Alcohol And Depression: What To Do
It probably won’t hurt to have a glass of wine or beer once in a while for social reasons unless you have a health problem that prevents you from drinking. But if you turn to alcohol to get you through the day, or if it causes trouble in your relationships, at work, in your social life, or with how you think and feel, you have a more serious problem.
Alcohol abuse and depression are both serious problems that you shouldn’t ignore. If you think you have a problem with either, talk to your doctor or psychologist. There are lots of choices when it comes to medication that treats depression, and there are drugs that lower alcohol cravings and counter the desire to drink heavily. Your doctor will probably treat both conditions together. You can also get help from Alcoholics Anonymous or an alcohol treatment center in your area.
Genetics Alcoholism And Depression
Both alcohol and mood disorders are found to run in families. Research has shown genetics significantly influence the likelihood of developing alcoholism. Genes are thought to contribute to about half of a persons risk of developing alcoholism. The other half of that risk can be contributed to the environment, social factors, and the presence of other disorders which can push an individual towards using alcoholsuch as pain disorders and mood disorders.
About half of all people suffering from alcoholism will struggle with the depressive disorder as a psychological effect of alcohol abuse, and the reverse is true as well. It is advised that those with family histories of depression and alcoholism take great care in limiting their alcohol intake and being cognizant of their risks.
What Are The Symptoms Of Alcohol
Symptoms of depression may include:
- Feeling worthless
- Loss of interest in hobbies and activities
- Lack of energy to complete daily tasks
- Challenges concentrating
Symptoms of alcohol use disorder may include:
- Drinking too much alcohol in any one episode
- Drinking frequently
- Sneaking alcohol so others will not notice it
- Continuing to drink alcohol despite adverse consequences, both to physical health and personal relationships
- Avoiding activities to drink alcohol
- Continued drinking despite symptoms of depression
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How Alcohol Makes Your Depression Symptoms Worse
Unsure of the affects alcohol has on you? Maybe youre downing a few beers after a stressful week at work or after a heart-wrenching break up. You think a few drinks will relax you and make you feel good.
But if youre suffering from depression, think again before reaching for a drink. Even a small amount of alcohol can have negative effects.
Alcohol has a sedative effect on your brain. While a few beers or glasses of wine can seem to relieve stress and make you feel more relaxed and calm, they can actually put you at an increased risk of depression. Alcohol is a depressant that can cause your problems to seem worse than they actually are and can make you feel even more depressed than before you had a drink.
- Fatigue and decreased energy
- Overeating or appetite loss
- Persistent aches or pains, headaches, cramps, or digestive problems
In addition, if you are taking antidepressants, alcohol can have a negative interaction with the drugs and further exacerbate your depression symptoms.
How Is Alcohol A Depressant
Though alcohol is not a prescription drug, we classify it as a depressant. As such, it slows you down. Your breathing slows. Your heart rate slows. And you do not react as quickly as you normally would. Therefore, it is dangerous to operate machinery or drive a car when drinking. Additionally, alcohol may also make you feel sleepy. It impairs your judgment and may leave you feeling confused and unable to focus. Consequently, if you are pulled over for drinking and driving, penalties may be severe.
When you drink too much alcohol, you may suffer slurred speech, low blood pressure, headache, problems with motor coordination, and blurred vision. In addition, drinking too much consistently and in the long term may cause you to suffer blackouts. Our alcohol addiction treatment centers in TX can help you overcome your addiction and help you relax in healthy ways.
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Is Mixing Alcohol With Antidepressants A Sign Of Alcoholism
In some cases, mixing these two substances can be a sign of a deeper problem. People with untreated depression are at an increased risk of drug abuse or alcohol abuse and addiction. An untreated alcohol abuse disorder can lead someone to mix their medications to get high or escape from emotional pain. If someone is on medication and drinks despite the dangers, they need help for alcohol abuse disorder. Any time someone uses a prescription medicine for something other than what it is intended for, it is considered substance abuse and is a cause for concern.
