Alcohol Use Among Depressed Patients: The Need for Assessment and Intervention PMC

This treatment approach is more direct than medications and can produce excellent results. Recent research indicates that physical exercise can be just as effective if not potentially more effective in treating depression than antidepressants in some cases. Exercising for just five minutes made a positive impact, regardless of the intensity. Walking, running, jogging, and even gardening can help reduce the severity of depressive symptoms. Atypical medications, also referred to as second-generation antipsychotics, have become some of the most prescribed medication to help treat depression. Antipsychotic medications are used in small doses concurrently with other antidepressants to help heighten the effects of the primary medication and increase serotonin levels.

  • However, when the effects of alcohol wear off, a toll is taken on the mind, which can have consequences on the regulation of brain chemistry.
  • If you’re also struggling with depression, having experienced peers or a trusted professional to talk to can make a big difference.
  • If you’re having suicidal feelings, you can call Samaritans free any time.
  • Just as treating an alcohol use disorder without treating depression does not typically result in successful outcomes.

A study from the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism also found that people with an AUD were 2.3 times more likely to have experienced symptoms of depression over the previous year. Due to the high prevalence of concurrent AUD and depression, it is important to know the signs and symptoms of both disorders so treatment can be sought as soon as possible. Certain theories give rise to the expectation that alcoholics might have high rates of long-term, independent anxiety and depressive disorders (Wilson 1988). Perhaps as a result of the influence of these theories, psychotherapists frequently reported deep-seated emotional difficulties or persisting psychiatric symptoms in alcoholics, even when alcohol-dependent people were sober. Among heavy-drinking depressed patients, readiness to change drinking behavior may be influenced not only by expectancies regarding alcohol use, but also by beliefs about the effects of alcohol use on their depressive symptoms.

Can Alcohol Cause Anxiety or Make it Worse?

The greater the amounts of alcohol consumed and the more regular the intake, the more likely a person will be to develop temporary anxiety and depressive symptoms. As consumption increases even more, these symptoms also are likely to intensify. A key premise of interventions based on motivational interviewing is that ambivalence is normal (Miller & Rollnick, 1991). The assumption is that an individual would not be engaging in a given https://ecosoberhouse.com/ behavior if it did not serve some function. Brief alcohol interventions can address ambivalence directly by asking patients about both the pros and cons of their current drinking levels. In addition, the therapist can help patients to understand the nature of the connection between heavy drinking and the symptoms of depression that they are experiencing, which may help to tip the balance in favor of making a change in alcohol use.

However, significant gaps remain in our understanding of these two disorders, and these gaps present important opportunities for future research. Depression medications, like Lexapro, Celexa, and Prozac, for example, are strong SSRIs that raise the amount of serotonin in the brain. Although some doctors do allow for one to two drinks with antidepressants, it is essential to be mindful of the fact that alcohol interacts with these drugs in a potentially perilous way. Alcohol also increases the risk of depression during the withdrawal/detox period. As the brain struggles to return to balance, depression can become a prominent symptom.


The few studies that have examined the association between alcohol use and depression have found that alcohol use negatively impacts depression even among samples who drink moderately (Hoencamp et al., 1998; Sherbourne, Hays, & Wells, 1995; Worthington et al., 1996). Furthermore, there is likely to be significant individual variation in the level at which alcohol use negatively impacts depressive symptoms and depression treatment. Therefore, clinicians may need to does alcohol make depression worse conduct a thorough idiographic assessment to determine the potential influence of alcohol use on depressive symptoms and other functioning for each patient and make recommendations regarding drinking that are consistent with that assessment. Alternatively, clinicians may choose to recommend at least temporary periods of abstinence for their depressed patients. For many depressed patients, drinking may interfere with the successful treatment of their depression.

Canada gets new guidelines to recognize and treat high-risk drinking – CBC News

Canada gets new guidelines to recognize and treat high-risk drinking.

Posted: Mon, 16 Oct 2023 07:00:00 GMT [source]

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