04 MAR 2022

The Link Between Depression And Alcoholism

Depression and Alcoholism Connection

Trying to separate depression from alcoholism is like trying to figure out which came first, the chicken or the egg? Alcoholism and depression are not the same thing, but they often exists together and there is a lot of overlap in symptoms and effects of the two, causing the lines to blur.

Depression puts people at a higher risk for developing alcoholism and alcoholics are more vulnerable to depression. Nearly 33 percent of depressed people also have an issue with alcohol. Research has revealed that although the two come hand in hand, depression typically comes first.

It is known that both alcoholism and depression can be determined at least in part by genetics, and doctors believe that there could be a gene for the combination to be expressed together. However, social environment, especially the one you have in your childhood, is also a major factor. For example, children that suffer physical or sexual abuse are much more likely to grow up to have depression and be alcoholics.

Alcohol, being a depressant, actually makes the depression worse. Stopping drinking is harder on the depressed because the nervous system is dulled and there is an additional hopelessness in abstinence without drinking to cushion the depression.

It is really all about timing. The sooner people get help, the easier it will be in the long run. People with depression and alcoholism benefit greatly from seeking out treatments that combine medications, therapy, and social support. This has always been the case with any type of alcoholic, but the focus used to be placed on treating the alcoholism before the depression.

However, with the help of studies and medical research, doctors are rethinking the way they apply treatment. Now it is believed that the alcoholism must be treated at the same time as the depression in order to be effective.

Doctors find that the most important thing is that people with alcoholism and depression (or just one or the other) believe that they can and will get better. This confidence and faith is enough to support a person through dark times, and it’s true anyway. Most people are able to respond to treatment and have drug treatment and mental health professional greatly change their lives.

To get started down this path, the alcoholic must make the first step to seek out treatment where a trusted professional can help them work through personal issues tied with depression and the addiction.