People who are on antidepressants and are struggling with alcohol use disorder are at risk of stopping their medications so they can drink more. Sudden withdrawal from antidepressants can cause serious physical side effects, and in the worst of cases, it can cause seizures. Abrupt cessation can also trigger a worsening of depression symptoms. People with depression who abuse alcohol are at high risk of suicide and self-harm.
Take Our Am I An Alcoholic Self
Take our free, 5-minute Am I an Alcoholic? self-assessment below if you think you or someone you love might be struggling with an alcohol use disorder . The evaluation consists of 11 yes or no questions that are intended to be used as an informational tool to assess the severity and probability of an AUD. The test is free, confidential, and no personal information is needed to receive the result.
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Can A Person Overdose On Cns Depressants
Yes, a person can overdose on CNS depressants. An overdose occurs when the person uses enough of a drug to produce life-threatening symptoms or death .
When people overdose on a CNS depressant, their breathing often slows or stops. This can decrease the amount of oxygen that reaches the brain, a condition called hypoxia. Hypoxia can have short- and long-term mental effects and effects on the nervous system, including coma and permanent brain damage.
What Makes Alcohol A Depressant
Scientists have a decent handle on why alcohol acts as a stimulant: when you begin drinking and your blood alcohol level rises, drinking causes a release of the happy chemical dopamine in the brain.
Its a little less clear why a sometimes crushing low replaces that initial high as your blood alcohol level decreases.
One 2020 study found that a compound in hops might interact with GABA receptors in the brain yep, that GABA.
The authors suggest that that this potentially increases the possibility that all alcohol works in a similar way. But the jurys still out, and research is still pretty unclear on how it works.
In addition to making you calm and sleepy, depressants can lead to:
- slurred speech
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What Are Prescription Cns Depressants
Central Nervous System depressants are medicines that include sedatives, tranquilizers, and hypnotics. These drugs can slow brain activity, making them useful for treating anxiety, panic, acute stress reactions, and sleep disorders.
CNS depressants cause drowsiness sedatives are often prescribed to treat sleep disorders like insomnia and hypnotics can induce sleep, whereas tranquilizers are prescribed to treat anxiety or to relieve muscle spasms.
Some examples of CNS depressants grouped by their respective drug class are:
Emotional Behavior After Alcohol Exposure
Alcohol drinking was established in naïve tgASM and WT mice using a two-bottle free-choice drinking paradigm as described above but with bottle measurements every second day . After 12 days of drinking 16 vol% alcohol, the animals were tested with a battery of behavioral tests including open field, elevated plus maze, novelty suppressed feeding, and the forced swim test, as described previously . They continued drinking alcohol in their home cages throughout the testing.
Forced alcohol exposure
Naïve tgASM or hetKO ASM and respective WT mice received an injection with alcohol or saline 30 min before each behavioral test . Behavioral tests were then performed as described above . The mice were tested in a pseudorandom order and were moved to the behavioral suite adjacent to the housing room 1 h before testing. The mice were returned to their home cages at the end of each test and were allowed at least 2 days to recover before further testing . After the behavioral testing commenced the animals were sacrificed, after which blood was collected and brain tissue was harvested for an analysis of ASM activity.
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More About Prescription Depressants
Prescription depressants are used in the treatment of several conditions, including:
- Obsessive-compulsive disorder
Alcohol, too, is a depressant. For this reason, never drink alcohol when taking other drugs, especially depressants. When taken together, the effects of each are amplified. Accordingly, this makes it easy to overdose.
Do Depressants Make You Feel Depressed
Mostly due to the name, many people believe depressants cause people to feel depressed. While depressants depress the central nervous system, they do not make a person become sad while under the influence.
Depressants can initially make a person feel quite pleasant alcohol relaxes its users and puts them at ease. However, depressants are rarely used in limited form. When alcohol is misused, the consequences add up and can become emotionally depressing and even life-threatening. Alcohol is extremely addictive, and when abused long-term, the drug can eventually lead to symptoms of depression.
