People drink for any number of reasons. Whether they want to have fun with friends, relax after a long day, or ‘drown their sorrows’ when things aren’t going well— there are healthy and unhealthy ways to consume alcohol. When you’re having a hard go at it, alcohol can become a crutch you use to get past those major life stressors. Therefore, alcohol and depression have the potential to go hand in hand for many people. But, how do they affect one another? And what comes first?
Depression and Alcohol: the Chicken and the Egg
There are studies which show that one-third of people who deal with serious depression, also deal with alcoholism. In many cases, depression comes first— and then alcohol becomes a means of escape. However, there are also instances where alcoholism comes first— and depression becomes an issue as a result of not being able to fight your urges.
Adults versus Teens/Children
The stresses of an adult life can absolutely lead to alcoholism and depression. However, it is actually quite common in children and teens as well. Teens who have major depression are twice as likely to start drinking than teens who have not. Adults typically have a stronger understanding of what it means to be an alcoholic. Furthermore, they understand the damage it can do in your daily life.
However, teens often haven’t had those same brushes with alcoholism. Alcohol, and drinking, is new, exciting, and the effects have a strong appeal. Especially when facing depression as a child, the urge to drink and escape that can be strong.
Alcohol is a depressant
What many people don’t understand about alcohol and depression, is that alcohol is a depressant. While it can provide a great escape from the tough times, drinking heavily and frequently can lead to more intense episodes of depression. Not to mention, next day anxiety after heavy drinking is quite common— which can only hurt your depression.
In short, alcohol and depression go hand in hand
When you’re suffering from alcoholism, or depression— one or the other can come quite naturally as either a coping mechanism. When suffering from depression, healthy behaviors can go a long way in battling that depression.