Alcohol is one of the most commonly used legal drugs in the United States. According to data from the 2019 National Survey on Drug Use and Health, 85.6% of people 18 and older reported that they drank alcohol at some point in their lifetime. Alcohol is legal, widely available, and socially accepted. However, alcohol is also highly addictive, and people who abuse alcohol experience a wide variety of physical and mental illnesses, including depression.
When alcohol use and depression occur, a common question asked is can alcohol affect depression? This article will take a closer look at how alcoholism affects the body and the connection between depression and alcoholism. If you need alcoholism and depression treatment, Spirit Mountain Recovery can help. We offer evidence-based treatment programs, multiple levels of care, and expert help and support to help you overcome alcoholism and depression. Call us right now to learn more about our men’s drug and alcohol rehab in Utah.
How Does Alcoholism Affect the Body?
Chronic alcohol abuse has significant and life-threatening effects on your body and brain. A powerful central nervous system depressant, alcohol slows brain functioning, heart rate, and respiration. Over time, chronic alcohol abuse significantly changes brain functioning, brain chemistry, and bodily functioning.
When people try to curtail their intake or quit drinking altogether, both the brain and body react violently and try to regain a sense of equilibrium. This results in a host of withdrawal symptoms that can be very painful and life-threatening. These can include:
- Grand mal seizures
Over the long term, alcoholism can lead to a variety of major health issues, such as the following:
- Liver disease
- Digestive problems
- Heart problems
- Diabetes complications
- Eye problems
- Bone damage
- Neurological complications
- Weakened immune system
- Increased risk of cancer, including mouth, throat, liver, esophagus, colon, and breast cancer
Can Alcohol Affect Depression?
Alcoholism creates significant physical and mental health issues. One of the most common conditions associated with alcoholism is depression. The relationship between depression and alcoholism is strong. For people who are struggling with depression, they turn to alcohol as a means to cope with their feelings. They turn to alcohol due to the continued stigma of depression as a mental illness. While many quality treatments exist for depression that allows people to manage their condition, many of afraid to ask for help because they feel that they would be seen as “broken” or not worthy of help. As a result, turning to alcohol is easy because of its availability.
If those who are depressed use alcohol as a primary coping mechanism, their depression will grow worse over time. If people don’t seek professional help to address depression, it will intensify once the effects of alcohol wear off. As a result, people will need to drink greater quantities and they can end up with an addiction to alcohol and co-occurring depression. Those who experience depression and alcoholism (or other form of substance abuse) have what is commonly known as dual diagnosis. Dual diagnosis is a complex condition that requires specialized and intensive treatment through a drug treatment facility.
How To Find Treatment for Depression and Alcoholism
The deeper answer to the question can alcoholism affect depression is that it significantly impacts the physical, mental, and emotional well-being of the alcoholic. If you or a loved one are dealing with the co-occurring disorders of substance abuse and depression, you must seek dual diagnosis treatment. This specialized form of treatment combines substance abuse and mental health treatment under one roof. Addiction treatment professionals and mental health clinicians work together to design and individualized treatment program that features the following components:
- Medical detoxification
- Individual, group, and family therapy
- Medication management
- Life and coping skills training
- 12-step or similar self-help groups
- Additional mental health counseling
As one of Utah’s premier dual diagnosis facilities, Spirit Mountain Recovery features evidence-based dual diagnosis care tailored to fit your specific and unique needs. Our 5-star facility fuses tried-and-true traditional treatment methods with outdoor experiential programs such as equine therapy, hiking, biking, fishing, camping, swimming, paddle boarding, golf, skiing, pickleball, basketball, CrossFit gym, meditation, and yoga.Our goal is to help you address and better manage your dual diagnosis while healing the body, mind, and spirit. Don’t struggle with depression and alcoholism any longer; call us today and begin your journey to wellness and healing.