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Why Seek Our Help
Alcohol dependence is a grave and potentially life-threatening disease that requires long-term treatment and support. While there is no cures an alcohol use disorder, it can be effectively treated. Those who seek help and enter recovery can regain their lives and ultimately experience long-term sobriety and well-being.
Our center offers a secure, structured environment and professional medical personnel who are trained to identify and address the individual needs of each patient using an in-depth, customized approach to alcohol and addiction treatment.
Why Do I Pee So Much Even When I Dont Drink Anything
A few other conditions make you need to pee more often, such as an overactive bladder, an enlarged prostate, and urinary tract infections. They can make you feel like you have to go all the time, even if there isnt much in your bladder. But polyuria makes you have to go more often because your body makes more urine.
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Treatment Options For Alcohol Use Disorder
Most people with an alcohol or drug addiction can benefit from treatment. Medical treatments and therapies include medicines and behavioral sessions. For many patients, using both in a professional treatment facility provides the best results.12
People receiving treatment for alcohol use disorder may also find it beneficial to meet at support groups like Alcoholics Anonymous . If you have an alcohol use disorder and a mental health problem, it is essential to seek help for both conditions.
Some patients may require intensive treatment for AUD. They may visit a rehab center for residential treatment.
Treatment at a rehab center is highly structured. It typically includes several different types of behavioral therapies. It may also include medication for detox, otherwise known as alcohol withdrawal.
Do Depressants Have Links With Depression
Despite their name, depressant drugs dont necessarily make you depressed. But some can trigger depression as a side effect.
Benzodiazepines, for example, can alter mood and trigger depression, especially if you take them for an extended period of time. The risk of depression is greater for older people and those with a history of depression.
Drinking booze is about the worst thing you can do to solve any problem, but is particularly bad for depression. Alcohol use and depression are commonly and undeniably intertwined, says Dr. Paul R. Linde, a psychiatric consultant with Ria Health, an online addiction treatment program.
Many people drink alcohol to self-medicate underlying depression. Since alcohol is a mood depressant, this only deepens that depression. Others didnt suffer from depression until they began to drink heavily.
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California Dual Diagnosis Rehab
Resurgence California is equipped to meet the needs of those who are living with both depression and an alcohol addiction.
We are a dual diagnosis rehab center located in Orange County, and we offer detox, as well as inpatient and outpatient services.
Patients who stay with us for inpatient rehab receive their treatment in a homelike setting, where they have access to beautiful California beaches, outdoor amenities, and local shopping centers.
We provide each patient who comes through our doors with an individualized treatment plan, and we offer various counseling modalities, including cognitive-behavioral therapy.
During your stay at Resurgence, you will participate in educational workshops, group and individual counseling, therapeutic outings, and relaxation activities like yoga and meditation.
If you have been asking yourself is alcohol an antidepressant, you have probably learned that the answer is no, and today is the day to reach out for help, so you can live a life that is free from alcohol abuse and depression.
You might be concerned about covering the costs of treatment, but at Resurgence, we accept most major insurances, as well as private payments.
Contact us today to complete our free insurance verification program to learn what services your insurance plan covers and how much you can expect to pay for treatment.
Drinking And Mood Disorder
Since alcohol is a depressant, how does it affect depression, anxiety, or mood disorders?
Studies have shown that, since alcohol effects the part of the brain that regulate emotions, it can put people at higher risk for depression. This higher risk comes with extended use, as recovery is more difficult from long periods of time of drinking. This high risk would likely not occur from one night.
People may question about a possible connection between mood disorders and alcohol abuse, as both can affect the brain. A 2015 study review found that people with alcohol dependence also have four times the risk for depression, six times the risk for bipolar disorder, and four times the risk for generalized anxiety disorder.
Doctors also warn that it can be very dangerous to combine alcohol with anti-depressants, as alcohol can worsen symptoms. Be sure to speak with a doctor before drinking if you take any medications.
