EP 34: Reader Question – Depression and Alcohol?

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What is the relationship between depression and alcohol? Annie answers this question by describing her own personal experiences with depression and explaining her thoughts on the link between depression and alcohol.

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Depression and Alcohol

For many people, they cannot decide if alcohol led to depression or if the depression led to drinking alcohol. I have yet to find someone who has ever declared though that alcohol improved their depression or eradicated it. Instead for many, the relationship between depression and alcohol has only caused more sorrow.

The Link Between Depression and Alcohol

There is no doubt that depression and alcohol are linked and the bond between them is strong.

Alcohol is a depressant – it depresses arousal levels and reduces excitability. Not only can alcohol abuse significantly worsen the symptoms of depression, but it can also cause them to occur in the first place.

My Experience

I personally suffered from depression and anxiety since I was a child and was officially diagnosed with depression more than 17 years ago. This subject has interested me ever since.

The chicken and egg relationship between depression and alcohol is interesting because did alcohol cause the depression you are feeling or did depression cause an addiction to alcohol? There is a strong case for both to be true.

What Now?

A year after I stopped drinking the novelty wore off. I’d gone through every situation and proven to myself that life was better without alcohol. Now, I was not longer as excited about it. I experienced one of my bouts of anxiety and depression. In that month I started to mourn alcohol. Why? I’d always channeled my depression into this bucket. My mind began to tell me that I didn’t use to feel so sad. I didn’t use to be depressed. The reason I was now feeling all of this was because I no longer drank. If I could just take the edge off with one glass of wine then I would be able to deal with this. I would be able to handle it. I began to feel like it was unfair that I couldn’t drink.

This is the most dangerous aspect of the relationship between depression and alcohol – the idea that somehow not drinking is partially responsible for your depression and that drinking would some how ease it.

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Special music thank you to the Kevin MacLeod Funkorama (incompetech.com)
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