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Alcohol and Depression: The Connection & Effective Rehab

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Alcohol use disorder (AUD) and depressive disorders can coexist, each condition raises the risk for the other, and each disorder can make the other worse. Keep reading to learn more about the link between alcohol and depression.

By We Level Up FL Treatment Center | Editor Yamilla Francese | Clinically Reviewed By Lauren Barry, LMFT, MCAP, QS, Director of Quality Assurance | Editorial Policy | Research Policy | Last Updated: January 23, 2023

Difference Between Anxiety and Depression – Alcohol and Depression

Anxiety and depression difference: The fact that one term denotes a single sickness while the other denotes a collection of ailments is a significant distinction between anxiety and depression.

In reality, depression is one illness. There are numerous distinct symptoms (see below). And different people may experience it very differently. However, the term “depression” only refers to one illness.

The word “anxiety” can indicate a number of different things. We all experience anxiety occasionally, and the word “anxiety” can be used to describe that feeling simply. However, when we use the word anxiety in a medical context, it actually refers to anxiety disorder.

Some less frequent conditions are included under anxiety. These include panic disorders and phobias. However, generalized anxiety disorder is the most prevalent (GAD). In the US, a generalized anxiety disorder may affect four to five out of every 100 persons. In this post, we’ll concentrate on generalized anxiety.

What is Anxiety Disorder?

According to The National Institute on Mental Health, periodic anxiety is a standard component of life. When faced with a challenge at work, before a test, or before making a crucial decision, you could experience anxiety. However, anxiety disorders involve more than just passing apprehension or terror.

Anxiety and depression difference: It’s critical to get anxiety treatment as soon as possible since, for someone with an anxiety condition, the anxiety does not go away and can worsen over time. The symptoms might affect daily tasks like work performance, academic progress, and interpersonal connections. Generalized anxiety disorder, panic disorder, and various phobia-related disorders are only a few of the several types of anxiety disorders.

Anxiety and depression difference: People with a generalized Anxiety disorder (GAD) display excessive Anxiety or worry, most days for at least 6 months, about many things such as personal health, work, social interactions, and everyday routine life circumstances. Fear and Anxiety can cause significant problems in areas of their life, such as social interactions, school, and work. 

What is Depression?

Depression (also known as Major Depressive Illness or Clinical Depression) is a common but significant mood disorder, according to the National Institute of Mental Health. It produces severe symptoms that interfere with your ability to function on a daily basis, including sleeping, eating, and working. The signs of depression must last for at least two weeks before a diagnosis may be made.

Depression treatment is required when depressive symptoms are chronic and do not go away since some types of depression are slightly different or may arise in unusual situations.

Types of Depression

  • Persistent depressive disorder (also called dysthymia): is a depressed mood that lasts for at least two years. A person diagnosed with persistent depressive disorder may have episodes of major Depression along with periods of less severe symptoms, but symptoms must last for two years to be considered a persistent depressive disorder.
  • Psychotic Depression: occurs when a person has severe depression plus some form of psychosis, such as having disturbing false fixed beliefs (delusions) or hearing or seeing upsetting things that others cannot hear or see (hallucinations). The psychotic symptoms typically have a depressive “theme,” such as delusions of guilt, poverty, or illness.
  • Bipolar disorder: is different from Depression, but it is included in this list because someone with bipolar disorder experiences episodes of extremely low moods that meet the criteria for major Depression (called “Bipolar Depression”). But a person with bipolar disorder also experiences extreme high – euphoric or irritable – moods called “mania” or a less severe form called “hypomania.”
  • Postpartum Depression: is much more serious than the “baby blues” (relatively mild depressive and anxiety symptoms that typically clear within two weeks after delivery) that many women experience after giving birth. Women with postpartum Depression experience full-blown major Depression during pregnancy or after delivery (postpartum depression). The feelings of extreme sadness, anxiety, and exhaustion that accompany postpartum depression may make it difficult for these new mothers to complete daily care activities for themselves and/or their babies.
  • Seasonal affective disorder: is characterized by the onset of Depression during the winter months, when there is less natural sunlight. This Depression generally lifts during spring and summer. Winter Depression, typically accompanied by social withdrawal, increased sleep, and weight gain, predictably returns every year in seasonal affective disorder.
  • SAD Seasonal Depression (Depressed SAD): A form of depression known as seasonal affective disorder (SAD) is triggered by the changing of the seasons; it starts and ends about at the same periods each year. If you have SAD like the majority of people do, your symptoms begin in the fall and last through the winter, draining your energy and making you cranky. Typically, these symptoms go away in the spring and summer. SAD less frequently results in depression in the spring or early summer and clears up in the fall or winter. SAD treatment options include medications, psychotherapy, and light therapy (phototherapy).

