Can Alcohol Cause Depression?

If you or someone close to you struggles with alcohol, you might notice that long-term consumption leads to feelings of depression. This looks different for everyone. 

  • Some people drink and feel depressed while they drink
  • Some people drink and feel depressed after they drink
  • Some people feel depressed in between drinking

There is a significant relationship between alcohol and depression. It’s common for people with depressive disorders to also struggle with alcohol abuse, especially when they use alcohol for self-medication. Studies indicate that over 60% of people with depression also have moderate to severe alcohol addictions. But can alcohol cause depression? If so, how does alcohol cause depression?

What is Depression?

Depression is a mental health disorder. Everyone feels sad now and again, overwhelmed or hopeless, especially in times of challenges like losing a job, losing a loved one, moving to a new place, or experiencing financial strain. But in these cases, that depression is temporary or acute. It is associated with a specific event and will disappear as circumstances change.

When it doesn’t go away and isn’t linked to a defining circumstance, it results from a mental health disorder. 

  • Depression is related to changes in brain function and neural connections. 
  • It can also be caused by a lack of a healthy social environment, psychological changes like childbirth or pregnancy, environmental changes, genetics, or substance abuse.
  • It is characterized by changes to sleep and appetite, low self-esteem, low energy, a loss of interest in activities, hopelessness, and possibly suicidal thoughts.
  • Depression can be treated with therapy, medication, or a combination of the two.

What is Alcoholism?

Alcoholism or alcohol addiction is a mental health disorder characterized by an uncontrollable consumption of alcohol. Everyone of age can drink now and again when celebrating social events or out with friends, even at a nice dinner. But in these cases, the drinking is limited, maybe one drink at dinner or two drinks at an event.

When the drinking isn’t linked to a specific event, and it is habitual, can’t be controlled, and interferes with daily abilities, it’s the result of an addiction.

  • Alcoholism can change brain function and neural connections.
  • Alcoholism causes people to crave alcohol, remain physically and emotionally dependent on it, and be unable to stop their consumption even when they know it causes problems.
  • Alcoholism can be treated with , therapy, medication, and group support.

But can alcohol cause depression?

Does Alcohol Cause Depression?

Yes, in some cases. How can alcohol cause depression? It has to do with the way depression and alcohol affect your brain.

Depressive disorder happens when you have changes to the neurochemicals in your brain and the size and structure of different parts of your brain, like the hippocampus or the amygdala. These changes can happen because of genetics, trauma, your environment, or exposure to drugs and alcohol.

How Does Alcohol Cause Depression?

Long-term alcoholism can affect the size and structure of the same parts of your brain. This means the more you drink and the more often you drink, the more likely you are to change your brain structure and function. As you do so, you are susceptible to developing depression.

Get Help with Centric Group

If you are wondering, “can drinking cause depression,” it might be time for you to reach out and get help. Centric Group can pair you with a rehab facility that offers specialized treatment for alcoholism and depression.

Alcoholism requires medication-assisted treatment during detox. This is a special form of detoxification that utilizes FDA-approved medications to help reduce the potential side effects like seizures, hallucinations, and delirium tremens, as well as ongoing FDA-approved medication to reduce cravings and prevent relapse.

Depression and alcoholism that existed at the same time need to be treated at the same time. With Centric Group, we do that through dual diagnosis services. Our dual diagnosis treatment centers provide medication and therapy to concurrently address addiction and mental health disorders. Depression is treated with specialty modalities like cognitive behavioral therapy or dialectical behavioral therapy. With our centers, you can get customized treatment plans that integrate medications, cognitive behavioral therapy, individual and group sessions, as well as medication-assisted treatment. When you reach out to Centric Group, we can help you find top-rated addiction treatment centers near you. Contact us today to learn more about addiction treatment services in Florida and other areas near you and how to find the best level of care for your needs.

High-quality behavioral healthcare treatment.


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