There is a relationship between depression and alcohol abuse. When someone is suffering from depression, whether it's long or short-term, they may engage in using alcohol to relieve the symptoms. The symptoms of depression can include:
o Feeling worthless, hopeless or helpless.
o Change in sleeping patterns - sleeping more or less than usual.
o Change in eating patterns - eating more or less than usual.
o Trouble making decisions and/or concentrating.
o Little interest in what used to be usual activities.
o Avoiding people.
o Lowered sex drive.
o Feeling exaggerated guilt.
o Overwhelming feelings of grief or sadness.
o Tired, loss of energy.
People with depressive symptoms will use alcohol to self-medicate - relieve the depression symptoms, relax, get a better view on life, and escape. Many times the drinker is not even remotely aware that the depression is present, but on some level does recognize that he or she feels better, at least in the short term, with the use of alcohol. The irony is alcohol is a central nervous system depressant, so it will actually make the depression worse.
Alcohol also interferes with your sleeping pattern in a negative way, and when the alcohol wears off, the drinker can end up with deeper depression, now accompanied by anxiety, irritability, and fatigue. So using alcohol to fend off depression can turn into an ongoing cycle. Depression, drinking, deeper depression, drinking again.
It has been proven that drinking alcohol can cause depression, so the person who does not have a depression problem initially can actually develop a depression problem if what starts out as normal drinking ends up ultimately turning into full blown substance abuse or alcoholism.