Alcohol and Antidepressants

Does alcohol addiction cause depression or does depression lead to alcohol addiction? The fact is it is not that straightforward; it is a vicious circle. Time and time again at Addiction Helper we speak to individuals who are sinking lower and lower into depression. These people are often taking anti-depressants in the hope that they will start to feel better and so will be able to stop drinking. However, there are a few facts that people need to be aware of:

Firstly, if anti-depressants are taken alongside alcohol, they will not be having the desired effect. Alcohol counteracts the chemicals in antidepressants that would normally help a person to feel better. Secondly, alcohol itself is a depressant. Whilst this may not be apparent in the short term, alcohol increases the symptoms of depression overall in the long term. Therefore, the vicious circle begins; the person feels low so they drink which makes them feel worse so they drink more, and this then spirals out of control.

It is better for everyone involved that any antidepressants prescribed are not mixed with alcohol. As well as not working, this combination can also cause problems physically. It can impair judgement and reaction times to a far greater extent than alcohol would alone, meaning the person may often put themselves in a vulnerable position. Some antidepressants also have a sedative effect, as does alcohol which could result in the person experiencing blackouts. There is also the fact that individuals suffering from depression have a higher risk of developing substance misuse difficulties.

Within the addiction field, it is recognised that one of the most important forms of alcohol help is aimed at the psychological side of addiction. It is important to deal with any underlying issues (including depression) along with the physical side of the addiction. This dual approached is offered most successfully in a residential rehab setting. The staff at alcohol clinics are on hand to talk about issues such as antidepressants, and can help the person to decide upon a treatment plan that is appropriate to them.

We can help you fight the dual diagnosis. Call our specialists for support and advice.

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