Through this rise, attention is drawn towards the complex yet significant relationship between both the abuse of alcohol and depression, concentrating even further on their influential characteristics on each other.

Many individuals believe that alcoholism is a physical illness, down to the fact that consumption is a physical action. However, through the ongoing abuse of alcohol, psychological associations and side effects can develop, commonly resembling mental health issues, including depression.

This is highly concerning. Yet, to heighten their relationship further, alcohol is in fact known to aggravate a pre-existing diagnosis of depression, causing a complex dual diagnosis.

If you’re wondering exactly how alcohol makes depression worse, here’s some insight provided by our team at Ocean Recovery.

If you are suffering from a dual diagnosis, or a standalone illness, we urge you to contact our team for depression and alcohol use disorder support, helping you overcome their multifaceted relationship.


What is depression?

Feeling low, feeling stressed and feeling emotionally drained are common for the average person. Yet, overtime, those feelings will naturally surpass. For someone suffering from depression, those feelings will unfortunately remain, and in most cases, will heighten in effect.

Depression is a mental health issue, which targets the usual production of happy chemicals in the brain. For those with suppressed levels of dopamine, greater susceptibility of the likes of depression is present.

However, depression can materialise for many different reasons, commonly induced by negative, stressful or pressure-driven experiences.

There are many signs and symptoms to consider for a depression diagnosis. There are many different causations which can trigger a depressive state. Those who experience depression can be diagnosed for a multitude of reasons, all personal to them.

Many believe that depression should be overlooked as an illness, that self-help tips should be enough. However, depression is a clinical illness which causes weaknesses in the brain, soon influencing quality of life and physical and psychological health.

As depression is an already difficult to treat condition, many individuals will turn to alcohol use as a coping strategy. Yet, by doing so, they are unknowingly making their recovery even harder, posing risk of a dual diagnosis.


How alcohol makes depression worse

As we’ve mentioned above, many individuals experiencing depression or symptoms of, will consume alcohol as a self-help tip. While initially, alcohol may provide respite, over time, alcohol will in fact aggravate mood disorders, such as depression.

On initial consumption, the brain will respond positively to the presence of alcohol. This is commonly why alcohol consumption is associated with the production of happy chemicals and has the branding of a confidence-inducing substance.

However, once consumption does advance, there’s risk that alcohol will impact nerve-chemical changes, which are linked to the regulation of mood.

Here’s where the negative impacts of alcohol show themselves, as there’s a high risk that excessive alcohol consumption will motivate anxieties and lows, reflecting those of a depression diagnosis.

Many individuals with optimal mental health note the change that alcohol induces on their mood. Now imagine this for someone with a pre-existing diagnosis of depression, boosting increased susceptibility to negative changes within their response system.

This is exactly how alcohol makes depression worse, by heightening pre-existing symptoms.


The unhealthy relationship between alcohol and depression

If you’re wondering ‘does alcohol make depression worse?’, unfortunately, by considering the above, it can for some individuals. Of course, it will depend on personal responses.

However, there is a strong correlation between the impacts of alcohol consumption and mental health diagnoses.

In fact, there is an unhealthy relationship between alcohol and depression, where both, as standalone illnesses can aggravate one another if enabled.

For example, someone who is abusing alcohol on an excessive and consistent basis will begin to develop addictive behaviours. Through the development of an addiction, psychological associations will also mature.

Through this maturing stage, many individuals will begin to feel low, they will encounter cognitive changes and imbalances, and they will in turn experience symptoms of mental health issues, such as depression. To tackle those side effects, alcohol consumption will continue to become the norm, which will not only heighten a depressive state, but also an addiction diagnosis.

At the other end of the scale, those with pre-existing symptoms of depression are at greater risk of developing an alcohol addiction, down to increased susceptibility. Alcohol is a depressant, which will be used to change mood and alleviate the symptoms of depression.

Through this coping strategy, many individuals will believe that they are treating their depression. However, here’s exactly how alcohol makes depression worse, along with posing risk for dual diagnosis probabilities.

Through the use of alcohol as a form of self-medication, an addiction can easily manifest as alcohol in this instance is a tool to cope, rather than a negative influence.

Down to this negative relationship, there is a vicious circle which can materialise, making it extremely difficult to overcome a standalone diagnosis or a dual diagnosis.


Depression and alcohol recovery at Ocean Recovery

It’s easy to see, from the vicious circle caused by the relationship of depression and alcohol, the complexity of a dual diagnosis. To overcome a dual diagnosis, professional intervention is a must. This is also the case if you’re either suffering from depression, suffering from alcoholism, or a mixture of both.

Depression and alcohol recovery will be aimed for through rehab, where dual diagnosis treatment will be recommended. Here a range of treatment services will be utilised to alleviate the side effects of both depression and alcohol abuse.

Through a range of detoxification, replacement drugs, talking therapies and exposure therapies, here at Cassiobury Court, there’s a strong possibility of relieving and treating a dual diagnosis.

Unfortunately, many individuals do overlook professional support, believing that both issues can be treated from home. However, both are multifaceted, both are unpredictable, and both can be life-limiting if enabled.

With this in mind, you should work to welcome professional support, along with accepting some health coping strategies for either depression and/or an alcohol use disorder.

If you are suffering with depression, you can begin by reducing your alcohol consumption. This will impact your mood, with long-term positive impacts. Yet, we do recommend that you also accept support for your depression, as ongoing enablement can influence further mood disorders in the future.

Understanding how alcohol makes depression worse is very important, as you could be aggravating your existing mental health issues. Learn how to relieve your psychological battles at Cassiobury Court.

John Gillen - Author - Last updated: March 11, 2021

John is one UK’s leading professionals in the addiction recovery industry. Pioneering new treatment techniques such as NAD+ and ongoing research into new therapy techniques such as systematic laser therapy, John is committed to providing the very best treatment for people throughout the UK and Europe. During his extremely busy schedule, John likes to regularly update our blog section with the latest news and trends in the industry to keep visitors to our site as well informed as possible on everything related to addiction treatment.