As with any substance, it is important to consume alcohol safely. Moderation is key to safe consumption. If you or a loved one have any questions or concerns about alcohol or depression, speak with a doctor or specialist. Seeking help or support from experts can be a great, life-changing choice.
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How Depressants Affect The Mind And Body
Its a common misconception that alcohol is a stimulant because it produces many stimulating effects like increased heart rate, alertness, and aggression.
For some, alcohol can increase confidence and self-esteem. It can also decrease feelings of anxiety and make some people chatty or sociable, even energized. It can also feel rewarding to drink, as alcohol releases dopamine in the brain, encouraging you to keep drinking. These feel good effects, however, are short-lived.
Depressants are commonly known as downers, as they typically reduce stimulation. In addition to alcohol , there are barbiturates, benzodiazepines, and sedative-hypnotic drugs, among other depressants. Some of the most common depressants include:
These drugs are often used to treat anxiety, minimize pain, relieve muscle spasms, sleep disorders, and address other mental health issues.
Some are safer than others, but all produce lower levels of awareness in the brain and cause the activity in the CNS to slow down.
As one of the most widely used and socially accepted drugs in the world, alcohol is easily abused. A common psychoactive drug, alcohol, alters your consciousness, thoughts, and mood. It can be tempting to drink for the mood-boosting side effects, but this can lead to alcohol abuse or dependence on alcohol.
What Are The Dangers Of Alcohol And Other Depressants
While intoxicated, alcohol can lead to a number of damaging consequences. It causes people to lose their inhibitions, which can result in greater risk-taking and poor decision-making that a person would never make sober.
While intoxicated, people are also vulnerable to unintentional accidents and injuries.
Lack of physical and mental coordination due to alcohol intoxication can cause bodily harm to the person drinking and also people nearby.
Other implications of alcohol and other depressants are overdose and death. Alcohol overdose causes alcohol poisoning, and the results can be deadly. Because alcohol impairs ones emotions and awareness, people under the influence are known to get into fights and arguments. They may say things they do not mean, and will regret them the next day. Alcohol abuse can destroy families, marriages, friendships, and careers.
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Does Depression Drive People To Drink
Not every person with depressive disorder drinks at all, much less is an alcoholic. However, individuals suffering from depression who are not in active treatment are more likely than the general population to be alcoholics. This tells us two things. One, depression and alcohol abuse are connected. Two, by treating the depressive disorder, it is easier for the individual to avoid falling into the trap of alcoholism.
To understand how alcoholism and depression play off of each other, one must understand what the mood disorder is. Perhaps the best way to understand this disorder is to look at its symptoms.
Symptoms Of Major Clinical Depression
- Suicidal thoughts or attempts
Reading through these symptoms, it is clear this mood disorder is not easy to live with, which is why so many people seek treatment. However, many people with the depressive disorder are unwilling or unable to access medical treatment for their depression, so they instead feel pressured to self-medicate.
This does not inherently mean turning to alcohol. There are numerous ways people self-medicate, including taking drugs, gorging on food, and even shopping sprees. But for many, alcohol holds more appeal than other ways of trying to escape their disorder, which is even more worrisome when speaking about underage drinking.
Why is this? It can be contributed to many reasons. Alcohol is more accessible than drugs and carries less of a stigma. Compared to more benign forms of self-medication, drinkingfrom the users perspective in the momentbetter masks the symptoms of their mood disorder. They might choose it to relax so they can stop feeling anxious, fall asleep, or quiet their feelings. Because alcohol does make us feel more relaxed after a drink or two, the logic used to justify self-medicating with it seems solid to those trying to escape depression. Pregnancy and alcohol also have a worrisome connection as women with postpartum depression tend to abuse alcohol as well.
So, does depressive disorder drive people to drink? Yes. But this does not mean alcoholism cannot lead to depression, especially alcohol and depression the next day.
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