The social acceptance of alcohol means that it is one of the most commonly used substances in America. Unfortunately, this also means that many people turn to alcohol when they cannot handle the stress and challenges of their lives. Some people also cope with mental illnesses, such as depression, by using alcohol, which can often result in addiction. When mental illness and addiction coincide, it is known as a dual diagnosis. A dual diagnosis can be especially harmful and, in the long-term, can be catastrophic for your health and social life. If you’re struggling with both depression and alcohol, it is important to seek treatment from a dual diagnosis treatment center like Atlanta Center for Mental Health.
With Atlanta Center for Mental Health, you can access treatment for both depression and alcohol. Our staff understands the unique complexities of dual diagnosis and are prepared to give you the treatment you need to recover. The first step is calling us at 833.625.0458 or completing our online form.
What Is Depression?
While almost everyone experiences some brief low moments in life, many individuals experience these low periods more frequently or persistently. Over time, the condition worsens and interferes with a person’s everyday activities in various ways. These disruptions may start small, such as a slight decrease in social activities or diminished enjoyment from activities you like, but can slowly spread to other areas of your social, work, or family life. This can signify depression, which is a common occurrence that affects many people. Several factors can trigger depression and may include:
- Issues in a relationship, such as with a parent, child, or spouse
- Divorce, homelessness, joblessness, or other major life changes
- Abuse of alcohol
The symptoms of depression can range from mild to severe and can occur briefly or over an extended period. The most noticeable symptom is a depressed mood, but over time a depressed person likely will exhibit other symptoms, such as:
- Changes in appetite
- Sleeping too much or not enough
- A loss of energy
- Decreased interest in activities they once enjoyed.
In severe cases, these symptoms can last for months and take a significant toll on a person’s health and relationships. In such cases, a depression treatment program can help alleviate symptoms.
How Alcohol Affects Your Mind
Alcohol changes the chemical balance in your brain because it’s a depressant. From the moment the first sip enters your body, it begins to affect the inhibitory part of your mind. Although it can make you temporarily relaxed and confident, continued and more frequent drinking further changes your mental state. As more alcohol enters the bloodstream, you may experience pleasant effects or feelings of euphoria. However, once there’s a high alcohol concentration affecting your brain, you may no longer experience the pleasant effects of the drink. Instead, you will be overwhelmed with negative emotions, such as anxiety, anger, and depression. More frequent uses of alcohol, often in an attempt to purge the depression or anger, can become a downward spiral leading to further depression and alcohol addiction.
As a result, alcohol can begin to take a large toll on your mental health. Some of the side effects brought on by alcohol over long periods can include:
- Increases in risky behavior
- Increases in aggression
- Memory loss
- Problems with learning
- Exacerbated depression or anxiety
- Self-harm and suicide
Symptoms of Depression and Alcohol Addiction
Alcohol depresses the Central Nervous System (CNS), leading to the slowing down of the body and mind. In most cases, chronic use enhances depression that only worsens over time if the addict fails to seek prompt treatment at a depression treatment program.
According to the National Institute on Drug and Alcohol Abuse (NIDA), addicts suffering from alcoholism and depression exhibit specific symptoms, such as:
- Extreme cravings
- High tolerance
- Self-care negligence
- Adverse mood swings
- Incoherent speech
Fortunately, these symptoms can be treated in our dual diagnosis treatment center. Expect several treatment modalities, including:
- Alcohol addiction treatment
- Depression treatment
- Cognitive-Behavioral therapy
- Dialectical behavior therapy
- Family therapy
- Individual therapy
- Group therapy
How a Depression Treatment Program Can Help
There is a link between depression and alcohol use, but it’s usually challenging to identify the root causes of dual diagnosis disorders as each person faces unique circumstances. Numerous studies reveal that alcohol affects some nerves that are critical in mood regulation, leading to depression. Therefore, addicts can improve their moods by reducing or stopping alcohol consumption.
Experts caution against mixing prescription depression medicine with alcohol. Some medications may increase the chances of relapse to alcohol addiction when you’re trying to quit the habit or may even be dangerous when combined with alcohol.
If you suffer from depression due to alcohol abuse, quitting the dangerous habit can improve your mood. For example, most people observe a significant difference in their lives by cutting down on alcohol consumption for at least four weeks. Decreasing alcohol use makes you feel better; thus, you’ll perform daily activities without much challenge. A depression treatment program like the one at Atlanta Center for Mental Health can get you on the road to recovery.
The best way to overcome alcohol addiction is to seek an individual therapy program at a dual diagnosis treatment center. This is necessary because it is extremely challenging to stop alcohol addiction without professional help due to the unpleasant withdrawal symptoms.
Dual Diagnosis Treatment For Depression and Alcohol Addiction
Depression and alcohol addiction takes a toll on your life by impacting it in several negative ways. Apart from the painful physical symptoms, alcohol abuse affects relationships with spouses, family members, and colleagues. Trying to quit drinking without a medically supervised program usually leads to relapse. Visit Atlanta Center for Mental Health today for treatment, guidance, and counseling. Contact us at 833.625.0458 to schedule an appointment or fill out our online intake form.