Depression and alcohol abuse often occur together. Alcohol has a sedative effect on the brain and tends to decrease feelings of anxiety that often occur when a woman is feeling down. This depression can be caused by external factors or might be due to actual physical changes in the brain. Although depression and alcohol, particularly in women, can be very damaging, there are treatment programs that can help.
Depression and Alcohol
There is a lot of confusion on whether depression or alcohol abuse comes first. For some people, it is easier to drown their sorrows with alcohol than to face their problems and make changes in their lives. Since alcohol has depressant effects, those who frequently drink large amounts of alcohol may have a tendency to also experience depressed moods.
There is also a theory that depression and alcohol abuse may not be related at all. Depression and alcoholism are both very common diseases, so it stands to reason that they might occur together simply by chance rather than due to any connection.
The Link between Depression and Alcohol Use in Women
Research has found that there might be some links between alcoholism and depression. This may be due to the following:
- Alcohol affects the same areas of the brain that cause depression symptoms.
- Stressful life events can lead to alcohol abuse and depression, causing a psychosocial link between the two.
- Both alcoholism and depression are more likely to occur in those with close relatives who suffer from either disease.
Research has shown that women who suffer from depression are more susceptible to developing alcohol problems than men. It has also been found that if a woman develops depression early in life, she is more likely to develop problems with alcohol than her male counterparts.
What to Do With a Dual Diagnosis
Both the depression and alcohol addiction should be treated at the same time, and preferably at the same facility. A woman in recovery first completes the detoxification process and begins a life of sobriety so that she can receive proper treatment for depression.
A woman may take antidepressants to help with her mood. Counseling can also be used to treat both the alcoholism and the symptoms of depression. When services occur concurrently, you can receive the maximum benefits without duplicating services. Dual diagnosis treatment has been very successful for women dealing with depression and alcohol.
If you or a woman you love is having problems with depression and alcohol, a treatment program for women may be the answer. Remember that recovery from addiction and alcohol abuse treatment means learning how to cope with intensely emotional situations, and identifying when you need help and support. Destination Hope: The Women’s Program is a full service addiction and women’s health treatment facility in Florida for women who suffer from substance abuse and behavioral health issues.