Depression and Addiction are not two separate issues. They are related and have a significant impact on the lives of those suffering from both. Alcoholics who are depressed or have a history of depression are less likely to seek treatment for their alcoholism because they believe their depression is the cause of their drinking.
What Is Alcoholism?
Alcoholism is the most common and widespread of the addictions according to the mental health experts at Transcend Recovery Community. It’s a disease that affects millions of people all around the world, including many Americans. It can be diagnosed by doctors and treated by professional therapists, just like any other problem with physical or mental health.
Alcoholism is usually a progressive disease and it tends to get worse over time. It’s also chronic, meaning it lasts for a person’s lifetime; it rarely goes away on its own. Those who suffer from alcoholism will struggle with it for the rest of their lives. However, they can make that struggle easier by getting treatment and learning to live with the condition, just as those suffering from diabetes or asthma do.
There are several signs that indicate someone suffers from alcoholism. These include fixation with alcohol and withdrawal symptoms when you go too long without drinking (i.e., shaking, sweating, nausea). Alcoholics need to drink in order to function normally. They’ll often become ill if they don’t have a minimum amount of alcohol in their system at all times.
What Is Depression?
Depression is not a simple mood. It is a clinical disorder (not just a passing mood), and it can interfere with someone’s ability to function in their daily life. Symptoms of depression include:
- Loss of interest in activities
- Feelings of worthlessness or guilt
- Concentration problems
Causes of Depression
As with most conditions, no single cause has been identified as the root of depression. Instead, there are many factors that contribute to the manifestation of the disorder. These risk factors include biological, psychological, and environmental factors: Biologically speaking, depression may be caused by changes in the brain’s function and structure.
The neurotransmitters serotonin and norepinephrine play an important role in emotions and mood. Some scientists believe that an imbalance in these neurotransmitters may lead to symptoms of depression. Other biological factors include Hormone changes, stress, and problems with sleep. In addition, certain events experienced during one’s childhood or adulthood can lead to depression.
These experiences are known as psychosocial stressors; examples include the loss of a loved one, financial problems, abuse (physical or sexual), and trauma (such as natural disasters).
How Are Alcoholism and Depression Linked?
The relationship between alcoholism and depression is very complex. On one hand, alcohol can lead to depression as it’s a depressant. On the other hand, people who suffer from severe depression may turn to alcohol as a way of self-medicating.
Many people who are depressed abuse alcohol in order to try and feel better, but this type of drug abuse doesn’t work long-term. When an individual drinks alcohol, the drug temporarily blocks certain nerve activity in the brain, which can lead to feelings of euphoria. However, these effects don’t last forever, and once they wear off, the individual is left with a worse emotional state than before.
Subsequently, they may drink even more in an effort to combat their depressive symptoms. This phenomenon is known as a “self-medicating cycle,” and it is one of the most common ways that alcoholism and depression are linked.
How Do You Know if You Have a Problem?
The question of whether a person is an alcoholic or not is often answered by a single question: “Are you able to stop drinking when you want to?” If you said no, there’s a good chance you have a problem. But within that broad definition are several different types of alcoholics, each with their own unique set of circumstances and risks.
There are people who can go days or even weeks without drinking but have dangerous binges when they do drink, while others may drink every day. The behavior and attitude toward alcohol varies widely among those who have problems with it.
Another way to tell if there’s a problem is if the person has ever experienced withdrawal symptoms (like nausea, sweating, shakiness, and anxiety) after heavy drinking or if he or she has had to drink increasingly larger amounts over time to achieve the desired effect.
While these symptoms can sometimes be felt after just a few drinks for someone who doesn’t usually drink much, it could be a sign that he or she has developed a dependence on alcohol.
Also read: How Alcohol Can Affect the Kidneys
What Treatments Exist for Alcohol Addiction and Depression?
There are several types of treatments available for those who are suffering from both alcohol addiction and depression. Below are some of the most common ones.
There are many medications available to treat alcohol addiction and depression. These include antidepressants, anti-anxiety medications, sedatives, mood stabilizers, and antipsychotics. Some people with alcohol addiction also need medication to control their cravings or reduce the amount of alcohol they drink each day.
Psychotherapy involves talking about your feelings and emotions with a trained therapist who can help you understand why you started drinking in the first place. The therapist may also help you develop strategies for coping with stress so that you do not turn back to alcohol when things get tough in your life.
Group therapy takes place in a group setting where people share their experiences and support each other through difficult times. This is often helpful because it allows people to see that they are not alone in their struggles with alcohol addiction or depression.
Alcohol addiction is rampant in society today. People are unaware of their addictions and do not realize how drinking negatively impacts their overall well-being. Alcohol addiction is often masked as coping with emotional symptoms through alcohol as a way to self-medicate.
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