Written by Nigel Ford
Alcohol is most commonly used in our society to help promote sociability, but many people also use it to numb undesirable feelings. Lots of people use anxiety to help them manage anxiety, depression, and stress.
What’s ironic about this is that alcohol abuse is actually known to cause depression. In the long-term, it certainly won’t help these problems – instead, it would make them worse. In this article, I’ll explain why.
How alcohol affects the body
The first thing that clues many people into alcohol’s ability to influence depressant is its drug classification: alcohol is considered a depressant drug.
For many people, however, the term depressant can be a bit of a misnomer. Depressants don’t just cause people to become depressed – if they did, nobody would use them. Rather, depressants are known to help slow (or depress) the effects of the central nervous system (CNS).
Because of alcohol’s ability to slow down the CNS, it has a remarkable ability to reduce anxiety – which is primarily caused by an over-excited nervous system. However, just because it can help people avoid their anxiety or depression in the short-term doesn’t mean that it can do so in the long-term.
How can alcohol cause depression?
There are several ways that alcohol can cause depression in both short- and long-term.
One of the most dangerous and life-threatening ways that alcohol can contribute to depression is by leading someone down the path of addiction. Alcohol is a highly addictive substance, and it is known to cause both physical and mental addictions.
● Physical addiction occurs when someone’s body becomes dependant on a substance – such as alcohol. If they aren’t able to get the drug in their system, they will experience withdrawal symptoms, like shaking, sweating, diarrhea, and anxiety.
● A mental addiction occurs when someone believes that they are unable to function without a drug or a substance.
Being addicted on its own can cause someone to be depressed. Recognizing that your life is controlled by a substance causes many people to feel powerless and unhappy. This, in turn, leads them to become more depressed.
This isn’t to mention the biological effects that alcohol can have on the brain. Alcohol affects the brain’s GABA system – a neurological system involved in helping to regulate feelings of anxiety, and to allow us to feel comfortable and at ease.
Constantly bombarding this system with alcohol eventually diminishes it, leading to imbalances in the system that may or may not be permanent. This can lead someone to develop serious problems with anxiety, stress, and yes – depression.
Furthermore, alcohol is known to cause people to blackout and behave in a manner that doesn’t suit them. This can lead to the loss of friends, jobs, or can cause irreparable damage in relationships that can cause someone to become depressed.
As you can see, several reasons can lead someone to become depressed after consuming alcohol. If you are worried about developing depression or exacerbating an existing depressive condition, your best bet is to avoid it altogether. If you or a loved one is struggling with alcoholism, seek treatment as soon as possible.