Alcohol is a substance that many people use to loosen up or take the edge off of certain situations. It’s often looked at by some as a tool that helps people to open up in social settings or forget their inhibitions.
Alcohol can make you feel more friendly, more emotional, or like there’s nothing you can’t do. On the flip side, if you drink every single day, alcohol can negatively impact your life in more ways than one.
One of those ways is depression. People with alcohol addictions have the highest rates of depression. So if alcohol and depression often go hand in hand, what is it about alcohol that actually makes you more depressed?
How Alcohol Can Trigger Depression
Medically speaking, once alcohol begins to take over your mind, it can start causing serious chemical imbalances within the brain, along with several other systemic problems. Alcohol reduces serotonin, dopamine, and epinephrine levels. These chemicals are called neurotransmitters, and each has a very important job to do. Once these levels drop, depression can quickly settle in. For people who are already depressed, adding alcohol on top of it can truly be playing with fire because their neurotransmitters were already in an altered state before adding alcohol.
Alcohol can also disrupt your sleep cycles, making it much more difficult to get adequate rest for the body. Consuming large amounts of alcohol on a regular basis can create a perpetual cycle of hangovers, disrupting the body’s sleep cycle each time. The constant hangovers leave you waking up feeling ill, jittery, nauseated, and dehydrated. Your body is unable to sleep and adequately repair itself due to these hangovers. Your immune system eventually becomes depressed, making it easier to get sick. When your immune system is unable to fight off infections, you can become increasingly ill and the incidence of depression becomes an even higher risk. Alcohol can contribute to a lack of sleep and illness, which both increase the severity of depression.
One of the universal problems that alcohol leads to is waking up the next day feeling guilt, shame, and remorse for the things you have done or said while drinking alcohol. These feelings of regret can naturally lead to serious depression. Many people believe that when their lives have gotten depressing, having a drink or two will make things more tolerable.
Somehow during the night, a couple of drinks ends up leading to several drinks. Before you know it, you have had way too much to drink and you are drunk or out of hand. You do and say things that you would never normally do without alcohol. You go places with people that you would normally never even consider going. Yet, consuming alcohol leads you to become involved in these terrible situations.
Waking up the next day and finally realizing what you have done can be very, very depressing. It can be even worse if you were already having issues and arguments with family, friends, or co-workers. Depression caused you to have a drink last night, but that same depression has only gotten worse today because of the decisions you made while drinking last night. And so goes the cycle of alcohol making depression worse.
Treatment for Alcohol Abuse and Depression
Whether or not you have a problem with alcohol abuse or addiction, you may need to get depression treatment to make a complete recovery from the disorder. If you are struggling with an alcohol addiction in addition to depression, you will need to seek dual diagnosis treatment that can help you to address the symptoms of each disorder and make a recovery from both.