What Is The Connection Between Alcohol and Depression?

What Is The Connection Between Alcohol and Depression?

The connection between alcohol and depression has been researched and investigated for many years by various health professionals.

Studies have highlighted that drinking alcohol can essentially intensify depression.

Likewise, depression can cause many individuals to consume larger quantities of alcohol to alleviate symptoms associated with the mental health disorder.

To answer the question “what is the connection between alcohol and depression?” we explore depression, the impact alcohol has on the brain, the effect alcohol has on depression and dual diagnosis treatment here.


Understanding Depression

Depression is currently considered to be the most common mental health disorder in the United Kingdom, with up to 10% of the population thought to experience depression at some point in their life.

Although depression can arise from various factors, much research demonstrates that depression often occurs due to a chemical imbalance within the brain.

This chemical imbalance causes individuals to experience various physical and psychological symptoms such as a low mood, reduced energy levels, lack of interest in things once enjoyed and insomnia.

To increase chemical balance within the brain, some find that they are prescribed antidepressants.  However, when depression is not officially diagnosed, others are known to turn to alcohol to temporarily enhance their mood.

Due to its very nature, depression also affects cognitive function.  When cognitive function becomes impaired, the brain’s ability to complete tasks, retain information and process information reduces.


Determining The Impact Alcohol Has On The Brain

When alcohol is consumed, a sense of euphoria often washes over the brain, leaving many feeling somewhat invincible, upbeat and positive for a short period due to an increase in the release of dopamine.

Due to these particular side effects, many individuals consume large quantities of alcohol regularly.  In fact, 24% of men drink more than the recommended 14 units of alcohol a week.  Likewise, women also frequently consume more than 14 units of alcohol each week.

However, as alcohol is consumed, the brain’s function begins to slow down.  This causes many to experience short-term side effects such as confusion, lack of judgement and an inability to concentrate.  Many also experience slurred speech and changes in their mood.

Although these particular symptoms often alleviate as alcohol wears off, consuming more than 14 units of alcohol each week profoundly impacts the brain.  Not only does alcohol cause the brain’s activity to slow down, but over time, alcohol can impair cognitive performance.


The Effect Alcohol Has On Depression

As we can see from the above, alcohol has a significant impact on the overall function of the brain.  In addition to this, alcohol has a long-lasting effect on depression.

Sadly, research conducted by the Royal College of Psychiatrists shows that consuming alcohol can increase the risk of depression.  This essentially means that those who drink alcohol regularly are much more likely to develop depression.

Alcohol can also cause depression to become much more severe.  As a result, over time, many individuals will find that drinking as little as a glass of wine each night no longer reduces the severity of their depression.

Considering this, many consume and become reliant on more significant volumes of alcohol.  Regrettably, this increases the risk of an individual becoming dependent on alcohol.

In addition to the above, drinking alcohol causes the symptoms associated with depression to intensify. It also puts those suffering from depression at greater risk of experiencing intrusive and suicidal thoughts.

Considering this, when an individual abuses alcohol or develops an alcohol addiction and simultaneously suffers from depression, treatment must be sought to mitigate the overall ramifications that both alcohol and depression have.


Co-Occurring Disorders Increase The Need For Dual Diagnosis Treatment

Across the world, approximately 50% of individuals who suffer from depression will turn to alcohol to reduce the symptoms they experience.   

Sadly, as noted above, those that consume alcohol to alleviate depression are at greater risk of developing a co-occurring disorder.

Likewise, individuals who come to experience depression due to consuming large quantities of alcohol also put themselves at risk of encountering a co-occurring disorder.

As the number of people battling co-occurring disorders increases, the demand for dual diagnosis treatment does too.

Typically administered in a rehabilitation facility, dual diagnosis treatment assists individuals in overcoming the psychological aspect of both an alcohol addiction and mental health disorder, such as depression.

Failure to take advantage of dual diagnosis treatment when needed ultimately leads to a number of health implications.


Alcohol and Depression: The Clear Connection

As we can see from the above, there is a clear connection between alcohol and depression.

Both alcohol and depression significantly impair the brain’s function and sees many individuals experiencing unbearable psychological and physical symptoms that have devastating consequences.


Contact Us For Dual Diagnosis Treatment Today

Although alcohol use and depression can have a long-lasting impact, treatment is widely available for those struggling with co-occurring disorders to take advantage of.

If you suffer from depression and have come to rely on alcohol or have developed an alcohol addiction and are concerned that you are struggling with depression, it is in your best interest to secure dual diagnosis treatment.

Here at Cassiobury Court, we often administer dual diagnosis treatment at our residential rehab located in Watford.

Dual diagnosis treatment in our rehab will help you withdraw from alcohol.  Dual diagnosis treatment will also enable you to understand and address the factors that have caused your addiction and depression to arise.

In turn, you will have the ability to work with a recovery and mental health specialist to develop strategies that will help you cope and avoid relapse in the near and far future.

To ensure that you can maintain your recovery upon leaving our rehab, we will provide you with 12-months of free aftercare support.

If you would like to find out more about our dual diagnosis treatment or wish to seek our guidance to determine whether you require treatment, please contact us today by calling 0800 001 4070.

In doing so, we can provide you with an abundance of support and ensure that you can commence dual diagnosis treatment at our rehab.