Alcohol and Depression 1


Many years ago I had decided that I would never drink when I was feeling depressed. It was before I was diagnosed with Depression. I do not recall that any incident took place to precipitate my decision. I don’t know if my decision came from common sense, intuition, or by the grace of God, but I am grateful for it.

Depression and alcohol go together like peanut butter and jelly. And I believe that this is so because many alcoholics and addicts are self medicating people suffering from Depression who are not consciously aware of it. Once the habit establishes itself the addiction takes hold and the underlying depression becomes drowned out by the alcohol and/or drugs. I’m sure that there is empirical evidence out there to support my contention, but I have no desire to research it. The number of dual-diagnosis programs and centers plus my own family history and experience is all of the proof that I need. I am not saying that all alcoholics and addicts are really self medicating people with Depression, but I believe that many are.

If you are an alcoholic or addict then you definitely should get to AA. It can save your relationships, your family, and your life. This is something that you need to be honest with yourself about. No one else can make you take an honest look at yourself except yourself.

Drunk driving accidents, house fires,: emotional and physical abuse of spouses, parents, and children are all situations where it is quite easy to seriously harm or kill someone you care for or someone you never knew. Either way, you’re going to wind up hospitalized, in jail, or dead if you don’t address the problem.

In addition with help managing the addiction it will be important to get to the root cause of the addiction which is probably Depression. It can get tricky here because you may be scared to use antidepressants for fear of more addiction but this is not the same thing. As long as you are honest with yourself and with the doctor that will be working with you on the Depression, things should work out. Either way, the drinking has to go.

I would also caution anyone here who likes to have a drink at the end of the day to unwind. If you suffer from Depression than you could be setting yourself up to become an alcoholic.

Now for those of us with Depression who are not alcoholics but still like to enjoy an additional social drink or some wine with their dinner, guess what? We’re sabotaging our recovery. If you are taking antidepressants, mood stabilizers, and medication for anxiety then several things need to be kept in mind if you choose to drink:

You will become intoxicated much quicker than you would if you were not one these medications. It can sneak up on you very quickly, so do not drive even if you’ve had only one beer or glass of wine.

The mix of your medication and the alcohol could result in accidental death, in which case, if you have ever talked about suicide your family may never know if you just died or you killed yourself. And if you had an insurance policy you can be sure that the insurance company will be looking to have it ruled as a suicide.  I do not ever drive if I even have a half a glass of wine. I never drink and drive. Never.

So here’s some more great news (NOT) for those of us on meds who wish to indulge in some drinking. Your liver is now competing with your antidepressants and other medications to clear the chemicals from your bloodstream and guess who usually wins? The alcohol. This actually can also be very dangerous because if you’ve been feeling well and bouncing back from depression and then add a some alcohol to the mix you are probably going to become depressed again. And if you were having suicidal ideations prior to recovery then there is a good chance that you will feel that way again. And when you’re in the grip of depression and suicidal ideation it only takes a few seconds for you to do something rash and end your life. I can tell you from my own experience that if I have a few glasses of wine then I am almost guaranteed to be severely depress for the following five to six days. It’s a risky thing to do.

The last note about Depression and alcohol. You have a mood disorder called Depression so your mood swings can be sudden and intense. This is amplified by the addition of alcohol into your bloodstream, so chances are that you will say and do stupid things after a drink or two. You may be easily agitated and get into fights with the people you are with or more serious fights with others who you don’t know who maybe packing a weapon.

I’m sorry to be the one to tell you all of this but it’s just the way it is.

I wish you all a safe and happy Holiday Season.


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