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There are two diagnoses of alcoholic depression: primary alcoholism with secondary depression and primary depression with secondary alcoholism. Looking at the statistics, only about 10% of people suffering from alcoholic depression have the onset of their illness in depression. The vast majority of people deal with the problem of depression only during the addiction period. Men are more likely to develop alcohol-related depression, although there is alarming data on the growing number of women with mental disorders and simultaneous alcoholism.

Alcohol Depressionis a mental disorder in which alcohol plays an important role. Apart from the symptoms typical of depression (depression, low self-esteem, lack of self-confidence, pessimism, guilt, suicide attempts, inability to experience pleasure, etc.), there is a strong addiction to alcohol. In this situation, depression affects alcoholism and drinking alcohol affects depression.

Depression can cause problems with alcoholism and develop as a complication of alcoholism. Compared to alcohol, depression is much more difficult to cure, so in order to win with it, you need not only the patient's willingness and strong will, but also the support of their relatives.


In these situations, we can talk about alcoholic depression:

  • Depression is a problem and the reason you turn to alcohol.In this case, depression developed earlier than alcoholism. Alcohol is supposed to help you fight the symptoms of depression (self-healing depression), but in fact - it can only make them worse. Alcohol drunk to improve well-being drives you into a vicious circle, because the body becomes more and more "anesthetized" and craves ever larger doses, which over time stop helping anyway. And the addiction stays.
  • Depression appeared during the addiction.Usually when the addict realizes how difficult his life situation is. Suicide attempts are a frequent consequence of this type of depression.
  • Depression appeared as a result of the sudden withdrawal of alcohol, on which the person was addicted.In this situation, depression is part of the withdrawal syndrome. Usually it is a mild form of depression - temporary (lasting about 3 weeks) and not requiring treatment.
  • Depression appeared during long-term abstinencewhenthe addicted person thinks that he has recovered from the addiction. Often, depression in this situation becomes the cause of the so-called dizziness, i.e. turning back from the way of not drinking and returning to the addiction.

Alcoholic depression - symptoms

Symptoms of alcoholic depression can vary from one situation to another. When depression occurs at the moment of a sudden withdrawal from alcohol, we are dealing here with the symptoms characteristic of the withdrawal syndrome. They occur within the first 36 hours of abruptly stopping alcohol.

These are, among others stress, irritability, insomnia, headaches, tremors, apathy, lack of appetite and in severe cases also: hallucinations, disturbance of consciousness, anxiety, delusions. Despite sudden and distressing symptoms, this type of alcoholic depression is usually not treated and is self-limiting.

Secondary alcoholic depression is a state of very malaise, which consists of such feelings as: deep pessimism, depression, insomnia, lack of meaning in life, slowdown, low self-esteem, lack of self-confidence, fatigue, lack of appetite, guilt, fears, lack of pleasure in carrying out activities that have so far enjoyed. As a consequence, it may lead to suicide attempts - also when using alcohol.

Alcoholic depression treatment

Treating alcohol depression is not easy. Often the symptoms of depression are well masked by alcoholism problems and are difficult to distinguish between them. The most important thing in treating alcoholic depression is to do it in two ways - it must address both depression and alcoholism. The fight must therefore be fought against addiction and mental disorders. Although it is difficult, it is the only solution that can effectively combat the disease.

It should be remembered that alcoholism has no cure. The goal of treating alcoholic depression is therefore to achieve permanent abstinence and regain the joy of life without alcohol. Treatment is most often carried out through pharmacologically supported psychotherapy.

The more difficult group with alcoholic depression to cure are those who suffer from a secondary form of this disease, i.e. mental disorders that appeared at the time of their addiction. Addiction to alcohol is extremely destructive here. The very course of the disease can be very severe and may result in a disability or death as a result of suicide attempts (this is how about 12% of severe alcohol depressions end). Depression in this case is very deep, much deeper than in nondrinkers. The reason why treatment is a huge challenge here is the widespread reluctance and distrust of doctors.In addition, there are also problems with taking medications (forgetfulness, intolerance or serious complications related to the simultaneous drinking of alcohol and taking medications). There is a high probability of damage to the brain and various internal organs.

For the treatment of alcoholic depression to have a chance of success, conditions must be met, the most important of which is the motivation to recover. If the sick person is aware of their condition and will unleash their willpower to deal with the disease - it is enough for him to consistently follow the advice of specialists. Since the group of addicts are people with low self-esteem and characterized by a lack of motivation to act, their relatives may be invaluable support for such people. Overcoming weaknesses together has a better chance of success.

Read also: Alcoholism - what are the first symptoms of alcoholism?

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