Blog - Beach House Rehab Center
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April 26, 2021

The Connection Between Alcoholism and Major Depression

Substance use and mental health disorders are complex diseases with many behavioral and emotional components. Factors such as genetics and the environment can play a role in whether someone develops these illnesses, which explains why some people can drink alcohol without issue and others go on to struggle with alcoholism and major depression.

Once your casual drinking has progressed into a full-fledged addiction, the resulting changes in brain chemistry can cause psychological and physical withdrawal symptoms when you try to walk away. The substance abuse cycle thus becomes self-perpetuating, and realizing you can’t stop on your own can lead to worsening depression. If you’re living with untreated alcoholism and major depression, you need professional treatment to reclaim your life.

Alcoholism and Major Depression: Which Came First?

You can imagine alcoholism and major depression like a pair of trees whose roots have grown so closely together they become intertwined. Depressed people who drink excessively to self-medicate can become addicted to alcohol, while alcoholics might develop depression stemming from their substance abuse disorder.

Severe depression brings debilitating symptoms, and alcohol can provide short-lived relief. However, you’ll soon discover drinking isn’t a practical solution to your problems. If left unaddressed, overwhelming depression will return, often worse than before. Continuing to abuse alcohol will exacerbate all your mental health issues, while making you physically ill as well. At this point, you’ll become more vulnerable to developing organ and tissue damage, high blood pressure, a compromised immune system and even some forms of cancer.

As your substance misuse problems compound, drinking will start to supplant all other hobbies. Even if you initially only drank in social settings, you may prefer to self-isolate and drink alone as your addiction progresses. Withdrawing from loved ones can cause you to sink further into depression as your relationships suffer.

Professional Treatment for Alcoholism and Major Depression

People living with addiction and mental health issues may discover the symptoms of their co-occurring disorders can ebb and flow over time. Compared with those who only struggle with one of these disorders, those with comorbidities may experience more challenges on the road to healing, and may also need to spend more time working through various issues. However, no matter how overwhelming these obstacles might feel, recovery is within your reach.

In the past, professionals often approached dual diagnoses by deciding which to tackle first, then treating them separately. However, we now know this method tends to be less successful, and in the worst-case scenario, it might lead to a relapse.

Finding relief from co-occurring conditions like alcoholism and major depression requires addressing them simultaneously. Dual-diagnosis treatment is a comprehensive approach to care for people struggling with a substance abuse disorder and depression. At Beach House, our professionals can teach you how to manage your illness via a combination of medication and evidence-based behavioral therapies. Our treatment team can design a tailored program to help you address the root causes of your alcoholism and major depression and learn to manage both simultaneously.

Take Back Your Life

The Beach House team knows addiction and depression are chronic diseases that deserve a complete continuum of care, including detox, residential treatment, an inpatient outpatient program and aftercare services for sustained recovery. Our philosophy is that people can learn to heal themselves from substance abuse and co-occurring disorders, but they require love and compassion to do so. That’s why we’ve created a culture that fosters connection and provides an ideal environment for mental, physical and spiritual recovery.

Our industry-leading 7-to-1 therapist-to-client ratio allows each client to form close relationships with every member of their treatment team. From the first moment you enter our sheltered beachfront campus, you’ll find a sanctuary where you can fully focus on healing. Contact our admissions counselors with all your questions about accredited addiction treatment in Florida.