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How Depression Impacts Alcohol Abuse

Even though alcohol is a known central nervous system depressant,  it is also one of the most widely used recreational drugs. The correlation between depression and alcohol use is long-studied, and treating the two issues together can significantly increase the success of addiction recovery efforts. If you or someone you love struggles with depression and alcohol addiction, consider seeking depression treatment in Nashville, Tennessee, at Nashville Treatment Solutions.

At Nashville Treatment Solutions, we take a holistic, evidence-based approach to treating depression and addiction by addressing the root causes. We have extensive experience treating co-occurring disorders together for successful recovery. Contact us today at 866.714.5630 to better understand depression and alcohol abuse and how both can be connected. 

Connecting Depression and Alcohol Abuse 

Depression is a mental health condition and a blanket term referring to various depressive disorders. Depressive disorders include seasonal affective disorder (SAD), psychotic depression, dysthymia, perinatal depression, bipolar disorder, and substance-induced depression. 

The specifics of depressive disorders are varied, but most share a few signs and symptoms in common, including:

  • Persistent low mood, including feelings of sadness, melancholy, anxiety, and emptiness
  • Aches, pains, digestive issues, and other physical ailments that are inexplicable and do not improve with treatment
  • Overwhelm, hopelessness, and pessimism prevail even when all is well
  • Difficulty thinking or making decisions
  • Sleep problems, including insomnia and sleeping too much
  • Thoughts of death, self-harm, or suicide
  • Excessive feelings of guilt and worthlessness
  • Loss of interest in hobbies, activities, and relationships that were once enjoyable
  • Persistent lack of energy or fatigue that make it difficult to function
  • Significant weight loss or weight gain due to changes in appetite

Alcohol can exacerbate these symptoms of depression unequivocally, whether it is substance-induced depression or an existing disorder. When left untreated, depression can be a deadly disease. When mixed with alcohol and left untreated, it’s sure to be. 

Many people who are experiencing depression can effectively mask their symptoms. Other telling signs of depression can include the overuse of substances and substance-related problems in living. 

The What and Why of Co-Occurring Disorders 

Co-occurring disorders describe the coexistence of one or more mental health disorders and a substance use disorder. The presence of co-occurring conditions is most distinctly marked by the habit of turning to drugs or alcohol to cope with feelings of despair, sadness, guilt, and pain. Even though drugs and alcohol only worsen these issues, a person in distress may see them as necessary self-medication measures. They may not realize that better options for healing are available. 

When a person experiences trauma or develops a single disorder, their risk of developing other conditions increases significantly. This is because their vulnerability increases and their distress tolerance is compromised. It’s akin to how the immune system weakens when it becomes overburdened with illness, thereby rendering people more susceptible to multiple diseases. Most people who experience a substance use disorder find that it is a symptom rather than a cause and that there are one or more underlying issues. 

Substance use disorders are common concurrent disorders that often begin as attempts to self-medicate. If you or someone you love is turning to drugs and alcohol as a means of coping, it’s essential to reach out for help as soon as possible. 

Find Healing with Nashville Treatment Solutions

At Nashville Treatment Solutions, we understand healing is more than kicking a habit. We work with every individual to identify and treat every issue by taking a holistic and evidence-based approach to healing. Our integrated treatment plans eliminate the need to travel from one provider to another. We are here for you every step of the way, and we understand how depression and alcohol use can be connected and how both disorders require comprehensive treatment. 

Additionally, Nashville Treatment Solutions knows that asking for help is one of recovery’s most challenging and essential steps. We endeavor to make that step a little easier. We’re here for you and your loved ones. Reach out to us at 866.714.5630 to learn more about the connection between depression and alcohol abuse.