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Alcohol and Depression

For those suffering from depression, a couple of drinks may offer some much needed relief. A few drinks in the beginning can calm the nerves, improve mood, and trick people into thinking that their depressive symptoms are improving. But if the drinking continues, the person may become dependent on the alcohol to provide relief from their symptoms, ultimately worsening symptoms of depression and cause long term consequences.

Higher Risk of Depression

Research into addiction has shown that the risk of developing depression may be increased in those individuals who drink often. One idea proposes that drinking may activate depression in those who have a higher susceptibility to the disorder. Another proposes that because alcohol is a depressant, excessive consumption could unnaturally cause depression in otherwise healthy adults. It is important to note that having a family member who suffers from either alcohol or depression increases the likelihood of an individual developing either or both of these disorders.


Excessive drinking can severely disrupt an individual’s sleep patterns, which is even more problematic in someone already suffering from depression. By itself, depression affects sleep quality by pushing the individual to either sleep excessively or lie in bed awake at night. When you combine this with alcohol abuse, a healthy sleep patterns can be ruined.

Many people protests that drinking actually helps them to sleep at night. While this might occasionally be the case in moderate drinkers, the truth is that alcohol causes people to wake up more often when sleeping, and prevents them from entering into a deep sleep. The deep phases of sleep are important in allowing your body and mind to rest, and are fundamental in allowing your body to repair tissues and cells.

Consistent lack of sleep can also magnify depression, causing poor concentration, fuzzy memory, lack of motivation, low energy, and all around negative effects on mood and self-esteem.

Hazardous Combinations

Those seeking help with their depression are often prescribed antidepressants, which can be extremely helpful for treating the disorder. But continuing to drink while taking antidepressants can be extremely dangerous. First off, drinking can essentially cancel out the effects of the medication, leaving the person no better off than before they sought help. It can also cause the alcohol to have a stronger effect, which can lead to impaired motor skills and cognition. The combination also increases the chance of experience the side effects of the medication, especially drowsiness.

Certain types of antidepressants can be particularly dangerous when combined with alcohol. A class of medications called monoamine oxidase inhibitors can prove fatal when combined with alcohol. Tyramine is a Alcohol addiction rehab chemical found in some types of wine and beer, which is an amino acid that contributes to blood pressure regulation. When someone taking an MAOI consumes an excessive amount of tyramine, their blood pressure increases dramatically, which can sometimes cause a stroke.


At Northbound treatment services, we have decades of experience providing treatment to individuals suffering from alcohol abuse and depression. We have a full staff of medical professional- including psychologists and psychiatrists- that are able to identify co-occurring disorders and offer appropriate treatment. Northbound creates a customized treatment plan, which is created specifically for you and the unique circumstances that you are dealing with. Our most important goal is to provide the individual with the treatment strategies most effective in leading to long term sobriety, happiness, and good health.

If you have a loved one who is in need of treatment for alcohol abuse and depression, then please contact one our experienced professional today at (866) 538-4356.


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