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Depression Fact Sheet

Depression Overview

Depression is a group of illnesses like depression or bipolar disorder that are connected to mood elevation or depression

Types of Depression

Clinical Depression: A mental health disorder characterized by persistently depressed mood or loss of interest in activities, causing significant impairment in daily life.

Persistent depressive disorder: A mild but long-term form of depression.

Bipolar disorder: A disorder associated with episodes of mood swings ranging from depressive lows to manic highs.

Bipolar II disorder:  A type of bipolar disorder characterized by depressive and hypomanic episodes.

Postpartum depression: Depression that occurs after childbirth.

Depression Treatments

  • Support group: A place where those pursuing the same disease or objective, such as weight loss or depression, can receive counseling and exchange experiences.
  • Cognitive behavioral therapy: A conversation treatment that aimed to change the negative attitudes, actions, and feelings connected to psychiatric discomfort.
  • Counseling psychology: A subfield of psychology that handles issues with the self that are connected to work, school, family, and social life.
  • Anger management: To reduce destructive emotional outbursts, practice mindfulness, coping skills, and trigger avoidance.
  • Psychoeducation: Mental health education that also helps individuals feel supported, validated, and empowered
  • Family therapy: psychological counseling that improves family communication and conflict resolution.

Depression & Anxiety Statistics

It’s critical to understand the distinction between anxiety and depression. Anxiety, in its most basic form, is an excessive feeling of worry, whereas depression, in its most basic form, is an excessive feeling of worthlessness and hopelessness. It is conceivable for someone to experience depression and anxiety simultaneously.

6.8 million

GAD affects 6.8 million adults or 3.1% of the U.S. population, yet only 43.2% are receiving treatment.

Source: National Institute on Mental Health

19 million

19 million adults experience specific phobias, making it the most common anxiety disorder in America.  

Source: ADAA2020

17.3 million

Major depressive disorder affects approximately 17.3 million American adults or about 7.1% of the U.S. population aged 18 and older.

Source: National Institute of Mental Health

Alcohol is a depressant. Drinking significantly affects a person's cognitive functioning, behavior, and mood.
Alcohol as a depressant: Alcohol is a depressant. Drinking significantly affects a person’s cognitive functioning, behavior, and mood.

Is Alcohol A Depressant Or A Stimulant? Alcohol Depression

Alcohol depressant or stimulant? Alcohol is a depressant (Alcohol Depressant). Drinking significantly affects a person’s cognitive functioning, behavior, and mood. Many people find that drinking alcohol helps them unwind; however, alcohol’s side effects, particularly hangovers, can cause anxiety and raise stress levels. So is alcohol a depressant?

Alcohol is a depressant or stimulant? Is alcohol a CNS depressant? Yes, alcohol is a central nervous system depressant, and also alcohol is considered a depressant, which means that it slows down neural activity and brain activity. By boosting the actions of the neurotransmitter GABA, alcohol achieves this.

Why Is Alcohol A Depressant? How Is Alcohol A Depressant?

What does alcohol depress? Alcohol can depress the central nervous system so much that it results in impairment such as slurred speech, unsteady movement, disturbed perceptions, and an inability to react quickly.

Mentally, alcohol reduces an individual’s ability to think rationally, lessens inhibitions, and distorts judgment. If an individual consumes too much alcohol too rapidly, they can depress the central nervous system to a point of respiratory failure, coma, or death.

Alcohol has both sedative and stimulant effects. Although alcohol is scientifically classified as a depressant, the amount consumed and an individual’s response will decide the kind of effect they will feel.

Is Alcohol A Depressant Or Stimulant? Alcohol Is A Stimulant Or Depressant?

Is alcohol a stimulant or a depressant? The initial stimulant effect, “loosening up,” and lowered social inhibitions are the main reasons why most people drink. However, if a person drinks more than their body can take or if they have a higher tolerance, they will start to feel the sedative effects of alcohol, including cognitive impairment.

