Alcohol depression is both the result of alcohol abuse and the reason why people drink a glass more and more often. What are the symptoms of alcohol depression? How can you help someone struggling with addiction and a mood disorder at the same time?
What is alcohol depression?
Alcohol depression is a broad concept that covers two types of affective disorders – primary or secondary. In this context, the following dependencies can be distinguished:
primary depression, which is the cause of secondary alcoholism (about 10 percent of cases)
primary alcoholism, which causes secondary depression (9 out of 10);
It is also possible the coincidence of both diseases without clear points of contact, such situations are rare. Anyway, in each of the above-mentioned cases the final symptoms are similar to classic depression, but with a strong addiction component, with all the additional consequences.
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Secondary alcohol depression
Secondary alcohol depression resulting from addiction has an extremely complex pathomechanism, which may include biochemical as well as psychosocial factors.
The most frequently mentioned causes of secondary depression are:
- negative, two-phase influence of alcohol on the central nervous system,
- vitamin deficiencies, especially those from group B, causing endocrine disorders, including in particular the secretion of neurotransmitters crucial for mood and activity, such as serotonin, noradrenaline and dopamine,
- the destructive effect of combining acetaldehyde with biogenic amines in the human body,
- stimulating the mechanism of the so-called kindling, i.e. electrophysiological changes in the brain (in the amygdala), causing attacks of depression, epilepsy and delirium,
- alcohol craving when the body begins to demand another dose of “consolation”,
- psychosocial factors, such as: environmental ostracism, progressive loneliness, personal and professional problems increasing due to alcoholism, feeling of guilt related to the realization of alcoholism;
Secondary depression is usually very severe. It is accompanied by permanent changes in the neurological system.
Primary Alcohol Depression
Primary alcohol depression is a situation where the disorder occurred first, and its development and attempts to cope with a drop in mood led to alcohol abuse and the gradual development of addiction. This is a situation in which alcohol de facto becomes a drug, but extremely badly coordinated.
Depression in itself does not cause alcoholism, but it undoubtedly makes people more susceptible to addiction. It has been noted that drinking problems, if not environmental, are largely a function of factors such as:
- tiredness with a bad mood, willingness to quickly improve mood,
- inability to cope with stress and life failures,
- anxiety, thoughts of suicide,
- subjectively perceived lack of perspectives, sense of lack of meaning in life,
- low self-esteem,
- excessive criticism and excessive expectations towards oneself,
- loneliness in a personal and social dimension;
How long does alcohol depression last?
How long does alcohol depression last? It is impossible to answer this question fully satisfactorily. Only the lower limit can be defined – it is two weeks. This is due to the generally accepted definition of an affective disorder such as depression.
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On the other hand, the upper limit practically does not exist – correlated and untreated diseases may last indefinitely, even until the end of life, possibly premature.
This is a tragic coincidence, considering that alcoholism is a disease that, in the medical sense, never comes out (you can only abstain, but you are an alcoholic until death), and depression itself can digest the mind and the body for many years. years, even more so if it is fed with high-percentage fuel.