Depression and Alcohol

Everybody knows that alcohol can enhance a party or social gathering. It’s one of the reasons why most adults consume alcohol when enjoying time with friends and family. However, when a person drinks daily or turns to booze to forget about things happening in their life, it’s almost certain that other damaging factors are at play. Depression is one of the most common by far.

If you’ve noticed yourself or a loved one drinking more frequently or with less control than before, and alcohol use disorder may be the problem. Understanding the potential role that depression may play in this situation is an essential ingredient in the recipe for getting your life back on track. Here’s what you need to know.

What Is Depression?

Depression, otherwise known as major depressive disorder, is a mood disorder. While it is most commonly associated with feelings of sadness, it is also characterized by a lack of interest or a loss of enthusiasm for life. Everyone feels depressed from time to time, but extended and frequent bouts of depression are a serious health concern.

The World Health Organization estimates that over 264 million people suffer from depression worldwide. Its prevalence is growing due to a host of social issues, including financial problems and fallout from the pandemic. Some of the most common symptoms linked to depression are;

  • Experienced depressive thoughts throughout the day, especially in the morning.
  • Feelings of hopelessness, pessimism, guilt, and worthlessness. 
  • Suicidal thoughts or thoughts of causing self-harm.
  • A lack of energy, napping in the day, and/or an inability to sleep at night.
  • Struggling to stay focused or remember details about your day.

None of the symptoms alone are a major cause for concern. However, when one or multiple issues persist for two weeks or longer, depression may be the underlying reason. Sadly, only 43% are currently getting treatment. This is largely due to a lack of identification and a hesitance to reach out for support. 

Depression is a standalone condition and can affect non-drinkers as well as those battling alcoholism. Still, people don’t fall into the trap of alcohol abuse without a reason. Depression is one of the most common sources.

The Connection Between Depression And Alcoholism

Alcohol use disorders affect over 14.5 million Americans. While depression isn’t linked to all cases, it is present in many individuals who are suffering from alcoholism. This is underlined by the fact that treatments for co-occurring depression and alcoholism exist.

Depression and alcohol aren’t only linked together. They actively influence one another too. Clear examples of this happening include, but are not limited to;

  • Alcoholics regularly feel depressed because they feel helpless in their battle against booze and temptations to drink.
  • Depressed people turn to alcohol to try and escape their feelings of depression, anxiety, and related conditions.
  • Hangovers, regret, and a host of alcoholism side effects can encourage depressive thoughts to enter a person’s mind.
  • When feeling depressed, you are less likely to care about the negative impacts of excessive alcohol consumption.
  • The direct impacts of alcoholism on your health, wealth, and relationships will increase the threat of depression.

Worse still, depression and alcoholism are a lethal combination. Studies show that 29% of suicides in the United States are from people who have alcohol in their system. Meanwhile, it is suggested that alcohol-dependent people are up to 120x more likely to commit suicide than those who are not.

The links between alcohol and depression aren’t only attributed to the worst-case scenarios of death and suicide. The two conditions will make non-life-threatening symptoms and illnesses more noticeable. This includes both physical and mental conditions.

It should be noted that they remain independent conditions, though, even when they co-exist. You can feel depressed even at times when you aren’t drinking. Conversely, you may drink despite not feeling depressed.

In short, just because you don’t always experience the symptoms of both issues at once it doesn’t mean they aren’t co-occurring. 

Why Does It Matter?

Given that professional help will be needed if you suffer from either depression or alcoholism, you may wonder why it’s relevant to know whether the two are combined. The short answer is that your subsequent drug rehab or mental health treatment will be influenced by the findings.

Here at Peaks Recovery, our dedicated alcohol rehab teams tailor all treatments to match individual circumstances, including co-occurring conditions, and can implement a range of ideas depending on whether depression or other mental health issues are involved. 

Call us today to learn more and discuss your personal treatment options.

Alcohol Treatment

Alcohol use disorders need treating as soon as they are identified. If you’re worried about your drinking habit or a loved one’s potentially damaging relationship with alcohol, now is the time to regain control of the situation.

Contact Peaks Recovery to discover your options today!