Some people drink solely for the sedative effects of alcohol, which include anxiety relief. According to several research, most people initially consume alcohol to feel stimulated and benefit from the associated perks, but after they become dependent or addicted, they start drinking largely to experience the anxiety-related calming effects. While drinking quickly tends to promote stimulating effects, drinking slowly is more likely to result in a desire for more sedative effects.

Is alcohol a depressant or stimulant drug? According to some researchers, those who don’t experience the sedative effects of alcohol as profoundly as others are more likely to develop an alcohol use disorder. They drink more to make up for the fact that they don’t feel anything right away, which raises their risk of adverse side effects. Even more severe depressive effects can result from alcohol poisoning or overdose, including:

  • Inability to feel pain
  • Toxicity
  • Unconsciousness
  • Slow and irregular breathing
  • Cold
  • Blue skin
  • Possibly even death

These reactions additionally depend on how much an individual consumes and how quickly.

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What Is A Functioning Alcoholic? Functional Alcoholic DefinitionHigh Functioning Alcoholics

Functioning Alcoholic Definition: Functional Alcoholic or Function Alcoholic

What Is A Functional Alcoholic? High-functioning alcoholics, also known as functioning alcoholics, or functional alcoholics, are alcoholics who are dependent on alcohol but nevertheless have a reasonable level of everyday function. Many of their normal activities, such as going to work and caring for family members, will be able to continue.

What is a high functioning alcoholic? The term functional alcoholic (Functional Alcoholism) is not a recognized medical diagnosis. People who experience this may appropriately be referred to as having alcohol use disorder, with the exception that they don’t also exhibit the classic symptoms of alcoholism, such as a collapse in their personal, professional, or family lives.

The phrase “now functioning” may be used to emphasize that a person’s capacity to function at this time is unlikely to endure. Alcoholism can have a terrible impact on a person’s life, although it varies from person to person how quickly drinking becomes a problem that interferes with day-to-day activities. Generally, the first function that alcohol impairs is judgment. The mental faculties are the first to be affected by drinking.

Signs Of A Functioning AlcoholicHigh Functioning Alcoholism

High Functioning Alcoholic Signs: When a person looks to be competent in doing all that is required to maintain important elements of their lives, it can be confusing and challenging to detect alcohol misuse. They might look good, function well at work, and lead a lively social life. Even while they may appear to be in good health to others, there are probably other places where warning signs and symptoms are developing.

The following are some of the most typical highly functioning alcoholic signs:

  • Drinking heavily and excessively
  • Drinking alone, secretly, or at  unconventional times
  • Justifying their drinking as being a reward or celebration
  • Being unable to socialize without alcohol and avoiding social scenarios without alcohol
  • Experiencing blackouts- Struggling to remember previous nights or days as a result of heavy drinking
  • They use alcohol to help deal with stress or anxiety, trauma, depression, or loss
  • Making jokes or having a flippant attitude about their heavy drinking or being defensive and angry if challenged about it
  • Becoming aggressive, short-tempered, and impulsive after drinking
  • Storing alcohol in secret  places, such as in their car, sheds, clothes, or garage
  • Becoming irritable and restless if they are unable to drink for a day or two
  • Signs Of A Functional Alcoholic: Increasing tolerance to alcohol, meaning they need to drink more and more alcohol to feel any of the effects of alcohol
  • Functional Alcoholic Signs: They experience some alcohol withdrawal symptoms when they stop drinking, such as nausea, headaches fatigue, shaking and shivering, and vivid dreams

Functional Alcoholic SymptomsFunctioning Alcoholics in Denial

Many persons with alcohol use disorders find it difficult to admit they have become dependent on the drug. This is true for functioning alcoholics in particular. High-functioning alcoholics might not be able to notice significant repercussions for their drinking, in contrast to some patients whose lives have been seriously destroyed by alcohol.

A loved one may find it challenging to reach a functioning alcoholic due to this level of denial, which can be very difficult to overcome. If you have concerns about a loved one’s use of alcohol, it’s crucial to talk to them about it when they are sober and with compassion.

You can deal with an alcoholic relationship in a number of ways. Keep an eye out for any attempts at justification such as:

  • “I’m successful, so how can my drinking be out of control?”
  • “I pay my bills, have lots of friends, and have a good job.”
  • “I only buy expensive alcohol.”
  • “I haven’t suffered hardship or damage to my life due to alcohol.”
  • “Everyone drinks as I do, it’s normal.”

