The Link between Alcoholism and Depression

By Jenna Chiavelli

Alcoholism and Depression

Alcohol Use Disorder is characterized by disordered drinking that leads to significant distress and changes in behavior. One of the strongest predictors of alcoholism is family history, as genetics can attribute to one’s predisposition to alcoholism. Underlying psychological disorders contribute to alcoholism as well as people turn to substances to numb pain. Socially speaking, one’s environment can lead to alcoholism if the environment favors a culture of drinking.

Addiction is a controlling disease and when mixed with depression, treatment can become even more complex. Depression is a common co-occurring disorder with at least 30%-40% of alcoholics experiencing a depressive disorder. Depression is a mood disorder which can generate persistent feelings of sadness, worthlessness, and pessimism, disrupting everyday life. The combination of addiction and depression is especially harmful as the conditions fuel each other.

Depression Contributing to Alcoholism

Substances like alcohol can be appealing to those suffering from depression, as alcohol’s sedating effects offer an escape from overwhelming feelings of sadness. This form of self-medication can temporarily relieve depressive symptoms, but this is not a permanent solution. Over time, the feelings of sadness linger despite the sedating effects of alcohol, leading those struggling with depression to increase their alcohol intake to suppress the pain. This dangerous cycle contributes to a substance abuse disorder.

Alcoholism Contributing to Depression

Alcohol releases neurotransmitters in the brain, resulting in the euphoric feeling of being drunk. As alcohol users consistently chase this high, the copious amount of alcohol is simultaneously limiting the brain’s ability to sustain neurotransmitters at normal levels. This disruption in the nervous system impacts one’s mood; therefore, when there is a reduction of neurotransmitters a person may feel symptoms of depression. Additionally, alcohol increases the duration and severity of depressive episodes and increases the likelihood of suicidal thoughts. 

Drinking alcohol also alters behavior and fuels acts of impulse. The consequences of one’s drunken actions may be overwhelming leading to feelings of sadness and shame. Heavy drinking can disrupt relationships and interfere with work, damaging one’s social sphere. The constant ramifications from drinking can easily contribute to depression as well.

Treatment for Co-Disorders

In some cases, removing alcohol from the equation is enough to relieve symptoms of depression. In other cases, therapy, rehabilitation, and medications may be necessary. It is important to note that medication alone will not effectively treat co-occurring depression and addiction. Therapy is required in order to understand what originally contributed to one’s depression/addiction. Gaining a deeper understanding to one’s emotions and history could help prevent a relapse in the future. Additionally, confiding in others and sharing stories of similar nature reminds people that they are not alone in their struggles, fostering a sense of community. With a little bit of help, it is possible to break the dangerous cycle of alcohol and depression.

If you or someone you know is seeking therapy for depression and/or addiction, please contact our psychotherapy offices in New York or New Jersey to talk to one of our licensed professional psychologists, psychiatrists, psychiatric nurse practitioners, or psychotherapists at Arista Counseling & Psychotherapy. Contact our Paramus, NJ or Manhattan, NY offices respectively, at (201) 368-3700 or (212) 722-1920 to set up an appointment. For more information, please visit http://www.counselingpsychotherapynjny.com/

Sources

https://www.addictioncenter.com/alcohol/alcohol-depression/#:~:text=At%20least%2030%25%2D40,of%20the%20symptoms%20of%20depression.

https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/addiction-recovery/202102/healing-depression-and-addiction

https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/basics/alcohol

Image

Mental Illness in Young Adults

By: Melissa Molina

You may think you’re all grown up, you might even be the tallest you’ll ever be at this point in your life but young adults, ages 18 to 29, are still experiencing cognitive development. Brain development does not stop once you reach 18. In fact, the cognitive growth process is only half way done. Parental controls, attending college, changes and experiences that happen to young adults in their early twenties can affect and significantly shape brain development. This is why mental illnesses can present at this time in life. 

Mental Illness envelops a wide assortment of issues that exist on a severity continuum. Some can be brief or temporary reactions to emergency or different encounters, while others are chronic conditions. Mental Illnesses have different causes and triggers and present in different ways.

Mental Illnesses that Commonly Present in Young Adults: 

  • Eating Disorders (anorexia,bulimia, bingeing) 
  • Addiction (opioids, tobacco, alcohol) 
  • Anxiety Disorders (social anxiety, generalized anxiety, phobias) 
  • Personality Disorders (antisocial, borderline personality disorder) 
  • Mood Disorders (bipolar disorders, major depressive disorder) 
  • Thought Disorders (schizophrenia)

Young adults are at a particularly vulnerable time in their development, which might give reason as to why 1 of every 5 is affected by mental illness. Given the right conditions, stress can trigger mental illness. 

Considering young adults’ brains are still developing, diagnosing mental illness and treating or managing it can improve chances of a great outcome. Most young adults with mental illness can learn to successfully manage symptoms and live happy lives with the right help.

If you or someone you know is struggling with a mental illness, please contact our psychotherapy offices in New York or New Jersey to talk to one of our licensed professional psychologists, psychiatrists, psychiatric nurse practitioners, or psychotherapists at Arista Counseling & Psychotherapy. Contact our Paramus, NJ or Manhattan, NY offices respectively, at (201) 368-3700 or (212) 722-1920 to set up an appointment. For more information, please visit http://www.counselingpsychotherapynjny.com/

Source: skylandtrail.org/onset-of-mental-illness-first-signs-and-symptoms-in-young-adults/

Image Source: images.app.goo.gl/4DkjJ5zpS5cuFP747 

Depression: Can it be Effectively Treated in Adolescents without Medication?

By Samantha Glosser

Although antidepressant medications are typically seen as the first course of treatment for adolescents diagnosed with depression, many families do not want their kids to begin taking medication. This could be because of personal values and beliefs or because they cannot afford medication. In addition, almost half of all adolescents who begin treatment with medications eventually discontinue use due to the side effects or because they feel that it is not benefiting them enough. If you decide that medication isn’t right for your child, there are other options that are effective. One clinically proven method used to treat depression in adolescents is cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT).

CBT is a short-term, goal-orientated therapy that focuses on changing patterns of thinking and behaviors that contribute to the patient’s issues. For example, your teenager may feel depressed because they are distorting the importance of certain events. This could start as simply getting a D on their final. However, their thoughts soon begin to spiral, and they begin to think that with this D on their transcript they will never be able to get into college or get a good job. CBT works by challenging this maladaptive thought pattern and teaches patients to replace these thoughts and consider alternative viewpoints. Recent studies have shown that CBT can be just as effective in treating depression as antidepressant medications and will lead to increased moods in adolescents. If you and your child have come to the decision that medication is not right for them, cognitive-behavioral therapy is an effective treatment plan that just might be the right fit for your needs.

If you or someone you know appears to be suffering from attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), licensed psychologists, psychiatrists, psychiatric nurse practitioners, and psychotherapists at Arista Counseling & Psychotherapy can assist you. Contact our Paramus, NJ or Manhattan, NY offices respectively, at (201) 368-3700 or (212) 722-1920 to set up an appointment. For more information, please visit http://www.counselingpsychotherapynjny.com/.

Martin, B. (2018, April 04). In-Depth: Cognitive Behavioral Therapy. Retrieved from https://psychcentral.com/lib/in-depth-cognitive-behavioral-therapy/?li_source=LI&li_medium=popular17.

Wood, J. (2018, January 21). For Teens, CBT in Primary Care Can Be Cost-Effective Versus Meds. Retrieved from https://psychcentral.com/news/2018/01/20/cognitive-behavioral-therapy-cost-effective-for-teens-who-decline-antidepressants/131463.html.