Depression and addiction are not two separate problems. They are linked and have a significant impact on the lives of those who suffer from both. Alcoholics who are depressed or have a history of depression are less likely to seek treatment for their alcoholism because they believe their depression is the cause of their drinking.
What is alcoholism?
Alcoholism is the most common and widespread addiction according to mental health experts from Transcending the recovery community. It is a disease that affects millions of people around the world, including many Americans. It can be diagnosed by doctors and treated by professional therapists, just like any other physical or mental health problem.
Alcoholism is generally a progressive disease and tends to get worse over time. It is also chronic, meaning it lasts a person’s lifetime; it rarely goes away on its own. Those who suffer from alcoholism will struggle with it for the rest of their lives. However, they can make this fight easier by getting treatment and learning to live with the disease, just like people with diabetes or asthma.
There are several signs that indicate that a person is suffering from alcoholism. These include alcohol fixation and withdrawal symptoms when you go too long without drinking (ie shaking, sweating, nausea). Alcoholics need to drink to function normally. They will often get sick if they don’t have a minimum amount of alcohol in their system at all times.
What is depression?
Depression is not a simple mood. It is a clinical disorder (not just a passing mood) and it can interfere with a person’s ability to function in daily life. Symptoms of depression include:
- Loss of interest in activities
- Feelings of worthlessness or guilt
- Concentration problems
Causes of depression
As with most conditions, no single cause has been identified as causing depression. Instead, many factors contribute to the manifestation of the disorder. These risk factors include biological, psychological and environmental factors: Biologically speaking, depression can be caused by changes in brain function and structure.
The neurotransmitters serotonin and norepinephrine play an important role in emotions and mood. Some scientists believe that an imbalance of these neurotransmitters can lead to symptoms of depression. Other biological factors include hormonal changes, stress, and sleep issues. In addition, certain events experienced during childhood or adulthood can lead to depression.
These experiences are known as psychosocial stressors; examples include the loss of a loved one, financial problems, abuse (physical or sexual), and trauma (such as natural disasters).
What is the link between alcoholism and depression?
The relationship between alcoholism and depression is very complex. For one, alcohol can lead to depression because it is a depressant. On the other hand, people who suffer from severe depression may turn to alcohol as a means of self-medication.
Many depressed people abuse alcohol to try to feel better, but this type of drug abuse doesn’t work long term. When a person drinks alcohol, the drug temporarily blocks certain nerve activity in the brain, which can lead to feelings of euphoria. However, these effects do not last forever, and once they wear off, the individual is left with a worse emotional state than before.
Thereafter, they may drink even more to combat their depressive symptoms. This phenomenon is known as the “self-medication cycle” and is one of the most common links between alcoholism and depression.
How do you know if you have a problem?
The question of whether a person is an alcoholic or not is often answered with a single question: “Are you able to stop drinking when you want to?” If you said no, chances are you have a problem. But within this broad definition are several different types of alcoholics, each with their own unique set of circumstances and risks.
There are people who can go days or even weeks without drinking but have dangerous binges when they drink, while others can drink every day. Behavior and attitude towards alcohol vary considerably among those who have problems with it.
Another way to tell if there is a problem is if the person has ever experienced withdrawal symptoms (such as nausea, sweating, shaking, and anxiety) after heavy drinking or if she had to drink larger and larger amounts over time to achieve the desired effect. .
Although these symptoms can sometimes be felt after just a few drinks for someone who doesn’t usually drink a lot, it could be a sign that they have developed an alcohol addiction.
Also read: How alcohol can affect the kidneys
What treatments exist for alcohol addiction and depression?
There are several types of treatment available for those who suffer from both alcohol addiction and depression. Below are some of the most common.
There are many medications available to treat alcohol addiction and depression. These include antidepressants, anxiolytics, sedatives, mood stabilizers and antipsychotics. Some people with an alcohol addiction also need medication to control their cravings or reduce the amount of alcohol they drink each day.
Psychotherapy involves talking about your feelings and emotions with a trained therapist who can help you understand why you started drinking. The therapist can also help you develop strategies for coping with stress so that you don’t return to alcohol when things get tough in your life.
Group therapy takes place in a group setting where people share their experiences and support each other through difficult times. This is often helpful because it allows people to see that they are not alone in their struggles with alcohol addiction or depression.
Alcohol addiction is rampant in today’s society. People are unaware of their addictions and don’t realize how much of a negative impact drinking alcohol has on their overall well-being. Alcohol addiction is often masked as coping with emotional symptoms through alcohol as a means of self-medication.
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