The link between depression and addiction isn’t difficult to recognize. When you’re going through depression, you’ll do anything to find relief from the pain you’re experiencing. Alcohol is seen as a solution for many people experiencing depression, but it only leads to further problems with mood and health.
Am I depressed?
Sometimes, it can be difficult to separate a depressed mood from actual depression. While just about everyone has bouts of unhappiness, they shouldn’t be confused with depression. If you’re experiencing any of these symptoms on a regular basis, it’s very likely that you’re depressed:
- Easily fatigued
- Loss of interest in previously pleasurable activities
The appeal of alcohol
If you’re depressed, drinking alcohol can make you feel better, at least temporarily. It can cover up your thoughts on a temporary basis. Someone who is particularly depressed might drink to the point of blacking out and forgetting what they did when they regain consciousness the next morning.
Alcohol is a depressant, meaning it slows down the body and the mind. While this can provide an enjoyable sedative effect for drinkers, being deprived of alcohol can cause difficulties. They can start to become anxious and irritable when they don’t have access to alcohol. This can further enhance their depressive mood. As they develop a further dependency on alcohol, it can be harder to break away from it.
Nobody sets out to become an addict. When you start drinking, you’re not thinking about it being a crutch that you’ll have to rely on. It’s merely something to make you feel better in the here and now. That’s a very attractive prospect when going through depression. However, when you’re not actually addressing your problems but instead relying on a substance to provide therapy for you, addiction becomes a reality. The substance has had such an impact on your mind, you start to believe that you’re unable to cope without it.
Alternatives to alcohol
If you started drinking as a result of your depression, then you at least know that you’re depressed. You looked for a solution in the wrong place, but you are capable of overcoming the problems of alcoholism and depression. It’s important to know that this is a gradual process without a one-step solution.
Discussing your depression can be scary, particularly if it’s with a stranger. However, therapy can be powerful for overcoming addiction and depression. The most effective therapy involves examining your thoughts and how they lead your mental state. For instance, with cognitive behavioral therapy, you can learn to realize how much your mind jumps to the worst possible conclusion to cause you mental strife and how you can enjoy more positive emotions from redirecting your negative thoughts.
It can be difficult to face your thoughts. Reaching for alcohol can seem like a suitable cure because there’s no difficulty to it. However, you need to be in touch with yourself and your thoughts. When you don’t know what to say, try writing. It could be putting your emotions to paper with a poem or story. It could just be journaling your thoughts. Whatever you choose, recognize it for the power it gives you to express yourself in a healthy manner.
Quitting for today
Giving up alcohol can seem like a harrowing task. A practice that is recommended for anyone trying to break a detrimental habit is quitting just for today rather than putting pressure on yourself by swearing that you’re done forever. The idea is that every day, you quit again just for that day. Eventually, you don’t have to think about it. If you do slip, it’s less serious than it would be, because you can just start again the next day.
We are an outpatient addiction treatment center for adults age 18 and up. We provide services for those who are looking to overcome drug and alcohol addiction. If you or a loved one needs help with addiction, please give us a call today at 770-299-1677. We are grateful for the opportunity to be able to provide this help.