Depression and alcohol do not mix well together. They both have their share of similar symptoms and side affects and when mixed together can make a hazardous if not deadly combination. Thirty-five to forty percent of people with an alcohol problem will also suffer from depression. The majority of these people are heavy drinkers or binge drinkers. People who are not heavy drinkers may show signs of depression but for the most part they do not suffer its symptoms.
Many people use alcohol as a way to self-medicate against their depression. They think that the alcohol will take their mind of their problems when in reality it just makes their condition worse. Alcohol, as we all have been taught, is a depressant which when used impairs a persons judgment and decision making ability. A heavy drinker who also suffers from depression is also much more likely to partake in risky behavior because it gives them a sense of invincibility.
Dealing with severe health problems caused by alcohol is a factor in depression. Alcohol has a serious affect on our physical health and can affect almost every organ and system in the body. The liver is one of the first organs to be seriously affected by heavy alcohol abuse. Cirrhosis of the liver is a serious problem with heavy binge drinkers. If it progresses enough the liver will eventually fail.
Alcohol abuse can also lead to impotence, anemia, heart disease, and stomach ulcers. Research has shown that heavy alcohol abuse damages the brain which can lead to dementia, loss of memory, and the loss of feeing in the extremities. As a persons body slowly breaks down from the alcohol abuse they become more susceptible to feelings of depression and hopelessness.
Using alcohol to self-medicate against the feelings of depression is a downward spiral into even deeper depression and alcoholism. Alcohol does briefly create a sense of euphoria and well being when first consumed. But this is where many people make the mistake of thinking if a little bit makes me feel good then more will make me feel a whole lot better. But as they drink more just the opposite happens and they loose motor coordination, become drowsy, irritable and in many cases violent. That sense of euphoria is gone and with it the ability to think rationally.
It has been shown that alcohols affects on the brain are similar to those of depression. Researchers have found that alcohol abuse can seriously affect person’s serotonin neuro-transmitters, causing them to not function normally or even to cease functioning. Serotonin is known to balance a person’s mood and low levels are a known cause of depression.
Alcohol has been shown to increase the symptoms of depression. It is important that people who suffer from depression do not use alcohol to attempt to escape from their depression. It may appear to help at first but it can be the beginning of a vicious cycle deeper into depression and alcoholism.