Alcoholism and Depression

The old saying, “Drowning your sorrows” makes sense when you consider the connection between alcoholism and depression. But not everyone with this dual diagnosis starts drinking because they feel overwhelmingly sad or low. In fact, many develop depression after prolonged use of alcohol, because of the effects alcoholic beverages have on the body and brain.

What is a dual diagnosis of alcoholism and depression?

A dual diagnosis disorder is simply the existence of two diagnosed conditions. These conditions occur at the same time or one of the illnesses triggers the other. For the co-occurring conditions of alcoholism and depression, the two problems tangle in a collection of life-damaging symptoms.

For either of your conditions to improve when you suffer a dual diagnosis, you need treatment for both. In alcoholism and depression or other mental health problems coupled with addiction, this treatment must take place for both diseases at the same time.

Sometimes treatment for alcohol addiction and depression requires medication. But for others, depression forms around grief or trauma. In such cases, a grief counseling program or other specific treatment heals the root cause of depression and long-term medication is not required.

If you do not get dual diagnosis treatment, the untreated disorder triggers the treated one into relapse. This is the cycle co-occurring conditions create.

Which of my dual diagnosis conditions came first?

With a dual diagnosis, it does not matter which condition came first. Many people want to know answers to their question of, “Did I drink as self-medication for depression or did drinking cause my depression?” But the answer is not an issue toward treatment or recovery. What affects you right now in your disease and will affect your future is what you need treated, to live the happier and healthier life you want.

All of this said, drinking does cause depression. It harms your brain by changing its structure and chemistry. This often leads to depressed mood and mental health disorders.

Drinking too much also leads to bad decision-making and impulsive behavior. In turn, you suffer a wide range of effects that fuel your depression further and make life more difficult. These effects include job loss, financial problems, relationship damage, and physical health problems or injuries.

Recovering from Alcoholism and Depression

You can recover from alcoholism and depression. You simply need the right treatment from a quality rehab facility that understands your co-occurring conditions. They must provide you with key therapies, medications as needed and other mental health services. These important programs and services include:

You can build a new life in recovery, despite the overwhelming conditions of alcoholism and depression that you suffer today. You simply need effective treatment designed for your dual diagnosis disorder. Contact Casa Palmera in West Los Angeles now to learn about treatment for alcohol dependence and co-occurring mental health problems.


This blog is for informational purposes only and should not be a substitute for medical advice. We understand that everyone’s situation is unique, and this content is to provide an overall understanding of substance use disorders. These disorders are very complex, and this post does not take into account the unique circumstances for every individual. For specific questions about your health needs or that of a loved one, seek the help of a healthcare professional.