not to mix their drinks and their drugs.
If you or someone you know is dealing with alcohol addiction, alcohol use disorder or depression, the Florida Alcohol Addiction Helpline can help. You may call us at our 24/7 helpline number 866-220-5381 or chat online with our experts to know about the alcohol rehabilitation centers in Florida.
Read the first part of the series “Drinking alcohol impacts mental equilibrium” :