Nearly one third of people with major depression have also had some type of alcohol problem. Typically, depression comes first but that is not always the case. Depression can stem from alcohol being used as a coping mechanism for any type of situation that may trigger a certain feeling of sadness or hopelessness.
When looking at the question, does depression lead people to drink? While there is no conclusion that says people who are depressed are guaranteed to drink, there is an incredibly strong correlation between the two. Even from a young age, children who experience depression are more likely to have problems with alcohol a few years down the road. Teens who have experienced major depression are also twice as likely to start drinking as compared to those who haven’t.
Heavy alcohol consumption alters the brain’s neurotransmitters. Chemicals in the brain such as serotonin and dopamine can and will fluctuate rapidly with alcohol consumption. Serotonin is a chemical that helps to balance a person’s mood, and dopamine controls the brain’s reward system. Having lower or higher levels of these chemicals can trigger symptoms of depression, as well as other health problems.
Alcohol also tends to slow the body down as a whole. Studies have shown that alcohol use increases both the duration and the severity of a depressive episode. While alcohol can cause depression in some circumstances, it mainly has to do with the chemical imbalances of the brain during the consumption of alcohol. The systematic changes within the brain are actually what can cause depression.
Alcohol has been shown to worsen some depression symptoms, as well as the duration of the symptoms. These symptoms can include:
fatigue and decreased energy
feelings of guilt
difficulty concentrating and remembering details
ability to focus
insomnia or excessive sleeping
change in appetite
change in weight
physical aches or pains.
“Self medicating” with alcohol can increase the risk of bodily injury, as well as suicidal behaviors. These are occurring conditions that should be taken into consideration when seeking treatment alternatives. Even the most severe forms of depression and alcoholism can be treated. Of course, the earlier the better, however it is never too late to seek alcohol treatment
A person’s living environment can also influence if a person will experience depression due to alcoholism and vice versa. Children who were abused or raised in low income areas appear to be more likely to develop both depression and alcoholism.
At Go Sober in Denver, we believe that seeking treatment is one of the bravest and strongest things a person can do. Which is why we offer a free consultation to see if our outpatient rehabilitation center is the right fit for you. Contact us today to learn more about our scientific approach to the treatment of alcohol abuse, we are here for you.