A lot of studies today are finding a strong link between alcoholism and depression. The main question though is what came first-depression or alcoholism? Does drinking alcohol regularly lead to depression or are depressed people more likely to drink excessively. It could also be probable that depression and alcohol abuse share common genetic and environmental risk factors that can cause both depression and alcoholism.
So which one came first, depression or alcoholism? Well, nearly one-third of people with major depression also have an alcohol problem. In many cases depression may be the first to occur. This is shown in the fact that children who are depressed are more prone to have alcohol problems when they get older and teens that have major depression are twice as likely to start drinking alcohol in comparison to those who aren’t depressed. Depression may also come first with women. Women are more than twice as likely to start drinking heavily if they have a history of depression. This is because women are more likely to self-medicate.
Alcoholism could cause depression too. Numerous studies have shown that alcoholism increases the risk for depression. This may be because of the brain’s heavy exposure to alcohol. Heavy alcohol use can lead to heavy bouts of depression. Alcoholism can also cause legal trouble, marital trouble, familial trouble, stress, impaired thinking and impaired judgment. All of these troubles and struggles could definitely cause someone to become depressed.
A lot of the times those with alcoholism get diagnosed with depression almost immediately because the side effects of alcoholism look so similar to depression when the truth is the person is not depressed at all. Sometimes someone is not depressed but merely an alcoholic. Many doctors are quick to diagnose those with alcoholism with depression also when really all the individual is struggling with is depression. While depression and alcoholism are definitely linked there can be one without the other. Just like depressed people are not always alcoholics, alcoholics are not always depressed even though they may seem like it.
Alcoholism can cause someone to get diagnosed with depression for a multitude of reasons. Many of the reasons are because of the losses an alcoholic suffers while drinking and of course they are upset, but do they have clinical depression, yes or no? Maybe they just have alcoholism. A lot of the times an individual with alcoholism should wait until they get some clean time before they begin taking any kind of medication for mental disorders because they may find out that all they have is merely alcoholism, not anxiety, not depression, not OCD just a normal substance abuse problem. Unfortunately many people with alcoholism get diagnosed with depression because the symptoms of alcoholism and depression are so closely linked. Not just that but multiple cases of alcoholism are caused by depression and multiple cases of depression are caused by alcoholism.
When it comes to the general question of what came first-alcoholism or depression? No one will ever really know, it varies on a case by case basis and in some instances it may not even be depression it may just be alcoholism.
If your loved one is in need of drug or alcohol addiction treatment please give us a call at 800-951-6135.