Dating A Functional Alcoholic or Living With A Functioning Alcoholic Husband

Functioning Alcoholic Meaning: When a person is in a relationship with a high-functional alcoholic, numerous common things might be experienced frequently.

  • Having four to five drinks in every sitting per hour daily.
  • Intense mood swings in their personality between drinking and not drinking.
  • Putting limits on themselves and then failing to adhere to them.
  • Prioritizing drinking over various aspects of their life.
  • Having comments and rumors about their drinking.
  • Breaking personal commitments because of their drinking habits.
  • Aggressive mood changes while drinking.
  • Partying too hard in social situations.
  • Frequently blacking out.

High Functioning Alcoholic Quiz

You should be able to determine whether you or someone you know may be a functional alcoholic using the symptoms and risk factors listed above.

The results of screening exams may also be a tool to learn. These tests of questions and answers can help you determine how you feel about alcohol. Medical experts may use them to determine if you require addiction therapy.

The alcohol use disorders identification test is one illustration (AUDIT). This 10-question screening questionnaire is suggested by the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) and can aid in identifying a drinking issue. It poses inquiries like:

  • How often do you have a drink containing alcohol?
  • How often during the last year have you found that you were not able to stop drinking once you had started?
  • How often during the last year have you had a feeling of guilt or remorse after drinking?
  • Has a relative or friend, doctor, or other health worker been concerned about your drinking or suggested that you cut it down?

How Long To Abstain From Alcohol Before Liver Function Test?

With a half-life of 14–26 days for GGT, levels typically fall to within the normal reference range after 2–6 weeks of abstinence. GGT evaluation lab tests are reasonably priced and easily accessible.

Is Alcohol a Stimulant or Depressant?

What is a Stimulant?

A person’s vitality, alertness, and attentiveness are all increased by stimulants. Amphetamines are among the most widely used stimulant drug classes. Patients with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) or narcolepsy may be prescribed stimulants. Cocaine, methamphetamine, and caffeine are other stimulants.

Individuals who overuse stimulants may experience:

  • Chest pain
  • Vomiting
  • Abdominal cramping
  • Sweating
  • Headaches
  • Dizziness

Stimulants may be beneficial for certain people when used under a doctor’s supervision. But using stimulants improperly can have negative effects on your health, such as physical dependence and amphetamine addiction (also known as stimulant use disorder).

Depression Vs Alcoholism: Alcohol And Depression

Alcohol use disorder (AUD) and depressive disorders can coexist, each condition raises the risk for the other, and each disorder can make the other worse, according to research, which suggests that there may be a bidirectional interaction between the two. Whether AUD or a depressive disorder developed earlier, they are both among the most common mental disorders and frequently co-occur.

Alcohol depressive: The development of co-occurring AUD and a depressive disorder is complicated and interwoven by multiple paths. Some people might be genetically predisposed to both. Others may have depressive symptoms, which may have an impact on the emergence of an AUD. People’s tendency to use alcohol or other drugs to treat the symptoms of a depressive condition could be one factor in occurrence.

What Does Alcohol Depressant Mean? Depression And Alcohol

People who have serious depressive symptoms (alcohol depressed or depression alcoholic) may begin to depend on alcohol to lessen their symptoms and feel better, but this can eventually turn into a full-blown alcohol use disorder. Self-medication may not be beneficial in the long run even in cases when a person does not develop an AUD because it is linked to greater levels of stress, psychiatric comorbidity, and a decline in health-related quality of life. Additionally, research has linked AUD to risk for both the development of depressive disorders and the beginning of depressive symptoms.

It’s crucial to remember that the severity and prognosis of AUD and depressive disorders, notably major depressive disorder and persistent depressive disorder, are worse when they co-occur. Suicidal behavior is at an increased risk as a result of this. It’s a vicious cycle that can be challenging to break, but therapy can be helpful.

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Does Alcohol Cause Depression? Does Alcohol Make You More Depressed?

Is alcohol a central nervous system depressant? Alcohol can make depression and its symptoms worse. Additionally, drinking can hinder recovery from depression, according to a clinical review published in the journal Professional Psychology: Research and Practice.

Even mild to moderate amounts of alcohol appeared to worsen depression, with depressed patients who drank low levels of alcohol (less than 1 oz per day) experiencing worse outcomes from pharmacological treatments. In addition, depressed study participants who were heavy drinkers displayed worse outcomes from depression treatment.

