Alcohol and depression are very much intertwined. When they occur together, a vicious cycle emerges that traps individuals in despair and dangerous misuse of alcohol. People who face this struggle often fear there is no way to escape the cycle.
Here at the Integrative Life Center, we find a large majority of our clients struggling with alcoholism have battled major depression at some point. Researchers have done studies to try to figure out exactly how these two conditions connect, as well as determine which one is likely to come first. The truth of the matter is, there have been no conclusive results. It seems that other than both influencing the same areas of the brain, individual situations may determine which is present first. However, regardless of which arises first, alcohol and depression are both serious issues.
The reality of co-occurring alcoholism and depression is heavy, but there is hope! The cycle is breakable, and alcohol and depression rehab is available. We’ve walked with thousands of clients on their journey to victory through comprehensive alcohol and depression treatment. Whether you or someone you love suffers from alcoholism and depression, we’re glad you’re here seeking help.
Alcoholism is a chronic disease that reveals compulsive consumption of alcohol despite negative consequences. It affects people from all walks of life, regardless of age, gender, or socioeconomic status. Without proper care and support, alcoholism leads to severe physical, emotional, and social issues, affecting relationships, work, and overall quality of life. Common indicators of alcoholism include:
- Increased tolerance: a person must consume larger and larger amounts of alcohol to achieve the desired effect.
- Withdrawal symptoms: A person suffers from withdrawal symptoms when attempting to reduce or stop drinking.
- Neglecting responsibilities: A person neglects important duties due to alcohol consumption.
- Increased alcohol consumption: a person consumes large amounts of alcohol more frequently.
A person with depression experiences persistent sadness, hopelessness, and a decreased interest in daily activities. It is a serious medical condition that can impact every aspect of their life, dulling their emotions and disconnecting them from the world around them. There are signs that you have depression, including:
- Persistent sadness or irritability
- Sleep disturbances
- Loss of appetite or weight gain
- Fatigue and a lack of energy
- Difficulty concentrating or making decisions
- Thoughts of self-harm or suicide
Many people who suffer from major depression turn to alcohol as a coping mechanism because it offers temporary relief from feelings of sadness, anxiety, and hopelessness. It is not apparent at first that alcohol consumption can actually exacerbate symptoms of depression, and then drive a person to drink more heavily while seeking relief.
Unpacking the Cycle of Alcohol and Depression
Many of those who enter a program to deal with alcohol abuse remember having at least one major depressive episode, sometimes back as far as childhood. It is often during adolescence that these people take their first drink. This is done to help alleviate some of the symptoms of depression. Up to a certain point, alcohol seems to raise your mood. Unfortunately, it is a depressant and when you reach a certain level of alcohol in your system, it lowers your mood. That is why many people will start the night cheerful and lively after their first one or two drinks, but as they drink more, they may turn to either anger or tears. As a result, the cycle of alcoholism and depression often looks like this:
- Depression: Individuals struggling with depression turn to alcohol as a means to self-medicate and temporarily alleviate their symptoms.
- Increased Alcohol Consumption: As alcohol misuse increases, so do the negative signs and symptoms, such as financial burdens, legal issues, and strained relationships.
- Alcoholism: The continued use of alcohol leads to the development of alcoholism, where individuals depend on alcohol to function.
- Increased Depression: The combination of alcoholism and depression triggers each other, creating a cycle of increasing depressive symptoms and alcohol abuse.
It can be terrifying to see the negative effects of alcohol on your life and feel unsure about how you ended up here. ILC prioritizes patient understanding. We work with each client to help them identify the reasons for their addiction or compulsive behaviors. You do not have to stay in this cycle. With the right alcohol and depression treatment, there is a way out.
Breaking the Cycle: Alcohol and Depression Treatment
When you suffer from both alcohol use disorder and depression, a dual diagnosis treatment approach is your best option. At this point, don’t worry about which disorder came first. Alcohol and depression feed each other, and so it’s most important to recognize that both exist and that you can find treatment and healing from both disorders. One of the most effective forms of help for co-occurring disorders is a holistic treatment center that offers a comprehensive approach to alcohol and depression rehab.
Regardless of how you seek help, working with qualified care providers is essential. Co-occurring alcoholism and depression can be overcome, but it is a severe illness. Without proper care and support, it is easy to relapse into a destructive cycle and believe you will never be able to escape.
We offer a holistic approach to alcohol addiction recovery. Our tailored treatments help each client face their addiction and begin the path toward recovery, supported and nurtured by community and qualified caregivers.
Trauma-Informed and Heart-Centered Alcohol and Depression Rehab
Trauma-informed and heart-centered care are core principles guiding our treatment approach for residential and outpatient rehab programs. This approach recognizes that each individual’s journey is unique and requires individualized care to produce effective, lasting relief. For many individuals, addictive and compulsive behaviors stem from co-occurring disorders:
- Depression and substance use
- Anxiety and substance use
- Trauma and substance use
- Eating disorders and substance use
- Bipolar disorder and substance use
Trauma-informed care investigates how an individual struggling with alcoholism and depression experienced trauma in their lives. By addressing these underlying traumas, rehab centers can help individuals heal on a deep, foundational level, reducing the risk of relapse and promoting long-term victory.
Additionally, heart-centered care focuses on the connection and empathy between individuals and their treatment providers. This approach aims to create a safe and supportive environment where individuals feel heard, understood, and cared for, fostering a sense of trust and collaboration between the rehab team and their clients.
The Path Toward Recovery
Alcoholism and depression are complex disorders that can have devastating effects on individuals, their families, and their entire communities. If you or someone you love faces such a struggle, it may be relieving to learn that professional help via specified alcohol and depression rehab can provide true, lasting relief and healing.
If you’re not sure whether your own experiences are truly serious enough to warrant getting alcohol and depression treatment, the Alcohol Use Disorders Identification Test (AUDIT) assessment provides a neutral source for self-examination. To further determine if you or someone you love is suffering from alcohol use disorder, consider reviewing our alcohol use disorder criteria.
You are not alone, and your life is most certainly worth healing. Contact us today at (615) 891-2226 to learn how to claim victory over alcohol and depression.