Drinking is a typical response to a celebration and always has been. If there is a reason to drink, then people will find it because they find it to be pleasurable. It is considered normal to drink on most occasions for fun or just to relax.
The problem is that a lot of people end up drinking to combat sadness. That is called self-medication and can be a dangerous road to travel down. Trying to fight depression with alcohol can lead to more depression.
The Relationship Between Alcohol And Depression
Drinking now and again isn’t necessarily a bad thing, but if you’re depressed, alcohol can make your depression worse. Or your depression can lead to you drinking too much alcohol.
Drinking when you suffer depression is honestly one of the worst things that you can do. This is because it really can escalate it. The National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism says that 30 percent to 50 percent of people with alcohol issues also have major depressive disorders.
People with drinking issues are also four times as likely to have depression than people without. Having either alcoholism or depression doubles your chances of developing the other.
Alcohol’s Effects On The Brain
Alcohol is known to be a depressant, though that is definitely far from its only effect. It can increase feelings of pleasure while at the same time bring down a mood as it enters the bloodstream.
Drinking can feel like a stimulant at first when it first hits the bloodstream. This is because it can help trigger the release of dopamine which is a natural chemical the brain makes to make you feel good. So at first, it seems like alcohol will make you feel better though over time it will not.
Once the alcohol starts to leave your system though that is when the depression takes hold, it slows down your systems and kind of can suffocate the dopamine centers. Since it can inhibit these functions that is why you can start to feel a lot more down after drinking.
Since alcohol can increase dopamine levels at first, it is basically tricking you into thinking it can make you feel good. But as you drink more, it gets harder to be happy, so you keep drinking more to get the good release of dopamine.
Dangers Of Depression And Alcohol Abuse
Alcohol can help remove inhibitions and make users feel more confident. This ends up with things like dancing on tables or make it easier to engage in casual sex. Because this is popular with people to help them lean out of their comfort zone, it can commonly lead to heavy drinking.
Heavy drinkers themselves have a rate of five times more likely to commit suicide than those who drink socially. Drinking alcohol and being depressed means alcohol can lead to reduced inhibitions, which makes them more likely to drink alcohol.
Trying to self-medicate your depression with alcohol is not the right route to take.