Alcohol and Mental Health
Alcohol has been an important part of our society and culture for many centuries. Across the country, people of all ages drink various amounts of alcohol daily.
In fact, according to a survey done by CNN back in 2013, Titled ‘World’s 10 best-drinking nations’, Uganda ranked 8th globally ahead of Germany and Australia at positions 9 and 10, respectively.
Some people say they drink alcohol to “drown their sorrows” after a bad breakup, job loss, or other major life stress. And yes, because alcohol makes you sleepy, a few beers or glasses of wine can seem to relax you and relieve anxiety.
A drink once in a while when you’re stressed out or sad is one thing. But when you need that bottle every time a problem crops up, it could be a sign of alcohol abuse.
There’s also a strong link between serious alcohol use and depression. The question is, does regular drinking lead to depression, or are depressed people more likely to drink too much? Both are possible.
Does Depression Drive You to Drink?
Nearly one-third of people with major depression also have an alcohol problem. Often, depression comes first. Research shows that depressed children are more likely to have problems with alcohol a few years down the road. Also, teenagers who’ve had a bout of major depression are twice as likely to start drinking as those who haven’t.
Drinking will only make depression worse. People who are depressed and drink too much have more frequent and severe episodes of depression and are more likely to think about suicide. Heavy alcohol use also can make antidepressants less effective.
Does Drinking Too Much Make You Depressed?
Alcohol is a depressant. That means any amount you drink can make you more likely sad. Drinking a lot can harm your brain and lead to depression.
When you drink too much, you’re more likely to make bad decisions or act on impulse. As a result, you could drain your bank account, lose a job, or ruin a relationship. When that happens, you’re more likely to feel down, particularly if your genes are wired for depression.
It probably won’t hurt to have a glass of wine or beer once in a while for social reasons unless you have a health problem that prevents you from drinking. But if you turn to alcohol to get you through the day, or if it causes trouble in your relationships, at work, in your social life, or with how you think and feel, you have a more serious problem.
Alcohol abuse and depression are both serious problems that you shouldn’t ignore. If you think you have a problem with either, talk to an understanding friend, partner, family member or psychologist. There are lots of choices when it comes to medication that treats depression, and there are drugs that lower alcohol cravings and counter the desire to drink heavily. Seeking help from a therapist or counsellor will probably treat both conditions together. You can also get help from a number of therapy and counselling centres in your area.
If you are suffering from serious emotional strain or suicidal thoughts, do not hesitate to seek professional help. You can find information on where to find such help, no matter where you live in the world, at this website: https://www.befrienders.org/.
References: WebMD Medical Reference, CNN, Mental Health Foundation