Depression is a severe mental health condition that affects millions of people worldwide. Alcohol, on the other hand, is a commonly consumed substance often associated with socialization and relaxation. However, the question remains – can alcohol cause depression? 

Through care at Atlanta Recovery Place, we can help individuals recover from alcoholism and alcoholism-related depression. Clients who choose our facility receive evidence-based, state-of-the-art care from our dedicated and compassionate staff.

ARP is a Georgia drug and alcohol rehab center that can help you overcome addiction and substance abuse. Learn more about how alcohol causes depression by speaking with an admissions coordinator at Atlanta Recovery Place today.

Understanding Depression and Alcoholism

Depression is a mental health disorder that affects a person’s mood, thoughts, and behavior. It can lead to persistent sadness, loss of interest in activities, and difficulty carrying out daily tasks. Alcoholism, on the other hand, is a chronic disease characterized by an inability to control one’s drinking habits. Alcoholism can lead to physical and mental health problems, including depression.

A person who struggles with depression may turn to alcohol as a means of self-medication, as alcohol can temporarily alleviate negative feelings. However, the short-lived relief can lead to a cycle of alcohol dependence to cope with depression. This cycle of highs while drinking and depression following can lead to a worsening of symptoms and a higher risk of developing alcoholism.

How Alcohol Affects the Brain

Alcohol affects the brain by altering neurotransmitter levels responsible for regulating mood, behavior, and emotions. Alcohol increases the release of dopamine, a neurotransmitter associated with pleasure and reward, which can lead to a temporary feeling of euphoria. However, as the effects of alcohol wear off, dopamine levels decrease, leading to feelings of depression and anxiety.

Depression is characterized by increased cortisol in the brain, blocking the creation of neurons and their transmission of them around the brain. While a person drinks, the brain’s dopamine increase mimics normal functioning. However, as the alcohol wears off, it causes a crash, increasing the feeling of depression. Individuals who already struggle with depression and the creation of neurons will feel an even worse experience, encouraging more drinking and may even cause suicidal thoughts. 

What is the Link Between Alcohol and Depression?

Research has shown that there is a strong link between alcohol and depression. According to the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, people who struggle with alcoholism are almost twice as likely to experience depression as those who do not. One study found that people who drank heavily were more likely to experience major depressive episodes than those who did not. The study also found that people who drank heavily were more likely to experience depression at a younger age than those who did not.

Furthermore, a study published in the Journal of Affective Disorders found that people who drank heavily were more likely to experience suicidal ideation and attempts than those who did not.

Alcohol also has a link to PTSD, anxiety, and other mental health disorders that are related to depression. Individuals who have an Alcohol Use Disorder are twice as likely to have a mental health disorder as those who do not, and over 70% of individuals with depression have a substance use disorder of some kind as well.

Does Alcohol Cause Depression or Worsen It?

While alcohol can temporarily alleviate negative feelings, it can also worsen depression. Heavy drinking can lead to changes in brain chemistry that can cause or exacerbate depression. 

Additionally, alcohol can interfere with medications used to treat depression, making them less effective. Alcohol can also lead to negative consequences, such as relationship problems, financial difficulties, and legal issues, which can contribute to feelings of depression.

Alcohol Withdrawal and Depression

When a person who struggles with alcoholism stops drinking, they may experience withdrawal symptoms, including depression. Alcohol withdrawal can lead to changes in brain chemistry that worsen or cause depressive episodes. 

It is essential to seek professional help when quitting alcohol to manage withdrawal symptoms and prevent complications. Alcohol withdrawal can create severe mental, physical, and emotional turmoil. A medical professional can monitor a client’s safety and health throughout the process.

Seeking Professional Help for Depression and Alcoholism

If you are struggling with depression and alcoholism, it is essential to seek professional help. A mental health professional can thoroughly evaluate and develop a treatment plan tailored to your needs.

It is also important to seek support from loved ones, friends, and support groups. Recovery from depression and alcoholism is possible with the proper treatment and support.

ARP offers specialty alcohol rehab programs in Georgia. Through Atlanta Recovery Place’s evidence-based therapy and compassionate care, clients can successfully recover from alcohol and depression. By learning how to manage their symptoms and cravings, our clients can work through personalized treatment programs that cater to their specific substance use disorder needs and comorbid mental health concerns. To learn more about the care for alcohol-related depression, contact our Georgia addiction recovery center today.

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