Alcohol Abuse Can Lead to Depression
You had a fight with someone at work and in order to get it off of your mind and to numb your troubled emotions, you decided to drink. Unfortunately, this pattern of stressful situations being handled with alcohol could signal that you are depressed. Worse yet, the alcohol intended to whitewash your problems could actually be the source of depression.
Experts appear split about whether depression is the cause or the result of serious alcohol abuse. Others still, suggest that the two conditions have shared risk factors which trigger simultaneous results.
The connection between alcohol abuse and depression is quite clear with close to a third of patients suffering with major depression also having a problem with alcohol. Many studies have shown that individuals who experience serious depression early in life are more likely to end up with alcohol issues later on. This would seem to prove that depression is a root cause of alcoholism. This appears to be doubly the case for women, who, if they have experienced depression, are two times more likely than others to develop a serious drinking problem.
At the same time, other research clearly demonstrates that abuse of alcohol raises a person’s chance of becoming depressed. Because heavy drinking produces a toxic result within the brain, studies have been done which demonstrate how serious alcohol abuse is and that it is directly responsible for bouts of depression.
Similarly¸ alcoholism frequently results in a person having trouble at work, trouble in relationships, legal problems and other troubles which result from poor judgment. All of these problems make it far more likely that the alcohol dependent person will succumb to depression as compared to a person who chooses not to imbibe.
As has been stated, it remains unclear if depression causes alcoholism, if alcoholism produces depression or if the two conditions are triggered by common risk factors – genetic or environmental. Therefore, for the time being, it is best to focus on what is known.
If a person is using alcohol as a means of coping with life’s difficulties, this could indicate that enjoyment of alcohol has morphed into a dependency upon alcohol. It could also deepen any depression the person might currently be experiencing. Alcoholism and depression often occur together and the reciprocal association means that the two tend to exacerbate one another.
Both depression and alcohol abuse are significant health issues which need prompt medical attention. Whether you or someone you know seems depressed or appears to be misusing alcohol, do not hesitate to alert a health professional and invite his/her help. Alcohol is not the remedy for depression. Depression is not an excuse for alcohol abuse. Whatever their cause, both are highly treatable.