A Critical Connection: Understanding the Link Between Alcohol and Depression
At times, one issue begets another problem.. The ‘domino effect’ is common with those who have a problem with drinking. For example, excessive drinking leads to problems with romantic relationships, work, friends, family, and so on. Often, there is a correlation between drinking and depression. One does not automatically create the other, yet there is a definite relationship that needs to be realized by those struggling with alcohol and/or depression and those who love them.
What Comes First?
There is no definite path to alcohol or depression. But research shows that about one-third of those struggling with alcohol have some form of depression. Usually, depression comes first. Those who feel melancholy usually seek ways to escape, and alcohol and drugs are common and convenient ways to get away from unwanted feelings and reality. Depressed kids are twice as likely to try alcohol. Regardless of which comes first, alcoholism and depression feed into each other. Alcoholism makes depression worse, and depression can drive someone to drink more often.
Alcohol Makes Things Worse
Those who feel depressed have a habit or seeing the worst in scenarios, and while it may provide a temporary escape, alcohol makes things worse. People make bad decisions when inebriated. One can be more promiscuous, reckless with money, or do things that are against the law, such as drink and drive. While a person needs to overcome feelings of depression with positivity, alcohol usually introduce more reasons to feel lousy.
A Real Solution
For many, having a drink at dinner or attending happy hour with a friend brings no negative repercussions, yet if a person is drinking to curb or hide feelings of depression, a real solution is needed. Those who feel depressed may naturally overcome feelings of melancholy; for example, after a loved one passes, a person needs time to accept what has happened and move on. Others grow depressed for reasons unknown to them and psychiatrists may prescribe medicine to help alter the brain’s chemistry. Often, medication is combined with psychological counseling. A counselor can help bring habits or mental routines to light, making a patient realize how to work through emotions and melancholy on their own so medication is no longer needed. In other scenarios, a rehabilitation clinic is needed. Read more information at www.arcproject.org.uk.
Two Is Worse Than One
It’s difficult for a person who is depressed to admit it. Of course, we all feel blue from time to time for a variety of reasons. It could be due to a potential love interest that rejects us or not getting into the college we want. However, those who are ‘clinically’ depressed cannot work through their bouts of melancholy and regularly feel sad and hopeless. What’s worse is as mentioned, staying depressed invites the opportunity to develop other issues like using drugs or alcohol to curb or hide the emotional pain. Having two problems is much worse than one, so if you’re feeling melancholy, and recognize it as a pattern, it’s time to seek professional help.
Alternatively, those who have a problem with alcohol don’t start with such ambitions. Alcoholism starts with having a drink with dinner, and then graduates to having a few drinks every night with dinner as well as a few for lunch too… After some time, a person can’t get through the day without consuming alcohol and escaping reality. Likewise, it’s only a matter of time before the dependency makes a person feel down and regularly depressed; now they have two problems.
Recognize the Signs
There is no exact path as to how a person becomes depressed, yet counselors recognize patterns, and the presence of several symptoms warrant professionals to make a diagnosis. For example, increased appetite, ongoing lethargy, suicidal thoughts, general irritability, feelings of guilt, etc. are tell tale signs. The case is similar with the path to alcoholism.
There is no blood test or brain scan that can label a person an alcoholic. Rather, professionals look for patterns in behavior to label a person as having a problem with alcohol. A few warning signs include an increased tolerance, withdrawal, remorse, and relapse. The body builds a tolerance for alcohol; those who drink a lot need to consume larger amounts to get ‘drunk.’ After some time, the body ‘needs’ alcohol to feel normal. For most, a period of remorse hits and a person will want to stop drinking. This is usually followed by a relapse as the person starts drinking even harder than before.
Vernon Lewis knows only too well the devastating effect alcohol addiction can have on a person, and their family. He has spent many years reading up on the subject, as well as experiencing firsthand the effects. He hopes his informative articles will inform others and help them.