Alcohol and Depression
Alcoholism is a common and dangerous problem that affects people of all ages. Although alcohol is considered a legal drug, individuals often abuse it in a way that makes their actions illegal and even harmful to their well-being. There are, for example, numerous physical and mental health issues that are frequently associated with alcoholism or alcohol use disorder. One of these problems is depression. Depression is a serious and common mood disorder in which a person feels extreme apathy or overwhelming feelings of sadness. These feelings are often intense enough that they begin to impact a person’s daily life, and they last more than two weeks at a time. People who are suffering from alcoholism and depression at the same time are in an especially dangerous situation for themselves and those who care for them. When dealing with someone who is showing signs of depression and alcohol abuse, it is crucial that you understand the relationship between the two, the severity of that relationship, and the type of treatment that is needed.
Which Comes First: Depression or Alcoholism?
A dual-diagnosis involving alcohol and depression is quite common, especially in individuals who have a family history of depression or alcoholism. It is a natural assumption that alcohol triggers depression in the people who use it, but that is not always the case. Often, people with depression drink alcohol as a way to help relieve symptoms of their condition, as alcohol has a sedative effect that may, for a short while, make them feel better or more relaxed. The continued need to feel better can drive them to use alcohol more frequently. For others, alcoholism can affect the brain and cause changes that increase their risk of major depression.
Why Is the Combination of Alcohol and Depression Dangerous?
One of the many problems with depression and alcoholism is that ultimately, alcohol is a depressant. As such, even moderate amounts can alter one’s mood so that it is dangerously low, and it can also interfere with their ability to sleep properly, which can make symptoms of depression more intense. This may lead to neglectful or impulsive behavior and impaired judgment. A serious concern that comes with depression and alcohol abuse is a potential increase in suicidal thoughts and actions. Depression may also make it more difficult for alcoholics to stop drinking, as it can make withdrawal symptoms more severe when one attempts to stop.
Alcohol also may interact negatively with antidepressants and other medications that are taken for the treatment of depression. This can cause problems that may include drowsiness, elevated blood pressure, and stroke. Because of the dangers that come from drinking and depression, it is crucial that one seeks treatment for both conditions as quickly as possible. Professional care in an intensive outpatient treatment program (IOP) such as True Recovery’s can play an important role in providing the skilled and compassionate care that is needed for a successful recovery.
Treating Alcoholism and Depression
At True Recovery, our highly trained staff can play an important role in your recovery from alcohol and depression. Our experience working with individuals who have co-occurring disorders will help us to create a customized treatment plan that is right for you. Our extended-care programs integrate holistic and traditional therapies, addiction counseling, and sessions that are meant to help you explore old interests, foster new ones, and set goals for the future. The success of our clients is our top priority, whether you’ve relapsed or are in our alternative rehab program for the first time. Call today for more information about depression and alcohol and how our treatment facility can help.