Alcohol use disorders may be more common than they are in the general population in people who simultaneously have depression. A depressive illness’s prognosis is worse and its severity is increased when it co-occurs with an alcohol use disorder.

Alcohol use disorder (AUD) and depressive disorders can coexist, each condition raises the risk for the other, and each disorder can make the other worse, according to research
Alcoholism and depression: Alcohol use disorder (AUD) and depressive disorders can coexist, each condition raises the risk for the other, and each disorder can make the other worse, according to research.

Can Alcohol Cause Depression? How Long Does Alcohol-Induced Depression Last?

Alcohol-related melancholy can range greatly in length. Generally speaking, after you’ve abstained from alcohol for a period of time, which is frequently 3–4 weeks in many situations, depressed symptoms linked to alcohol-induced depression have been proven to dramatically improve. Research has also shown that, should depressive symptoms continue after stopping alcohol or other drugs of abuse, substance-induced depression may develop into an independent depression.

Depression And Alcoholism: Alcohol Withdrawal Depression (Depression Alcoholism)

Quitting alcohol depression: Alcohol slows your brain since it is a depressant. The brain attempts to make up for this slowness when you binge drink or drink extensively for a prolonged period of time by generating more neurotransmitters that are stimulating. The overproduction of chemicals becomes the new normal as a result of alcohol misuse and alcohol use disorder, which results in alcohol dependency.

Post alcohol depression

Due to the depressive properties of alcohol, you could experience depression after drinking. Alcohol frequently appears to have a stimulating impact – at first. This is because drinking activates the reward system in your brain and causes dopamine release.

Dopamine causes happy feelings that make you feel good and support your desire to drink, but alcohol also has additional effects on your central nervous system. Specifically, it disrupts the release of neurotransmitters like serotonin and norepinephrine that are involved in controlling mood.

Your speech, coordination, and energy may momentarily be affected if these crucial chemical messengers are present at lower-than-normal quantities.

According to research, teens who drink frequently or heavily are more likely to experience depression symptoms later in life. Adults with alcohol use disorders were also more likely to experience depression.

In conclusion, alcohol can really make you feel worse even though it may appear to lift your spirits at the time. This is especially true if you use it frequently.

Alcohol Depression and Anger

He is a vicious drunk. You’ve probably heard this phrase in a movie, on television, or even in real life. On the surface, it nearly seems as though the anonymous person is being cruel because he’s intoxicated. But how accurate is that? Was the person’s anger already present when they drank alcohol or did the alcohol actually make them angry? While some people might think that showing anger after drinking indicates that a person suppresses anger when sober, new research reveals a connection between alcohol and anger, stress, and sadness.

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We Level Up Dual Diagnosis Treatment For Alcohol Depression Anxiety (Alcohol Depression and Anxiety)

How to get over alcohol depression? The exact definition of dual diagnosis (also referred to as co-occurring disorders) can differ between institutions. However, it is generally described as the specific treatment of someone who has been diagnosed with a substance use disorder and a mental health disorder at the same time. Treating dual-diagnosis clients is a critical aspect of our inpatient treatment experience because co-occurring disorders are strongly correlated with instances of substance abuse.

Creating a treatment plan that addresses the physical aspects of withdrawal, the psychological connection with drug use, and managing underlying mental health disorders is part of setting clients up for success.  A thorough mental health analysis identifies possibilities for treatment.  Meeting with mental health counselors and medical care providers means access to behavioral therapy and medication treatment. At our dual diagnosis treatment center, We Level Up can implement the highest quality of care. 

We recognize the fragile complexities of how mental and substance abuse disorders can influence others and sometimes result in a vicious cycle of addiction or in an alcohol depression cycle.  That’s why we offer specialized treatment in dual-diagnosis cases to provide the most excellent chance of true healing and long-lasting recovery. There is no set alcohol depression recovery time, each person has their own time.

It can be challenging to accept that you may be living with a mental illness, but once it is properly diagnosed and treated, treating the presenting case of substance abuse can be magnitudes easier. Only a properly trained medical professional can diagnose these underlying conditions.  If you believe you are suffering from a disorder alongside addiction, we urge you to seek a qualified treatment center to begin your journey to recovery. Call We Level Up today.

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