Alcohol use disorder and depression National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism NIAAA

Patients with alcohol dependence or SUD usually suffer from treatment-resistant depression, particularly patients abusing opioids. Combined psychotherapy with anti-depressants and dependence medications can result in best patient outcomes, where SSRI use was commonly studied. Interestingly, telecommunication and computer-based sessions had a higher effect than face-to-face sessions. As a result, such methods should be utilized further with future programs along with the combined therapy approach. Future studies are needed to assess the role of other anti-depressants combined with psychotherapy for patients with alcohol dependence and SUDs as well as study it within the computerized setting. On the other hand, Pettinati et al. illustrated that a combination of sertraline, an SSRI, with naltrexone as a treatment for alcohol dependence would result in higher alcohol discontinuation rates and a significant reduction in depression symptoms, with acceptable incidence of side effects [22].

  1. This may be because MDD is one of the most common conditions in the general population.
  2. What’s more, one can make the other worse in a cycle that’s pervasive and problematic if not addressed and treated.
  3. The co-occurrence of AUD and another mental health disorder can complicate the diagnoses and negatively impact the clinical course of both conditions.
  4. According to the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fifth Edition (DSM-5), if depression symptoms persist after one month without consuming alcohol, then a different depressive disorder diagnosis would apply.

Often, people turn to alcohol to help relieve their depression symptoms. The two conditions often co-occur with anywhere between 33% and 63.8% of people with AUD also having depression. People who have both tend to have more severe symptoms than those who have only one disorder.

Nor did a review of several recent studies by Fyer and colleagues1 and Noyes and colleagues1 reveal high rates of alcoholism in relatives of people with social phobia or other anxiety disorders (Schuckit and Hesselbrock 1994). Depression is a common psychiatric disorder that can occur at different age groups [6]. Although there are multiple medications used for managing depression, treatment success is usually low, especially in patients with alcohol dependence or SUDs [9]. Hence, some studies have investigated different treatment modalities and examined depression treatment outcomes in these patients. The present review investigated the outcomes of depression treatment in patients with alcohol dependence or substance use.

Address negative feelings when they come up

However, major depressive disorder is the most common co-occurring disorder among people who have AUD, partly because it is among the most common disorders in the general population. A recent report from the Collaborative Study on the Genetics of Alcoholism (COGA) focused on 591 personally interviewed relatives of alcohol-dependent men and women (Schuckit et al. 1995). After controlling for potential alcohol-induced anxiety conditions in relatives, the lifetime risk for any major anxiety disorder in the male and female relatives of alcoholics was between 6.7 and 6.9 percent, rates not different from those expected in the general population. Neither male nor female relatives showed increased risks for obsessive-compulsive disorder, social phobia, panic disorder, and/or agoraphobia.

Once you begin your healing journey, it’s important to engage in self-care. Researchers agree that alcohol and depression have a bidirectional relationship, meaning that depression can cause overuse of alcohol, but overuse of alcohol can also cause depression. Our experts continually monitor the health and wellness space, and we update our articles when new information becomes available. Alcoholics anonymous (AA) and alcohol treatment centers offer classes and support group meetings.

Electroconvulsive Therapy (ECT)

When patients report mood symptoms, it helps to clarify the possible relationship with alcohol use by asking, for example, about mood symptoms prior to starting alcohol use and on extended periods of abstinence. In addition, ask about current and past suicidal ideation or suicide attempts, as well as the family motivational enhancement therapy techniques history of mood disorders, AUD, hospitalizations for psychiatric disorders, or suicidality. Here, we briefly describe the causes and effects of co-occurrence, the mental health disorders that commonly co-occur with AUD, and the treatment implications for primary care and other healthcare professionals.

Finding Treatment for Alcohol Addiction and Depression

You might feel a little unwell physically, but as long as the room doesn’t spin when you stand up, try to get outside for a short walk — or a longer one, if you can manage it. If you tend to rely on alcohol to ease anxiety in social situations, for example, you might never address the underlying causes of your discomfort. As a result, any troubles you’re facing, from work stress to relationship issues, may get worse. Since alcohol can cloud your brain, it can keep you from seeing helpful solutions to problems.

It includes mindfulness as a strategy to manage discomfort as it occurs. CBT is a great option for  overcoming depressive thoughts and developing new strategies for coping with depression outside of alcohol use. When you have healthy habits in place to cope with unwanted feelings, you’ll probably find it easier to use these strategies to push back against distressing emotions you might experience while drinking. Drinking water may not have a direct impact on feelings of depression, but rehydrating can absolutely help you start feeling better physically. As hangover symptoms begin to subside, the emotional effects may follow.

Alcohol use disorder and depression are two conditions that often occur together. What’s more, one can make the other worse in a cycle that’s pervasive and problematic if not addressed and treated. Whether you’re experiencing depression or not, it’s essential to evaluate your drinking habits and consider why you drink, when you drink, and how you feel when you drink. “In our society alcohol is readily available and socially acceptable,” says Jill Bolte Taylor, PhD, author of Whole Brain Living, explains. “Depression and alcohol misuse are often tied because we take a depressant to counter a chemical depression which only makes it worse.” Explore Mayo Clinic studies testing new treatments, interventions and tests as a means to prevent, detect, treat or manage this condition.

In particular, for patients with more severe mental health comorbidities, it is important that the care team include specialists with the appropriate expertise to design personalized and multimodal treatment plans. Quitting drinking on its own often leads to clinical improvement of co-occurring mental health disorders, but treatment for psychiatric symptoms alone generally is not enough to reduce alcohol consumption or AUD symptoms. Among people with co-occurring AUD and psychiatric disorders, AUD remains undertreated, leading to poorer control of psychiatric symptoms and worse outcomes. Similar results have been generated from some, but not all, studies of alcoholism in relatives of patients with severe anxiety disorders.

Among those with AUD, about 15-30% overall have co-occurring post-traumatic stress disorder, with increased rates of 50-60% among military personnel and veterans.28 The two conditions may worsen each other. Thus, here, too, it’s important to be cognizant of the signs of PTSD in patients with AUD, and vice versa. There are a multitude of different treatment options available for those struggling with depression and an alcohol use disorder. It is important to understand that while it can be helpful to know the different types of treatments available, what is most important is deciding to seek treatment in the first place. TMS is a newer procedure used when an individual’s depression symptoms have been resistant to more traditional forms of treatment. TMS uses magnetic pulses to stimulate parts of the brain to increase neurotransmitter production, similar to how medications are intended to act.

Your primary care provider can refer you to a therapist, but you can also try directories, such as this one through Psychology Today. Taking action to manage negative emotions as you experience them can help keep them from getting too overwhelming. Exercise often provides a natural mood boost, so you’ll probably feel better once you get moving.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *