Alcoholism and depression often go hand in hand and there is good reason for this as we will see later. Firstly, though we should take a look at some of the basic depression symptoms:

  • Eating disorder
  • Sleep disturbance
  • Decreased interest and pleasure in one's daily activities
  • Feelings of guilt or worthlessness
  • Low energy, fatigue
  • Difficulty concentrating or thinking

It's amazing to see how similar the depression symptoms are when compared to those of alcoholism. When alcohol dependence is causing the depression (due to its depressive effect) then the symptoms associated with it will generally disappear once an individual stops drinking.

An Interesting Harvard Study:

A study was recently undertaken at the Harvard School of Public Health about the correlation between alcoholism and depression. The study followed 14,480 people over a one year period.

All participants did not have any symptoms of either condition prior to taking part in the study.

There were 3 major findings:

1. It is possible to predict the level of one condition when the severity of the other is determined in an individual.

2. Even those with only mild depression are at a higher risk of developing alcoholism.

3. Women are much more likely to develop alcoholism than men as a result of their depression.

10 Facts About Alcoholism And Depression:

  1. Genetics is thought to be one of the factors that causes both depression and alcohol dependence
  2. Alcohol affects mood, sleep and motivation just as depression does.
  3. The earlier you suffer from one condition the more likely it is that the other will appear later in life
  4. Nearly half of individuals who drink excessively are said to be suffering from depression.
  5. About 5-10 per cent of people with depression also report having drinking issues.
  6. One study looked at a group who only drank one drink per day. It found that even their mood improved if they cut out alcohol all together{USA WEEKEND, Jan. 3, 1999}
  7. As you drink more alcohol so the depressant effective of alcohol increases
  8. Major life events that cause stress are likely to trigger both depressive episodes and alcohol problems
  9. Having a close relative with either alcohol dependence or a depressive illness means that you are more likely to develop one or both later in life
  10. The great majority of depressed people are not being treated for their condition, although such treatment would be of benefit

In Conclusion:

In many cases it is not clear whether a person is suffering from alcoholism and depression or simply from alcoholism. As a result, it is normal practice to deal with the alcoholism first and see if the depression gets better. If it does not, then specific treatment for the depression would be started.

Please remember that alcohol is a depressant. People with depression shouldn't drink alcohol.

If you drink when you feel depressed keep in mind that alcohol may change your mood for a while, but right after the effect is gone you will much worse than before.

What to do to avoid feeling depressed?

  • Develop close relationships with the people who are close to you such as: family, friends and co-workers.
  • Understand the real causes of depression.
  • Do sport, even gentle exercises are beneficial such as a brief walk.
  • Meditation, prayer and relaxation exercises such as yoga.
Author's Bio: 

Charles Somerville has more on alcoholism and depression at his website The Alcoholism Guide