Alcohol Depression| Can Alcohol lead to Depression?

Alcohol depression is the low mood you go through after the alcohol abuse. At first alcohol produces sense of pleasure and loss of control that helps in socializing especially at the parties.

As the level of the alcohol increases in your blood it starts to slow down your brain. Later on it produces sadness and depression.

The relationship between alcohol drinking and depression is two- way. Both influence each other. Alcohol worsens depression and depression leads to alcohol drinking problems. Some people are at increased risk of developing depression due to alcohol drinking.

You are also at increased risk of committing suicide. Besides alcohol abuse, chances of other substance abuse are also high. If you abstain from alcohol the depression will improve and you will feel better.

If after 2-3 weeks of abstinence the depressive symptoms are still present you may need treatment. You may consult your doctor to evaluate if you were already having depression and alcohol drinking was a coping measure for your depression.

Are you at risk of developing alcohol depression?

The chances of developing depression are high if you have high daily alcohol consumption and have a family history of alcohol abuse.

Binge Drinking and Alcohol Depression?

People who binge drink or are heavy drinkers are at increased risk of developing depression. Men have a greater tendency than females to be heavy drinkers or binge drinkers. The number of drinks per day that equal to heavy or binge drinking is different for men and women. It is because the ability to eliminate alcohol from the body is different for both men and women.

Men can remove relatively larger amounts of alcohol from their body than women in the same given time. Thus for men more than 2 drinks per day is considered as heavy drinking. For women more than 1 drink per day is considered heavy drinking.

According to the National Institute of Alcohol abuse and alcoholism binge drinking occurs when the blood levels of alcohol reach 0.08% or more. This concentration in the blood can be achieved in men if 5 drinks and in women if 4 drinks are consumed within 2 hours.

What is a standard drink?

In the US 14 grams of pure alcohol is considered as a standard drink. This amount of alcohol can be present in different drinks in different volumes. It is the alcohol percentage in the drink that determines how much pure alcohol is present in the particular drink.

For example 12 ounces of beer contains 5% alcohol and this amounts to roughly 14 grams of pure alcohol in one drink. Similarly wine contains 12 % alcohol and only 5 ounces of wine will make a standard drink. Distilled spirits contain higher percentage of pure alcohol (around 40 %) therefore only 1.5 ounce makes a standard drink.

In some people major depression can lead to alcohol drinking problems. When depressed you  may find alcohol as a way out of your  sorrows but it only worsens your mood.

The low mood due to alcohol is improved after 2-3 weeks of alcohol abstinence.

How would you know that your low mood is due to alcohol depression?

The following points will help you in making the decision that the depressed mood is due to the effects of the alcohol.

1. There is presence of low mood on most days of the week.

2. You have lost pleasure in most or all the life activities

3. The sad mood episodes appeared during or within one month of the alcohol intoxication or withdrawal.

4. The low mood is not due to the already existing major depression. The points that help you to identify that the mood disorder was existing before the alcohol abuse are:

a. The symptoms of the low and depressed mood were present before the alcohol abuse.

b. The symptoms of the depression persist even after one month of abstinence from alcohol intake.

Stress, Alcoholism and Depression – Is there something in common?

Stress can also cause depression and alcohol drinking problems. Stress, depression and alcohol intake are linked. Stress is a known factor for causing depression. Depression can lead to alcohol abuse.

Also binge drinking can be a stress coping mechanism and it again increases the chances of depression. To break this cycle of stress-binge drinking depression or stress-depression-binge drinking you need to focus on stress management and resolve to better stress coping strategies. .  

Are you at risk of having both depression and alcohol abuse?

Depression and alcohol drinking problems are often present at the same time. It is estimated that 30-40% of people having alcohol related problem have major depression as well.

If you are young, single and have low economic status you have increased chances of having both alcohol drinking problem and depression.

If you are having both the problems of alcohol dependence and depression you need to take extra care of yourself and focus more actively on solving these issues.

Individuals who have both depression and alcohol dependence have their first episode of depression , hospitalization and a suicide attempt at a younger age than who have depression only. Also they are more hostile, impulsive and have more depressive episodes.

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