Alcohol and Depression; Link Between Alcoholism and Being Depressed
Alcohol and depression is a lethal combination, mainly because one can feed the other and the outcomes are generally highly undesirable. People who are trying to escape from harsh realities, cannot come to terms with the challenges of life and are on the brink of depression, most often get drawn to alcohol because it alters their stressed or depressed state of mind.
When they are on the high of alcohol, they temporarily forget about the crisis and tension of what it bothering them. Soon, they get addicted to these temporary fixes and end up becoming heavy drinkers.
Heavy drinking and addiction to alcohol lands people in serious trouble because they cannot continue to function normally with this habit. This is when all problems multiply and real issues will need to be addressed.
Alcoholics will suffer from serious psychological and physiological withdrawal symptoms when diagnosed and treated for the problem. And, in persons suffering from depression, the symptoms and severity of depression will only increase and further worsen the situation.
Research studies indicate one possible link between alcohol and depression - that alcohol has a negative effect on serotonin, which is one of the main neurotransmitters present in the brain. If there is a drop in serotonin levels, depression can result. Therefore, regarding the link between alcohol and depression, it is safe to conclude that while alcohol does not directly cause depression, it certainly acts as one of the causes that can potentially trigger depression in borderline cases and in people who are at a risk.
Dangers of Using Alcohol and Depression Medications Together
There is another major reason for concern with regard to persons who are both suffering from depression and also heavy drinkers; when their irrational mind takes over, they could attempt to take antidepressant medications together with alcohol. This can be fatal because certain antidepressants have a tranquilizing or sedative effect and, when combined with alcohol, persons who ingest them can end up getting highly tranquilized and might stop breathing.
Another danger that these people face is this: antidepressants are processed by the liver, and alcohol generally damages the liver. Therefore, these antidepressants might not be well broken down by the liver. If that is the case, the body will contain high levels of antidepressants, which can then cause some serious side effects.
Further Discussion on the Link Between Alcohol and Depression
In addition to the above, alcohol contains certain chemicals that alter the state of mind, change sleep patterns, decrease appetite, and in general create moderate to severe upheavals in the human body and mind. After the initial high of alcohol passes and one has to face life with its challenges, the situation can come back as a rude shock. Those who are not equipped to deal with various problems of the situation can then ultimately slip into depression.
Therefore, it is extremely important for people who are going through a crisis to learn to cope with the problem on hand, rather than to find easy escape routes, because they can only worsen the problem further. Friends and family should exercise extra caution with regard to people having one of the two problems cultivating or continuing the other. Adequate counseling, therapy, and medication can help people manage depression extremely well, but they cannot at any point during the treatment afford to go beyond a drink or two.
Similarly, teens should always be cautioned about getting into the habit of drinking, mainly because what might have started off as a recreational or social drink can turn into an addiction even before one realizes it. From there on, the situation could actually spiral completely out of control. Cases of drunken driving, accidents, deaths, etc, result from drinking problems in teens and adults, and all these traumatic experiences contribute to depression and make problems worse for oneself; this is yet another way in which alcohol and depression may be linked.
People who abuse alcohol on a sustained and long-term basis also risk suffering from psychosis, where they experience auditory and visual hallucinations, and dementia, which manifests in the form of loss of memory, inability to focus for too long, etc.
Statistics also reveal that people who are depressed and abuse alcohol are at a higher risk of contemplating suicide, as compared to depressed people who do not abuse alcohol - this is one major danger of the negative effects of alcohol and depression combined!
Treatments for alcohol problems and depression do help, especially if you can regularly see someone you can trust - your own doctor, a counselor, a specialist alcohol worker, or a specialist psychiatrist. Changing your habits and way of life is always a challenge and can take some time, while defeating depression and alcoholism may also take a concerted effort, but it is one well worth making.
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