Clinical depression is a serious mental condition which is chronic and lifelong. Alcohol abuse often occurs in conjunction with depression because it is used to numb psychological pain or ‘put feelings to sleep’. The question is: Does alcohol make depression worse or does depression make alcohol abuse worse? Both are possible.
People suffering from depression can often have a form of masked depression where they continue to perform daily tasks in a high-functioning manner before they either seek professional treatment or develop co-morbid conditions that can result in addiction. Dealing with depression is really hard, because on the outside people may appear perfectly normal and in control. The turmoil of emotion they feel on the inside includes the following:
Symptoms of depression:
- A foreboding sense of hopelessness
- Inescapable anxiety
- Apathy and a disinterest in activities and hobbies they previously enjoyed
- General discontent both at home and work
- Mood swings or aggression
- Changes in sleeping patterns
- Weight gain or weight loss
- Social isolation
- Negative self-talk
- Low self-esteem
As a way to cope, self-medicating becomes an escape. A shot of ‘liquid courage’ or an after-work glass of wine can too easily become a habit. This kind of behaviour can lead to addiction as a means of numbing psychological pain. Substance abuse can provide a temporary release from negative all-prevailing emotions.
Alcohol is a depressant which means that any already existing depression will be compounded. A person suffering from a Depressive Episode where symptoms prevail for two weeks may develop Major Depressive Disorder and this could further lead to Severe Recurrent Depression which is a lifelong chronic illness.
The Endless Cycle
Finally a relationship with a substance becomes a reality as the person becomes more and more isolated from society often losing contact with friends and family. This is another reason why, when entering a rehab or treatment centre, it is vital that family members are also treated in family therapy.
There is another aspect to this which includes getting an addict or alcoholic into rehab. This may require a workplace intervention which can be particularly challenging. However, it makes good business sense to assist and help an employee who after going to rehab, will really understand and appreciate the value of their work.
If dependency on a substance becomes the driving force behind a person’s motivation, action must be taken. But psychiatric and psychological treatment for depression is even more important to ensure long-term recovery. If you are suffering from Depression or someone that you know is, don’t hesitate to contact us and speak to one of our experienced counsellors.
Working With Alcohol Use Disorders
After volumes of research into treating addiction, speaking to experts around the world and practically standing on the front line of hundreds of addiction treatment cases over the last 6 years, our experience has culminated into the formulation of our flagship rehab centre in Cape Town. The Recovery Direct programme is designed to be the most sustainable addiction treatment programme in South Africa, if not the world.
Through the recovery and personal journeys of so many families and individuals struggling with substance use disorders or compulsive and destructive behaviours, we have formulated a distinctly unique approach for viable addiction treatment in our centres.
This approach is based on insights into mass research psychology and Recovery Direct is the ultimate in appreciative care solutions. We are a non 12 step rehab centre that is focused on resolving patients’ actual problems through trauma and pain resolution as well as dismantling the destructive forces that are driving their addictions.