Alcohol and depression
Depression – where sufferers experience persistent feelings of sadness for prolonged periods of time – is one of the most common mental health problems, and it shares a complex relationship with alcohol.
Whilst there is no obvious causal link between alcohol and depression, regularly drinking heavily over a long period has been shown to cause depressive symptoms in the body. Depression is found in heavy drinkers at a much higher rate than in the general population, and suffering from depression increases the likelihood of excessive consumption and dependence in the future.
Many people suffering with depression and anxiety might turn to alcohol in an attempt to relieve symptoms (known as ‘self-medicating’). However, this has shown to be one of the least effective methods of dealing with the condition, as consuming greater amounts of alcohol might not only fail to reduce current depressive symptoms but might also contribute to harsher, more acute ones.
Reducing alcohol consumption can help to reduce depressive symptoms, and cutting out altogether may ultimately be the best choice for long-term sufferers.
Read our factsheet has more detailed information about alcohol and depression.
Find out more about how alcohol can affect your health.