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The Mood-Boosting Effects Of Drinking May Lead People To Wonder Is Alcohol An Antidepressant

When you ask people why they consume alcohol, they may tell you that going out drinking with friends improves their mood, leading you to wonder is alcohol an antidepressant.

People may feel that alcohol is an antidepressant, because drinking lowers their inhibitions and makes them feel relaxed and happy.

Some people may even use alcohol to self-medicate mental health problems like depression and anxiety, because alcohol makes them feel better, at least temporarily.

Unfortunately, over the long term, alcohol can make mental health issues like depression even worse.

Despite the fact that people may feel better after drinking, the reality is that the answer to is alcohol an antidepressant is typically no.

Is Alcohol An Antidepressant Over The Short Term?

It is not unusual for people to report that they feel happy when they go out drinking with friends, but this does not mean that the answer to is alcohol an antidepressant is yes. Alcohol may temporarily make people feel better or forget about their problems, but alcohol itself can actually lead to a worse mood.

A January 2020 study in Addictive Behaviors found that when young adults drank alcohol and socialized, they experienced an increase in positive emotions at the end of the day, and negative moods decreased. When looking at specific variables within this study, the research team found that social interaction actually improved the young adults’ moods, and alcohol provided no additional benefits for mood.

Based upon this finding, it seems that interacting with friends may be an antidepressant, but alcohol itself does not really improve negative moods. Furthermore, the study found that the day after drinking, people did not experience as many positive moods, so the benefits of alcohol consumption, if there are any, seem to be short lasting and mostly because people tend to socialize when drinking. In conclusion, the answer to is alcohol an antidepressant seems to be no, but people may find that they temporarily feel better when drinking and having fun with others. It is important to remember that there are ways to socialize without involving alcohol.

When Considering Is Alcohol An Antidepressant, It Is Important To Know Alcohol’s Effects On Mental Health

If you are wondering is alcohol an antidepressant, you may be surprised to learn about alcohol’s negative effects on mental health. As the National Institutes of Health explains, alcohol changes the functioning of the brain, leading to psychiatric symptoms. Furthermore, this organization explains that during a bout of drinking, small quantities of alcohol may lead to a euphoric mood, but heavy drinking can lead to dramatic, negative shifts in mood, making a person feel sad or irritable. In this way, the answer to is alcohol an antidepressant is certainly no.

Over the long-term, alcohol abuse can also lead to symptoms that are representative of depression, which is not surprising given the fact that alcohol is a depressant. In summary, small quantities of alcohol may make a person feel happy, but over time, consistent, heavy alcohol use is actually more likely to make a person feel depressed.

The Link Between Alcohol And Depression Is Another Reason That The Answer To Is Alcohol An Antidepressant Is No

When people learn that drinking can initially lead to a euphoric mood, they may think that this means alcohol is a way to self-medicate for depression. Unfortunately, the answer to is alcohol an antidepressant is still no, even when someone is using it to boost their mood during periods of depression.

As previously mentioned, small amounts of alcohol may lead to a euphoric mood while a person is intoxicated, but large amounts can actually cause someone to feel sad. Furthermore, the positive effects of alcohol on mood typically occur only in the moment when someone is under the influence. On the other hand, the day after drinking, someone is actually likely to have a worse mood, according to research.

This means that any antidepressant effects of alcohol are limited to the short-term when someone has had a few drinks, but heavy drinking is likely to worsen a person’s mood. Given this fact, it is not surprising that alcohol and depression actually go hand-in-hand. According to one study in the Journal of Dual Diagnosis, people with alcohol addictions during their lives are more likely to also suffer from severe depression.

Coping With Alcohol And Depression

Given what is known about the effects of alcohol on mood and mental health, it seems reasonable to conclude that in most scenarios, the answer to the question is alcohol an antidepressant is no. Heavy amounts of alcohol can actually contribute to sadness, and the day after drinking, mood tends to be worse, even if it is temporarily higher when a person is out drinking in a social setting. Over time, alcohol can change the brain and increase a person’s risk of mental health symptoms, making it quite the opposite of an antidepressant. For people who already suffer with depression, alcohol may provide temporary relief, but over time, it is likely to make them feel worse, especially if they develop an alcohol addiction. When someone falls victim to an alcohol addiction, the clinical term used to describe it is an alcohol use disorder.

According to the National Institutes of Health, you may have an alcohol use disorder if you have some of the following symptoms: strong alcohol cravings, an inability to reduce drinking, giving up preferred activities in favor of drinking, failing to fulfill obligations at work or home due to alcohol, or drinking larger amounts of alcohol than intended. If you have these symptoms alongside depression, you are in need of alcohol rehab at a dual diagnosis center, where staff are qualified to treat both mental health issues and alcohol addiction.

Treatment for Alcohol Addiction and Depression

If you find that you are struggling with both alcohol addiction and depression, a dual diagnosis treatment provider can help you to develop the coping skills for overcoming both of these conditions. There are a variety of treatment options available for alcohol use disorders, and no single approach will work for everyone.

That being said, alcohol rehab is likely to involve group interventions, individual counseling, and perhaps medications. A specific type of therapy called cognitive-behavioral therapy can help you to change your ways of thinking and develop strategies for coping with the urge to drink. This type of counseling can also help you to overcome feelings of depression, making it ideal for those who require dual diagnosis rehab.

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California Dual Diagnosis Rehab

Resurgence California is equipped to meet the needs of those who are living with both depression and an alcohol addiction.

We are a dual diagnosis rehab center located in Orange County, and we offer detox, as well as inpatient and outpatient services.

Patients who stay with us for inpatient rehab receive their treatment in a homelike setting, where they have access to beautiful California beaches, outdoor amenities, and local shopping centers.

We provide each patient who comes through our doors with an individualized treatment plan, and we offer various counseling modalities, including cognitive-behavioral therapy.

During your stay at Resurgence, you will participate in educational workshops, group and individual counseling, therapeutic outings, and relaxation activities like yoga and meditation.

If you have been asking yourself is alcohol an antidepressant, you have probably learned that the answer is no, and today is the day to reach out for help, so you can live a life that is free from alcohol abuse and depression.

You might be concerned about covering the costs of treatment, but at Resurgence, we accept most major insurances, as well as private payments.

Contact us today to complete our free insurance verification program to learn what services your insurance plan covers and how much you can expect to pay for treatment.

Sources:

1) https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/31518752/
2) https://pubs.niaaa.nih.gov/publications/arh26-2/90-98.htm
3) https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/32657223/
4) https://www.niaaa.nih.gov/publications/brochures-and-fact-sheets/treatment-alcohol-problems-finding-and-getting-help

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