Alcohol abuse and alcoholism can also cause serious medical and mental health problems, which can shorten your life expectancy and diminish your overall quality of life. Because alcoholism leads to significant neurotransmitter imbalances, alcohol and depression oftentimes co-occur.
Each year, alcoholism and alcohol abuse impact 15 million Americans ages 18 and older. Although alcohol is legal, it is also widely abused because it has the potential to cause both physical and psychological dependence. It is a central nervous system depressant that causes your breathing to slow down. This means that consuming too much alcohol at once or mixing it with other substances can lead to ethanol poisoning.
Alcohol and Depression
Alcohol intoxication impacts your thoughts, feelings, and behaviors. It can lower your inhibitions and impair your judgment, which can create the perfect storm for bad decisions. Whenever you consume alcohol, your brain releases more neurotransmitters than it should, which creates the positive effects associated with intoxication. Once you’re sober, you suddenly experience a major depletion of neurotransmitters, which can lead to cravings and negative moods.
Alcohol and depression are strongly connected because depression increases your risk of developing an alcohol abuse disorder and alcoholism and cause depression. When you abuse alcohol and depression symptoms begin to develop, it’s important to find help quickly. Alcoholism is a progressive and chronic condition, which means that treatment is necessary in order to fully recover. Alcohol and depression can combine to cause significant problems in your personal life, relationships, career, and health.
The longer you abuse alcohol, the more you’re at risk for experiencing severe complications and symptoms, such as liver damage, neurological problems, and malnutrition. Because alcohol is physically and psychologically addictive, when you develop alcoholism you constantly have to drink more and more in order to get drunk. Since ethanol is the main ingredient in alcohol responsible for intoxication and is filtered by your liver, alcohol abuse can lead to cirrhosis, liver disease, and hepatitis.
Some common signs and symptoms of alcoholism include:
- Needing to drink to feel normal
- Spending the majority of your time drinking or thinking about drinking
- Concealing your alcohol use
- Feeling guilt, shame or remorse about your drinking
- Inability to stop or reduce your drinking on your own
How Do You Treat Co-Occurring Disorders
A co-occurring condition is when you have both a substance abuse or alcohol abuse disorder and a mental health disorder. You can have both conditions at the same time or one right after the other. When you suffer from a co-occurring disorder, finding help from a dual diagnosis program is an important part of your recovery.
Since mental health symptoms, like depression, can increase cravings, failing to manage your mental health during recovery can lead to a relapse. When you have a co-occurring disorder, you may use drugs and alcohol to self-medicate your mental health symptoms. Since both alcoholism and mental health disorders involve neurotransmitter imbalances, abusing alcohol ultimately destabilizes your mental health.
A dual diagnosis program for alcohol and depression utilizes evidence-based and holistic therapies to help you learn how to manage and cope with your symptoms. Dual diagnosis programs offer both inpatient and outpatient options. Inpatient dual diagnosis programs for alcohol and depression offer the highest level of care in a residential setting. This is ideal if you have severe alcoholism or multiple attempts at treatment.
Reaching Out for Help Today
When you are struggling with alcoholism, you can lose control of your life. Since alcoholism causes you to make drinking a priority, it can damage your career, health, and marriage. Alcohol and depression commonly co-occur, which is why reaching out for treatment is especially important if you have a co-occurring disorder. To find out more about your treatment options, call us today at 1.844.675.1628.