Tuesday, October 19, 2021

How are Depression and Alcohol Addiction Related?

Alcoholism and depression are both mental health disorders. Individuals who are depressed are more likely to abuse substances or become dependent on alcohol. Learn how depression and alcohol addiction are related to each other.

Depression and Alcohol Addiction
The link between alcohol abuse and depression

How are Depression and Alcohol Addiction Related to Each Other?

Depression and alcoholism go hand-in-hand, as many who suffer from one disorder often struggle with the other. Not only can alcoholism exacerbate existing cases of depression, but it can also increase an individual's risk of developing a mental disorder. 

Drinking too much alcohol can increase an individual's risk of developing mouth, throat, liver, and breast cancers. It can also lead to cardiovascular disease and worsen other existing conditions like Alzheimer's disease and cirrhosis of the liver. Depression, on the other hand, is a mental disorder that affects an individual's mood and behavior. 

A depressive episode can last anywhere from weeks to months, causing individuals to feel sad, hopeless, helpless, worthless, and/or anxious, among other things. It can interfere with day-to-day activities like getting out of bed or finishing everyday tasks. 

Both depression and alcohol addiction are complicated mental health issues that require a multi-step treatment plan.

In this article, we will discuss how depression and alcoholism are related. 


1. Alcohol addiction and depression are both mental health disorders:

Both alcoholism and depression can target any person at any time, although it is more common for those who have a family history of alcoholism or mental health disorders to develop these conditions. While many people believe that alcohol addiction and depression are not medical problems, research shows that both share genetic markers and neurotransmitters like dopamine, serotonin, and cortisol. 

Unfortunately, the treatments for either of these mental health disorders aren't as simple as taking a pill. Alcoholism requires a rehab program while therapy or medications help treat depression.


2. Alcohol is a depressant, which can worsen the symptoms of depression:

Regular alcohol consumption can cause a person to build up a tolerance, which means they will require greater amounts of the substance to feel an effect. As drinking continues over time, individuals who develop alcoholism often find themselves drinking more and more to function normally. 

Alcohol is a depressant, which means individuals who drink it regularly may end up feeling depressed, anxious, and even suicidal. Alcohol inhibits the body's ability to absorb B vitamins, which can lead to feelings of confusion and irritability in addition to depression and anxiety.


3. Depression can lead to alcohol abuse and dependence:

Although depression is a mental disorder that causes people to feel sad or depressed, it also affects the individual's sleep and eating habits. 

People who suffer from depression often stop taking care of themselves, which can lead them to start abusing alcohol as a means of coping with their feelings or emotions. They find themselves drinking to relax and feel less stressed. 

Over time, drinking may develop into a dependency and the individual will start suffering from withdrawal symptoms when they do not have access to alcohol for a certain period.


4. Antidepressants may help with depression but not alcoholism, while anti-anxiety medications may help with anxiety but not addiction:

While medication for depression oftentimes helps treat alcoholism, many drugs used to treat anxiety disorders like benzodiazepines also increase the risk of developing an addiction. 

Alcoholism is a long-term illness that requires an inpatient rehab program, while anxiety disorders are shorter term and can be treated with therapy or medications. 

Individuals who suffer from both conditions often find themselves in a cycle of addiction and treatment that is difficult to break. It is important for people who suffer from both alcohol addiction and anxiety disorder to be monitored by a doctor throughout their recovery.


5. If left untreated, both depression and alcoholism can lead to serious health problems:

People who suffer from depression are more likely to develop other mental health disorders, while those with alcohol dependency are more likely to commit crimes. If left untreated, severe cases of alcoholism increase the risk of liver disease or cancer in addition to causing damage to the brain and internal organs. Without needed treatment, depression can result in suicidal ideations and actions. 

Both alcoholism and depression are treatable illnesses that require time and effort to overcome. There is no quick fix for either condition; however, treatment with the help of a therapist or psychiatrist can often lead to improved mental health and well-being.


Alcohol addiction and depression are two mental health disorders that are closely linked in many ways but also different enough where they need different treatments. 

Alcohol addiction requires treatment with a rehab program while depression is often treated with therapy or medication. Alcohol is a depressant, which can worsen the symptoms of depression while making an individual more likely to build up a tolerance that requires greater amounts of the substance. 

Depression is also linked with alcohol abuse and dependence, which are both treatable conditions but require time and effort to overcome. Individuals who suffer from both alcoholism and depression often find themselves in a cycle of addiction without ever receiving needed treatment. If left untreated, severe cases of depression increase the risk of suicide while severe cases of alcoholism can cause damage to internal organs or lead to liver disease. 

There is no quick fix for either condition; however, treatment with the help of a therapist or psychiatrist can often lead to improved mental health and well-being.