July 13, 2024

Depression and Alcoholism: How They Are Related

Depression is constantly a subject in the news, in one way or another. Whether it is in a discussion on how bullying increases depression, or postpartum depression, depression and suicide, or depression in college kids, it is unavoidable to admit that depression is a prevalent thing in our world today. Because it is one of the most common conditions in the nation, there has been a lot of research done to find out more about it.

Other than facts such as: more than half of those depressed are considered to be clinically depressed, two-thirds of those suffering from depression do not seek help, women are more likely to be effected than men, and it is one of the leading causes of death, there is a piece of research that was very interesting.

Scientists do not know whether depression can cause alcoholism, or if alcoholism can cause depression. And it could be both!

Alcohol is a depressant, and while a small amount on rare occasions can help a person relax or deal with a very stressful day, when used frequently and on a regular basis to self medicate, it can create many problems. When used frequently, alcohol can cause many of the same symptoms as depression (because it is actually a depressant), which can then turn in to having depression even when sober. Heavy drinking also puts a strain on relationships, personal and work related, as well as perceptions to health and wellbeing, which also contributes to feeling depressed.

Now, if you are already depressed, alcohol can be highly tempting. It can help relax you, help lessen the severity of the negative feelings you are experiencing, and can help you “escape” life for a little while. The danger is that the more you use alcohol, the more amounts you have to drink to get the same effect as earlier. It causes a dependency, and leads to alcoholism.

Those with both depression and alcoholism have a higher risk of suicide, car accidents, and other harmful activities. People who have both conditions have what is called dual diagnosis, or co-morbidity disorder, which simply means that two diseases exist in the same person. While a lot is known about depression, and a lot is known about alcoholism, not much is known on how these interact with each other in the same person. Thankfully, though, there are dual diagnosis treatment centers that can be a great resource for rehab and recovery from both conditions.

The exact relationship that depression and alcoholism have with one another is unclear, it is only certain that they do have a relationship. It is still a newer area of research; they are discovering new facts about it each day, and remember that if you or a loved one is struggling with these disorders there is help available for you.

Drew Kobb, in addition to studying civil law, loves long distance running and considers himself a health and fitness enthusiast. His interests range all over the medical field, and Drew highlights that range on his blog, Dr. Ouch.

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