Many people take help or surrender to alcohol when sad or disheartened. This is because getting drunk helps them to vent out their subdued feelings or forget their sorrows. Hence, people going through low points such as breakups, job loss or immense stress resume to alcohol to cope with their situations. While such a tendency does not always cause alcoholism, however, dependency on alcohol to fight sadness can be a hint of alcohol abuse.
There are various studies that have established strong links between depression and alcohol addiction. While some studies say that prolonged depression eventually leads to alcoholism, others suggest alcoholism to be the cause of depression. Taking both segments of studies into account, it can be concluded that co-occurrence of alcoholism and depression is common not only in Americans, but also in people across the world. While both these conditions can occur independent of each other, studies have given evidence of one condition leading to another.
Alcoholism leading to depression
Alcohol being a depressant affects the chemical balance in the brain, thereby further affecting the thoughts, feelings, decisions, and actions. It tends to impact the neurotransmitters in the brain that transmit signals from one nerve (or neuron) to another. With alcoholism, a person is continuously exposed to chemical imbalances in the brain, which eventually leads to mental health disorders such as depression.
According to certain studies, alcoholism disrupts the sleeping pattern which further instigates depression in a person. As against the common belief that alcohol induces sleep, these studies suggest that alcohol does not allow the user to get to the deep stages of sleep when the body gets rest, repairs tissues and restores energy for the proper functioning of the brain processes. Lack of proper sleep disturbs the mental balance and many times paves the way to symptoms of depression.
Studies have also suggested that alcoholism might trigger a genetic vulnerability for depression. The chances of an alcoholic slipping into depression increase if he has a family history of mental disorders or has been exposed to extreme distress and violence in the surroundings.
Depression leading to alcoholism
Depression is not just feeling sad or gloomy, but it is a severe mental disorder. The mental state of depression is different from feeling depressed in case of any loss or failure. The mental disorder causes more severe harms like disruption in carrying out day-to-day activities, and at times it leads to suicidal thoughts or suicide attempts.
Many people with depression take to alcohol to alleviate the symptoms of the disorder and with time they become dependent on the substance which eventually leads to alcohol abuse in most cases.
Road to recovery
The co-occurrence of alcoholism and depression is a vicious cycle. Apart from alcohol and depression, marijuana addiction and schizophrenia and cocaine addiction and anxiety disorders are some other common co-occurring disorders found in people.
Co-occurring disorders are complex and often their diagnosis and treatment prove to be challenging. It is very important to treat both the disorders simultaneously in such cases. If you or your loved one is suffering from co-occurring disorders, it is imperative to take the necessary medical help before matters go out of control. If you would like to know more about dual diagnosis rehab in California, you can get in touch with the California Dual Diagnosis Helpline. You may call us at our 24/7 helpline number 855- 980-1736 or chat online to get connected with the best dual diagnosis treatment in California.
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