Alcohol and the Etiology of Depression American Journal of Psychiatry

Variations in this gene might put people at risk for both alcohol misuse and depression. If there is nobody in your personal life to fill this role, try joining a support group specifically for depression and/or anger. And, unlike with a friend or family member, you aren’t likely to be given advice or told that what you are feeling isn’t that bad. Instead, you’ll spend time with people who completely understand your situation. If you drink regularly to manage depression symptoms, it may have be beneficial to work with a therapist who specializes in treating co-occurring depression and alcohol use.

For the six-month baseline period, 64.5% of the sample reported no illicit drug use, and another 10.5% of the sample reported average use at less than one time per month; there was no significant between-condition difference. The most frequent drug used was marijuana; 30% of the sample reported use of this drug at least once during the six-month baseline period. With regard to baseline levels of anger, males scored at the 75th percentile and females at the 55th percentile on the STAXI-trait anger scale.

What causes depression and alcohol use disorder?

The study concluded that alcohol increased the odds of physical aggression in those men who had high trait anger and poor anger management skills. It also noted that sexual aggression was higher with alcohol depression and anger alcohol, even in men with low trait anger and reasonable anger management skills. A 2019 review reveals that depressive disorders are the most common mental health disorders in people with AUD.

Some experts also suggest that both depression and alcohol use disorders share underlying pathophysiology in that they are both neuroinflammatory conditions. Though depression is experienced by many, it can often go undiagnosed and untreated. You don’t have to battle the depression alone and relying on alcohol to make you feel better will only cause further pain. Reach out to a mental health professional to talk about treatment and strategies for dealing with depression. Alcohol and depression are connected in several ways, and the two often feed off of one another.

Alcohol-adapted Anger Management Treatment: A Randomized Controlled Trial of an Innovative Therapy for Alcohol Dependence

Major depressive disorder involves persistent and prolonged symptoms, but depression, in general, takes on many different forms. Depressive symptoms can result from life stressors, mental health conditions, medical conditions, and other factors. If you believe you’re susceptible of experiencing alcohol addiction or depression, you may want to speak with a mental health professional, such as a social worker, counselor, or therapist, about these concerns and how best to prevent or cope with these disorders. Drinking persistently and excessively can increase your risk of developing a major depressive disorder. It can also aggravate symptoms of pre-existing depression and endanger your health and mental health.

The journal Experimental and Clinical Psychopharmacology reports on studies showing that alcohol can increase aggression in both men and women, but more so in men. Alcohol impairs a person’s executive functioning, making it harder for them to think clearly and make rational decisions. Impulse control is affected, and individuals under the influence of alcohol may have a shorter fuse than they otherwise would. This is not to say that alcohol causes aggression, or serves to makes someone angry, in and of itself; however, it may be a contributing factor when it comes to difficulties controlling these emotions.

Getting Help for Co-Occurring Disorders

Substance-induced depression is different from major depressive disorder and, by definition, should improve once a person stops consuming substances (such as alcohol). Over time, your brain’s reward pathway builds tolerance and requires more and more dopamine (via alcohol) to feel pleasure. This can lead to addiction and feelings of depression in the absence of the rewarding substance. Previous trauma is also a risk factor for alcohol misuse and depression. Children who have major depression as a child may drink earlier in life, according to one study.

Alcohol consumption reduces negative emotional states, including anger, and is negatively reinforcing via tension reduction (Sher & Levenson, 1982). Anger also contributes to relapse via psychological and interpersonal influences. Enhancing anger management skills may improve coping with anger as well as enhance accessing other cognitive and behavioral coping skills disrupted by anger arousal.

With a kinder view toward yourself, you’ll be less likely to direct your anger inward. For this reason, self-compassion can be particularly helpful if your rage is directed inward. Drinking can seem like an easy way to cope with difficult emotions in the moment, but it’s generally not effective in the long run.

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