Alcohol is a sedative and a depressant that affects the central nervous system. Drinking alcohol can have serious consequences if you’re being treated for anxiety. Having a drink might seem like a good way to ease anxiety, but you may be doing more harm than good.
People can also experience depression without suffering from alcoholism. Experts caution anyone struggling with depression or another mental health condition to avoid using alcohol. Being a human is hard and none of us come into this world with all the tools we need to navigate the day-to-day realities of life. It takes a lot of courage to be honest with yourself about your feelings and the ways you’ve been managing those feelings. Substance use and alcohol overuse has had a lot of social stigma attached to it as well.
Is Addiction Hereditary?
People who come to have an alcohol use disorder are known to experience challenges in their home and work life. These problems include strained relationships, reduced productivity, and depleted energy. These symptoms overlap with the consequences of depression, which can take the form of continuous fatigue, feelings of worthlessness, overall irritability, and a lack of motivation. Other studies state that does alcohol make depression worse at least 30-40% of alcoholics also experience a depressive disorder. This rate is higher than the rough estimate of all adults in the United States who will experience a major episode of depression at some point in their life, which is 20-25%. The statistics do show that depression is more prevalent in individuals who abuse alcohol and that people who are depressed are more likely to develop alcoholism.
If you already feel a little low, giving yourself a hard time for overdoing the alcohol probably won’t improve matters. Increased anger might lead you to pick a fight with a loved one, for example, while extreme sadness or self-loathing could lead to intense depression symptoms. Maybe you tossed and turned, had bizarre dreams, or woke up with your heart racing. Drinking activates the reward system in your brain and triggers dopamine release, so alcohol often seems to have a stimulating effect — at first. Depression can also be directly caused by alcohol in the case of a substance-induced disorder. Alcoholics anonymous (AA) and alcohol treatment centers offer classes and support group meetings.
Tips for Overcoming Driving Fears
Bipolar disorder and alcohol use disorder or other types of substance abuse can be a dangerous combination. Having both conditions increases the risk of mood swings, depression, violence and suicide. People with depression who drink alcohol often start to feel better within the first few weeks of stopping drinking. If you try this and feel better, it’s likely the alcohol was causing your depression. If your symptoms of depression continue, speak to your GP for help.
You don’t have to battle the depression alone and relying on alcohol to make you feel better will only cause further pain. Reach out to a mental health professional to talk about treatment and strategies for dealing with depression. No matter your drink of choice, alcohol can easily be abused and often is, especially when it’s used to self-medicate.