You may have noticed that alcohol and depression very often linked together. Where you find one you will often times find the other. In fact, people who have struggled with depression throughout their lives have a very good chance of also battling addiction to alcohol and other drugs at some point in their lives. Over 50% of all suicides were also abusing alcohol or other drugs at the time of their death.
People who have clinical depression often don’t associate alcohol as being a contributor to the problem. Often, the reason they drink is because it is the only time they can escape their debilitating depression and feel good. It is true that moderate alcohol consumption can bring about a feeling of elation and well-being. Alcohol seems to provide a valuable respite from their depressed mindset.
The problem is that many depression sufferers will develop a very bad habit of turning to alcohol to relieve their pain. For many people it becomes a daily habit and a lifestyle and that is when depression and alcohol become linked in a sort of death spiral.
When this happens it is very difficult for the person to see that alcohol is in fact exacerbating their depression and causing great harm to their physical body. They have associated alcohol with feeling good, but as the disease progresses it can ravage their mind and body.
Why are alcohol and depression linked together?
It is important to understand the physiological reasons why depression and alcohol are linked. If you suffer from depression it is vitally important that you avoid alcohol and understand that alcohol is not part of the solution but is in fact a major contributor to depression.
There are a number of reasons why depression and alcohol are so often linked. First and foremost, alcohol is a drug that acts as a depressant to the central nervous system. This may seem counter intuitive, because moderate alcohol consumption tends to release a person’s inhibitions and feel like more of a stimulant than a depressant. But it is well documented that alcohol reduces motor activity and stimulus sensitivity in the body. Alcohol is also depressant of the mind as well.
Alcohol is treated as a toxin by the body and is filtered and flushed out of the system by the liver. During this process, many important water-soluble vitamins and minerals such as vitamin B and D are also flushed out. This chronic loss of vitamins contributes to an imbalance in the body that can also cause mental instability and depression.
Alcohol abuse wreaks havoc on nearly every organ of the body. Proper digestion of foods and thus nutrient absorption is greatly hindered. Alcohol is processed as a sugar and therefore blood sugar levels tend to spike and then nosedive, putting a person at risk for diabetes and other complications.
The reason this is linked to depression is because depression is often correlated with physical maladies such as blood sugar irregularities, etc. A body that is under stress will also put that person’s mind under stress. Although many people do not readily understand this link between the body and the mind, it has been shown that depression is highly correlated to the health of a person’s physical body. Diet and exercise and a healthy body go so far to produce a sunny disposition and a stable mental outlook.
If you have depression, avoid alcohol consumption
For these reasons, it is vital that if you have it depression that you understand the importance of avoiding alcohol consumption. There are many depression medications available today that do a wonderful job at alleviating the chemical imbalances in the brain that cause depression. They are very effective and therefore it is unnecessary for one to turn to alcohol as a source of relief.
Now that you understand how alcohol and depression are inextricably linked, please instead seek the advice of a psychiatrist or medical doctor for help with your depression instead.