For some people, alcohol is a source of pleasure and relaxation. But for others, it can be a nightmare and can have devastating consequences. Alcoholism is a major public health concern that affects millions of people around the world.
But what causes Alcoholism? Is it depression and other mental health disorders? Alcoholism is often associated with depression, so what role does depression play in alcoholism? In this post, we’ll take a look at the relationship between alcoholism and depression and explore what steps can be taken to address both of these issues.
What Exactly Is Depression?
Depression is more than just feeling down or going through a tough time. It’s a serious mental health condition that affects your mood, thoughts, and physical health. Depression can make it hard to function at work or home and can interfere with your relationships, sleep, appetite, and energy levels. Some people with depression may even have thoughts of suicide.
A person generally must be feeling symptoms of depression for more than two weeks straight to be considered clinically depressed. It’s not just a passing feeling.
There are different types of depression, and it can range from mild to severe. Major depressive disorder, also called major depression or clinical depression, is the most common type of depression. It involves a combination of symptoms that last for at least two weeks and make it difficult for you to function in your daily life.
Other types of depression include:
- Persistent depressive disorder (also called dysthymia): This is a less severe form of major depression that usually lasts for two years or longer.
- Psychotic depression: This type of depression occurs when a person has major depression along with some form of psychosis, such as having delusions or hallucinations.
- Postpartum depression: This form of clinical depression occurs in women after they give birth.
- Seasonal affective disorder (SAD): This type of depression is related to changes in seasons and typically begins and ends around the same time each year.
- Bipolar disorder: Bipolar disorder used to be called manic-depressive illness or manic-depression. It was recently renamed, but is characterized by bouts of depression and mania.
What Causes Depression?
Depression is a complex mental illness that can have a wide variety of causes. While there is no single cause of depression, there are several risk factors that can contribute to its development. These include genetics, brain chemistry, stressful life events, and medical conditions.
Depression often begins in childhood or adolescence, but it can also develop in adults. It is more common in women than men and usually first appears during times of stress or major life changes. People with a family history of depression are also at greater risk for developing the condition.
Brain chemistry plays a role in depression, as well. Low levels of certain neurotransmitters have been linked to the development of depressive symptoms. Imbalances in hormones can also contribute to the development of depression.
Stressful life events are often a trigger for depressive episodes. These can include the death of a loved one, divorce, job loss, or any other major life change. However, it is important to note that not everyone who experiences these events will go on to develop depression.
Finally, certain medical conditions can increase the risk for developing depression. These include thyroid problems, certain types of cancer, chronic pain disorders, and sleep disorders— even alcoholism and other addictions can be contributing factors.
Does Depression Cause Alcoholism?
There is no one answer to this question. While there is no easy answer to the question of whether depression causes alcoholism, there is evidence that the two conditions share certain risk factors, such as genetic vulnerability and exposure to stressful life events.
While depression may be a single factor in causing alcoholism, there are many other potential causes. Alcoholism is a complex disease with multiple factors that contribute to its development. Some of these factors may include genetic predisposition, environment, mental health, and stress. Depression can be only one of these causes.
It is important to remember that no one factor causes alcoholism; rather, it is a combination of factors that can lead to the disease. Not everyone who is an alcoholic is depressed. And in turn, not everyone who is depressed will become an alcoholic or other addict.
There are a whole web of factors, and depression is just one of those factors.
How To Treat Depression And Alcoholism
Depression is a common and serious medical illness that negatively affects how you feel, the way you think, and how you act. Fortunately, it is also treatable. Alcoholism is a chronic, progressive disease characterized by compulsive alcohol use, loss of control over drinking, and negative consequences. This too, is treatable.
Treatment for both conditions typically includes medication, therapy, and support from family and friends. Importantly, when one has co-diseases like alcoholism and depression, or addiction and any other mental illness, these factors must be treated at the same time.
This is called a dual diagnosis. Without treating one factor or another, you likely won’t be able to be fully healthy and escape either disease. Because alcoholism is a factor in depression, and depression is a factor in alcoholism, they both must be treated at the same time for full recovery.
Again, this treatment usually consists of therapy and medication, as well as support and new techniques of living healthy.
Get Treatment For Alcoholism And Depression Today
In conclusion, depression can be a contributing factor to alcoholism in some cases and vice versa. However, it is not the only cause and there are numerous other factors that need to be taken into account when looking at the complex relationship between alcohol use and depression.
It is important to understand that both of these conditions can have serious consequences and should always be treated with professional help from qualified mental health professionals such as psychiatrists or psychologists, like the ones we’re associated with at Transformations Care. If you would like to know more about treatment options, give us a call at (424) 339-0965.