The Alcohol and Depression Connection

It’s often essential to understand how different substances affect the body and mind, and in this case, you’ll learn about how alcohol is linked to depression. While alcohol itself might not be a direct cause of depression, it can make symptoms of depression more severe or bring out symptoms that weren’t previously apparent.

Everyone experiences things differently, and it may be difficult to tell to what extent alcohol is acting as a depressant within your body. If you’re going to understand the impact that alcohol has on you fully, then you can read on.

The effects of alcohol

Of course, drinking alcohol is a pretty common activity in many countries of the world. We drink for fun, we drink to be social, and we drink to relax. It has many effects that can help you enjoy your downtime, and there’s not necessarily anything wrong with moderate alcohol intake. 

It’s also known that while it can be great for having a nice time, it does impair your judgment and abilities. You shouldn’t attempt to drive or operate machinery while under the influence, even if you feel confident in your abilities – that’s the alcohol talking.

The effect of alcohol on the mood

As mentioned before, everyone has a different experience with alcohol, and it can have varying effects on your mood and mental health. This can depend on your current mental health condition and the amount you consume.

Some find that it helps to relax or to give them confidence. This is why it’s often consumed at social gatherings – talking can become easier, speaking with strangers, etc. This is achievable on a smaller intake, the problem tends to come when you drink more than necessary.

Being dependent on alcohol, or drinking far more than you should is where it will start to have a negative impact on your mood and mental health. As alcohol is a depressant, it will start to worsen the effects of your depression – which is why it can be dangerous for individuals struggling with mental health to drink often.

You may notice your negative emotions have been intensified, your sleep is either easily interrupted, or you wake up feeling restless. These are all common results of extensive alcohol consumption.

Relying on alcohol

For some, it’s easy to limit their alcohol intake to a reasonable amount, but that’s not the case for everyone. If you’re struggling with poor mental health, you might find it appealing to drink more, seeking the comfort that alcohol can bring. While it might help in the short term, as mentioned before – it’s a depressant. So you would effectively be entering a downward spiral, making it more difficult to distance yourself from a dependence on alcohol. Not only that, but your body builds up a tolerance to alcohol, meaning that you would have to drink more and more to feel the same effects. 

Spotting the problem

So how can you know when enough is enough? It can be hard to draw the line between what’s good for you, and what’s unhealthy. As mentioned before, there’s nothing necessarily wrong with drinking in moderation – but you have to make sure you don’t overdo it. Look out for some of the following symptoms:

  • Strained relationships due to alcohol. If you find that your alcohol is always causing concern or stress for your friends, family, or loved ones – it could be a sign that you’re taking it too far. Stop and assess your habits.
  • The urge to drink. Alcohol isn’t medicine, and it’s not going to cure you of any problems. If you feel the urge to drink, rather than simply wanting to – that’s a sign of addiction, and you may need professional help to overcome it.
  • Drinking a lot outside of social events. There’s nothing wrong with having a drink in the evening to help you relax, but if you find yourself making that drink earlier and earlier, you may be in danger. Trying to drink more throughout the day suggests that you are becoming reliant on alcohol.
  • Waking up with shaky hands. Unless you have any other known health conditions, waking up with shaky hands after drinking the previous night is a sign of how alcohol is affecting your health.

Getting Help

Trying to fight alcoholism and depression can be very difficult, and if you’re struggling with addiction you should seek professional help. There’s no shame in getting a helping hand, and it can often help to meet others who have experienced the same struggles as you.

Everyone has their own preferences, and there are multiple different types of treatments to match different patients. Some seek one on one sessions with a counselor, while others may prefer support groups with peers. There’s no definitive best treatment, as everyone is different, and will experience varying results when attending these.

Support groups

One form of treatment that many find to be effective is support groups. Individuals who are all experiencing similar difficulties attend to speak about their problems, and how they’re working to overcome it. These groups can be effective as you’re not only learning about healthy coping mechanisms from others, but it’s a layer of support that you may not necessarily get from other people. You’re going to be understood and accepted, and you’re going to get useful information on overcoming your addiction.

Behavioral treatment

Licensed healthcare professionals can also be of great help. Looking at your typical behaviors and helping you to better handle your thoughts and feelings that lead you to drink. 


While medications aren’t the cure for alcohol and depression struggles, they can help to prevent relapse while you’re recovering. They would have to be prescribed, which you would only be able to get through a healthcare professional.

Get Help from Peak Recovery Today

If you’re suffering from addiction and want to learn more about treatments and recovery, contact Peaks Recovery. Whether you’re just looking for information about treatments or want to contact a professional, you shouldn’t hesitate to call.

Medical Disclaimer: Peaks Recovery Centers uses fact-based content about recovery treatment, addiction medicine, and behavioral health conditions to improve the quality of life for those struggling with drug and alcohol addiction or mental health disorders. This information is not intended to replace professional medical guidance, diagnosis, care, or treatment. This information should not be used as a substitute for advice from a qualified healthcare provider and/or your physician.