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The Relationship Between Alcohol Abuse and Depression

Press Release

It’s quite common for adults to enjoy a glass of wine after a stressful day to enable relaxation. When this behavior occurs on an occasional basis and the individual does not drink to excess, it isn’t considered alcohol abuse. However, some individuals may consume alcohol immoderately as a primary coping mechanism for depression and anxiety, rather than address the underlying causes of their depression. For these individuals, it may be helpful to find an addiction treatment program that explores these underlying causes of emotional imbalance.

Depression as a Cause of Alcohol Abuse

The link between alcohol abuse and depression is much like the chicken and egg question: which comes first? People who are depressed may be more likely to abuse alcohol, yet those who abuse alcohol are also more likely to suffer from depression. Researchers studying the issue have learned that children and teenagers who experience depression are more likely to abuse alcohol later in life. This research strongly suggests that depression is a major contributing factor of alcohol abuse. Depression as an instigator of substance abuse may be particularly compelling in women, who may be more likely than men to drink immoderately to cope with stress.

Alcohol Abuse as a Cause of Depression

However, researchers have not ruled out alcohol abuse itself as a major contributor to depression. In fact, many studies point to the direct neurotoxic effects in the brains of those with this problem. These effects can increase the risk of developing bouts of severe depression. Furthermore, alcohol abuse creates problems involving relationships, personal finances, and legal difficulties, all of which can also increase the risk of depression.

At Las Encinas Hospital, our addiction specialists believe strongly in the value of patient and family education for overcoming substance abuse. Our addiction treatment program offers a positive and supportive atmosphere in which to address the reasons for a person’s addiction. Contact our location in Pasadena at (888) 348-2165 to speak with an addiction specialist.