How To Recognize Alcohol Depression

For quite a few people, regular alcohol use is a normal part of life.  For a sizable subset of those people, alcohol use can develop into an abuse issue, which has significant impacts on all other areas of life.

Depression is a serious and long-lasting side effect of chronic alcohol use.  Alcohol and depression are so closely linked together that there are relatively few alcoholism sufferers who do not also experience bouts of mild or serious depression as well.  Alcohol is in a class of substances frequently referred to as depressants, which act negatively on the nervous system over time by leaching our metabolism of B-vitamins (which are necessary to help regulate mood).  This leaching of the vitamins necessary to maintain positive mood is sometimes referred to as alcohol depression.

Is it possible "catch" alcoholism from your family members?  Is depression hereditary?  The answer to both questions is "yes," with an important caveat.  While our genes play a large role in determining if we will develop depression or alcoholism, our environment and personal choices are equally important.  It's the familiar "nature vs. nurture" question - the answer, unequivocally, is that both factors play a large role in our life outcomes.

If you're wondering whether your alcohol use is becoming a problem, here are a few warning signs to help you determine if you ought to do something about your situation.

  1. If you feel like you might have a problem with alcohol or depression, you most likely do.  It's always best to seek professional help in this case.
  2. If you find yourself starting to drink earlier and earlier in the day, or if you drink nearly every day, this is a clear warning sign.
  3. Looking forward to the end of your workday in order to have a drink is another large warning sign.
  4. If nothing in life feels enjoyable unless you're under the influence of alcohol, this is an unambiguous sign that you need to get help right away.
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