Alcohol consumption is a common thing for most adults. While some do not have any problems with drinking, this could be a warning sign for others, especially regarding their mental health. Alcohol and depression are often connected regardless of which one comes before the other. This is because people who feel depressed often turn to the effects of alcohol to escape their problems and emotions. A coping mechanism like this, however, makes one dependent on alcohol and perpetuates a vicious cycle of drinking and further depression. Here are five important things to note when discussing how alcohol can increase depression and what can be done.
1. Alcohol may worsen depression.
Many people turn to alcohol when they feel sad or depressed. They fixate themselves on the temporary relief that alcohol gives them, allowing them to forget their problems in the meantime. However, while it might be able to improve the way you feel in the short-term, what people who suffer from depression don’t realize is that this could actually worsen the depression that they are experiencing in the long run. Drinking alcohol can lead to more and frequent severe episodes. Apart from this, drinking can also increase thoughts of suicide.
2. Alcohol makes antidepressants less effective.
Alcohol and antidepressants are a bad combination for both your mental and physical well-being. Alcohol can easily counteract your antidepressant medication and instead cause harmful side effects. It will make you drowsy all the time and affect your judgment and body coordination. Overall, drinking alcohol while on antidepressants is even more dangerous than alcohol intake alone. As such, consuming alcohol and depression treatment, when done together, can never work. The former defeats the purpose of the latter.
3. Drinking and depression lead to a vicious cycle of alcohol dependency.
Since alcohol worsens depression, the opposite is also true. Depression for non-drinkers, or even just social drinkers, can increase the risk of alcohol abuse. Given that alcohol helps people feel better for a brief period, people suffering from depression may abuse this temporary feeling of relief and use alcohol as a go-to remedy when they feel stressed or anxious. The worse their depression gets, the more they might drink alcohol, making them dependent on alcohol to cope with their condition and increasing the likelihood of addiction.
4. Alcohol messes up the body’s hormones and chemicals.
In our day to day life, the body secretes hormones and chemicals that are necessary for us to function. However, alcohol seriously affects how many our bodies will produce as well as how they are discharged. Excessive drinking increases the levels of the stress hormone Cortisol. Cortisol is beneficial in short bursts, as it helps you maintain focus and alertness, but it can seriously suppress your bodily function if higher levels of it are in the body. Apart from this, alcohol has effects on the production of serotonin in the body. Serotonin is often associated with memory, learning, and feelings of well-being. In the short-term, drinking alcohol can boost serotonin levels, leading to a temporary feeling of happiness. However, excess alcohol consumption can decrease serotonin levels in the long-term, thereby making depression worse.
5. Treating alcohol abuse can help in overcoming depression.
Alcohol abuse and depression are two very serious problems, both in terms of physical and mental health. The good thing is that you can still overcome both problems. Consulting the right medical professional is the key to success, here. A few weeks or months of not consuming alcohol can go a long way in helping you feel a lot better. After your alcohol problems improve, treating your depression will be much easier.Depression requires proper treatment and guidance from a medical professional, while alcohol abuse might not be as easy to stop. Relapse is sometimes a risk. Recovery often needs mental and emotional support from people who understand what sufferers are going through. This is why loved ones must learn to support someone with depression and alcoholism. Apart from this, it is also good to seek the help of a Christ-based drug rehab in Murfreesboro like Haven House Recovery Center, one that provides mental, emotional, and spiritual guidance for those suffering from alcoholism. Drop by our center today and find out more about us!