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Is There a Dangerous Link Between Alcohol and Depression?

The National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA) claims that approximately 15.1 million adults aged 18 and over had an alcohol use disorder (AUD) in 2015; only 6.7 million people actually received treatment. Alcohol is such a central part of American culture – it’s used for celebrations, meetings, gatherings, parties, and even to wind down after a long day at work. Because alcohol is such a principal component to American way of life, it’s also a hinderance to our health and success because of its ability to develop into alcoholism and lead us into other mental health conditions we may not previously have had. If you consider yourself a heavy drinker but also experience symptoms of depression, it’s important to consider the fact that alcohol could be worsening your symptoms.

Alcohol is a depressant, and can therefore change your brain and body if your drinking becomes out of control. Alcohol can interfere with pathways in the brain that may cause your mood and coordination to change; since alcohol impairs your ability to think clearly, drinking while depressed can worsen your symptoms and increase your risk of actively impulsively (ex. have you ever seen a movie where a person “drunk texts” their ex-lover because they’re upset?). Previous research has shown that together, alcohol and depression are not a good mix and yes – one can impact the other.

A 2017 study published in the journal Annals of Epidemiology sought to explore the relationship between alcohol dependence and depression among members of the National Guard. Researchers found that alcohol dependence and depression were associated with suicidal ideation among soldiers. If a range of depressive symptoms are experienced and a person attempts to self-medicate via alcohol abuse, it is likely that a person will exacerbate their symptoms because they cannot effectively deal with the painful emotions they are experiencing.

A review conducted by researchers from the UK highlight the benefit of cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) in treating comorbid disorders of alcohol use disorders (AUD) and depression. Alongside detoxification and potentially medication, CBT can help individuals uncover the emotions they’ve been trying to suppress, thus giving them healthy coping mechanisms to move forward with.

Everyone has a story beneath the complicated relationship between alcohol abuse and depression. When we start to unravel the story, we start to see where depression and alcoholism come from. Our behaviors always make more sense when we get a better understanding of the story behind them. Your story started long before treatment. During treatment, your story can change for the better. The Guest House Ocala offers luxury residential treatment for trauma, addictions, and related mental health issues. Rewrite your story. Change your life. Call us today for information on our concierge-style customized treatment programs: 855-483-7800