Clara Molot   /  

It’s also worth noting a correlation and causation issue here in that substance abuse and diagnosed depression often coexist in many people, which can make it hard to pinpoint where one problem ends and another begins. “Data reveals that 27% of people with major depressive disorder also have a drug addiction,” says Jameca Woody Cooper, PhD, a psychologist and adjunct professor at Webster University in Missouri. In other words, depressants can both lead to feelings of depression while also making matters worse for people already battling clinical depression. More knowledge about optimal treatments for co-occurring AUD and depressive disorders is needed. Although medication and behavioral therapy have both shown promise, response rates have been somewhat modest. Efforts to enhance treatment outcomes would benefit from investigation into the characteristics of people who do not respond to existing treatments.

  • The tell-tale sign of an alcohol use disorder is continuing to drink despite its negative consequences.
  • Research has substantially improved understanding of the etiology, course, and treatment of co-occurring AUD and depressive disorders.
  • It may even be helpful to ask patients to keep a log of their drinking and depressive symptoms to help determine whether there is a temporal association between the two.
  • However, alcohol use has a direct, adverse effect on a person’s sleep quality.
  • If you don’t drink regularly, your system should return to normal after this.

Medical practitioners have discovered that to truly be effective in treating these conditions, they must be treated simultaneously. Treating depression alone does not stop alcohol use from occurring when an alcohol use disorder has developed. Just as treating an alcohol use disorder without treating depression does not typically result in successful outcomes. Since these conditions are often concurrent, there are a variety of different treatment does alcohol make depression worse options that include psychotherapy, medication management, holistic activities, and more advanced approaches that are utilized for individuals struggling with severe symptoms. Finally, the etiology, course, and treatment of both AUD and depression differ substantially by gender. Women have been underrepresented in much of the research on co-occurring AUD and depressive disorders, particularly in the early research on this topic.

Effects on Key Brain Regions and Associated Side Effects

From a neurocognitive standpoint, alcohol significantly impacts many of the neurotransmitters (brain chemicals) that oversee our emotional well-being. It is essential for anyone experiencing either disorder or both, to seek help, as rehabilitation and therapy are both useful tools for achieving sobriety and overcoming depression. Take our short alcohol quiz to learn where you fall on the drinking spectrum and if you might benefit from quitting or cutting back on alcohol. They can encourage you along the way and keep you company if you’re using exercise or other tactics to help you cope.

The research needs more representation of women to increase understanding of the sex differences and to better characterize the mechanisms underlying women’s heightened vulnerability for depressive disorders. These populations experience disparities in access to care for AUD and depressive disorders but are underrepresented in studies of these disorders. The substantial variability in the course of co-occurring AUD and depressive disorders may reflect discrete underlying mechanisms, requiring distinct treatment approaches. For example, AUD that develops after the onset of a depressive disorder and is characterized by coping motives for alcohol use may differ critically from a depressive disorder that develops following chronic alcohol administration.

Alcohol And Depression

A therapist or recovery coach can help you learn new ways of managing cravings and difficult emotions, while joining a group can make you feel less isolated. If you’re physically dependent on alcohol and need to stop drinking completely, stopping suddenly could be harmful. Your GP can give you advice and/or medication to help you do this safely. It might feel difficult, but they will have heard from many other people going through something similar and will want to help you. They can check your physical health and put you in touch with local support, such as local NHS alcohol addiction support services. You can also ask about other support groups or talking therapies to help you.

Such interventions could be readily integrated into depression treatment in a variety of treatment settings. While a night of drinking can’t cause depression, heavy drinking can negatively impact your mood and behavior. Those suffering from alcohol dependence are more likely to suffer from major depressive disorder (MDD). Fortunately, various treatments are available to help overcome depression and alcohol dependence. Depression is the most prevalent co-occuring mental health condition with 63% of people with AUD experiencing major depressive disorder.

Feeling Depressed Versus Major Depressive Disorder

If your loved one is struggling with both depression and alcohol, it can feel overwhelming. To overcome these patterns, a person must be ready to change of their own accord. But if you think they will be receptive, approach the problem with empathy and nonjudgement, and be prepared to offer solutions.

does alcohol make depression worse

And if you happen to go to bed after several hours of drinking, you will not have good night’s sleep. People who blackout often wake up feeling guilty, ashamed, and anxious over their actions. If it happens too frequently, or if your action leads to consequences, blackouts can make you depressed. Read our review of the best online therapy options to find the right fit for you. Alcohol is a sedative and a depressant that affects the central nervous system. Alcohol is known to affect several nerve-chemical systems which are important in regulating mood.

In summary, none of the three types of studies conducted (i.e., family studies, prospective investigations, and studies involving COA’s) proves an absence of a relationship between long-term anxiety or depressive disorders and alcoholism. As briefly discussed earlier in this article, the family studies are far from definitive because of difficulties in the methodologies used. It is also important to remember that some studies indicate a potential relationship between alcoholism and anxiety/ depressive disorders.

Research shows that depressants affect one’s central nervous system by reducing feelings of stimulation or arousal in users while also slowing down or interfering with messages between their brain and body. If you’re at low risk of addiction to alcohol, it may be OK to have an occasional drink, depending on your particular situation, but talk with your doctor. Keep your mind and body healthy by making responsible choices about consuming alcohol. Recovery is possible, and many resources are available to support you on your journey. This approach allows you to focus solely on your recovery without outside distractions.