While we have been covering a lot of simple topics recently, today’s is going to be a little heavy, and may touch on some emotionally tender spots for some of you. But, in the interest of having your welfare at heart, we are not going to shy away from this issue.
The first thing to note is that while they can be related, we are essentially talking about two issues here. Alcoholism, on its own, is recognised as a substance abuse issue, while depression is clearly a form of emotional disturbance. When someone is suffering from only one of these, treatment can be more straightforward. When both are involved, the story is different.
Lt’s begin with the basics. Dealing with depression means that you are feeling down over an extended period of time. With that come low energy, poor sleep and a general feeling of helplessness. It is unfortunate that a lot of people turn to either legal (e.g. Zoloft) and illegal (e.g. marijuana) drugs when this happen. Of course, some drink alcoholic beverages to ease the pain.
The really unfortunate thing is the fact that research shows that both illegal drugs and alcohol are known depressants. This is in spite of the buzz they may temporarily provide. Now on the subject of alcohol, truth be told, this is actually the worst possible strategy for dealing with depression. Feeling blue can be a direct outcome of substance abuse, which is well known. Also, alcohol use by people with a depressive disorder may increase the severity of their depression symptoms and thus should be avoided.
When consumed in moderation, alcohol may briefly produce a pleasant and relaxed state of the mind. We all know this, especially in Australian society where no one judges it when being used as a social lubricant. For depressed people, however, addiction might follow. This starts off like anything else, slowly but picking up intensity with time. After a while, tolerance to the effects of it may lead a patient of depression to drink more alcohol to get that same high.
Now, we all know excess alcohol intake can confuse judgment and make one more impulsive to take risks. This is because it causes a loss of inhibition, which unfortunately may increase aggressive behaviour and violent acts. Consequently, when used as a means to curb depression, it has the potential to lead to suicide.
So, what should one do if they feel they might have a problem with both alcohol and depression? The first is to admit that depressive symptoms resulting from alcohol is difficult to curb. However, as with anything, the more one works at it, the better the chances of success. It always helps to know the cause of one’s reckless desire to drink in the first place. These may be marital, financial or even spiritual problems. Therefore these issues should be addressed by competent counselling or reading self-help.
Some people also say that a simple fast or restricted diet on a seasonal juicy fruit can aid to detoxify the body of alcoholic tendencies. Now this may sound very unconventional, but it has been used successfully in helping some alcoholics give up excessive drinking. If it all seems too hard or too insurmountable, talking to a counsellor will help.
Another thing: physical exercise also goes a long way to first aiding in detoxifying the body and helping with both alcohol and depression as this method exercises the motor centres of the brain, making one becomes more receptive to positive thoughts. On that note of exercise, you have come to the right place. Subscribe to this blog for health-related and exercise tips, or simply grab a copy of the Granite Fitness Masterclass.
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Also published on Medium.
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