The Connection Between Depression and Alcoholism

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Drinking alcohol can be enticing for those experiencing problems in their lives. However, this can lead to major depression and cause a person into a downwards spiral that can be hard to escape from. We’ll be exploring this link between depression and alcoholism in this article!

Linking Alcoholism And Depression

Depression is on the rise everywhere in the world. In America alone, 7% of people are experiencing the crippling effects of depression. Many of which turn to using alcohol to self medicate and forget their problems. This is a decent short term solution but has it’s problems in the long run. According to the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism or NIAAA, constant alcohol abuse can lead to major depressive disorder. 

Why Do Alcoholics Become Depressed?

Alcoholics have a strong chance of developing depression and there are a number of reasons why someone who abuses alcohol can become depressed. The three main causes can either be through the physical effects of alcohol on the mind, their genetic predisposition to alcoholism, depression or both, and the consequences of their actions after drinking.

Alcohol’s Influence on The Mind

Alcohol is considered a depressant that numbs the mind. This makes it easier for a person with alcoholism to be constantly in a negative state of mind. Alcohol also changes a person’s mind physically. It damages your brain and alters your brain’s chemistry to make drinking your primary means of coping. The longer the drinking problem goes on, the harder it is for a person to find an alternative and become addicted to alcohol.

Genetic Influence

Your genes can also cause you to develop a predisposition to either alcoholism, depression or both. As we know, our genes is what makes us, us. Having a drinking problem stem from this can be difficult to deal with, but it is only a predisposition and not a guarantee that you’ll fall into alcoholism or depression.

Actions Under The Influence

Alcohol abusers know the feeling of being drunk out of their mind. Their decision making becomes hazy and it can be hard to concentrate while also making them more irritable. This combination makes alcoholics more prone to accidents and violence. 

These accidents can easily push someone to depression as their actions will have consequences even when under the influence. In many cases they might end up getting arrested or doing actions they otherwise wouldn’t attempt. Some even  have near death experiences that can scar them for life. 

Why Do The Depressed Become Alcoholics?

The depressed can also become alcoholics down the line. The NIAAA report states that 33% of people with depression can easily develop a drinking problem. There are mainly two ways depression can turn someone into an alcoholic. These are choosing alcoholism as their coping mechanism and the alcohol making their antidepressants far less effective.

They Self Medicate

Many of those experiencing depression use various coping mechanisms to deal with their depression. A large number of these people choose drinking as their coping mechanism of choice. This can cause an endless spiral downward as alcohol is itself a depressant. This causes a person to continually drink to treat the depression that’s caused by their drinking. 

Antidepressants Become Less Effective

Antidepressants is what many people use to fight off the effects of depression. Antidepressants are specifically designed to target the mind of someone who is just depressed. With alcohol changing the chemical balance of the mind, antidepressants will have trouble correcting the state of mind of the person. 

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