By Nasrin
B. A. Psychology
26 September 2021 -
Medically reviewed by
MA (Psychology)
Alcohol and Depression
Table of Contents

Depression is the most significant health concern in today’s world. A study estimates that about 300 million people have faced depression. It can happen to anyone irrespective of sex, race, age, ethnicity, etc.

Contrary to a common belief, in reality, depression is very much curable. But due to social stigma about depression being labeled as a mental health issue, people refrain from discussing it. As a result of which only about 40% of people receive proper treatment under the supervision of a doctor.

What is depression?

The early and most common symptoms of depression are fatigue, sleep issues, loss of appetite, an increase in obesity, difficulty in concentration, etc. Depression can be avoided in the first place itself, and if not, then at least the severity of it can be reduced to a great extent just by following a few protocols.

Maintaining a proper diet and exercising on a daily basis is of utmost importance when it comes to living a healthy lifestyle both physically and mentally. Attending gym or yoga sessions, cycling and swimming are some of the daily activities, if done on a daily basis reduces the chance of depression considerably.

There are various types of depression based upon the symptoms observed in the patients, their severity, and the duration required to get out of the depression. (Altar, C.A., 1999)

The Link Between Alcohol and Depression

Consumption and addiction to alcohol is the most common reason for depression. In today’s fast-paced world, people are more prone to stress both on the work front as well as in personal life. This leads them to a path of finding solace resulting in them becoming alcohol addicts.

Alcohol is known to increase dopamine levels and becomes very effective in releasing stress for a short duration of time. (Boden, J.M. and Fergusson, D.M., 2011)

Now let us see the ill effects of Alcohol in detail.


Individuals experiencing depression have higher chances of becoming an alcoholic. Alcohol consumption helps them to suppress the anxiety for the time being and thus escape from reality and relax. 

Effects Of Alcohol On The Body

When a person drinks alcohol, it enters his bloodstream and reacts with the nervous system and blood cells resulting in a high value of production of dopamine and serotonin.

When the level of these two neurotransmitters fluctuates below or above the average value, it results in euphoria and thus the individual feels relaxed and stress-free for a small duration of time in accordance with the amount of alcohol consumed.

But when you look at the larger picture, alcohol in itself is a depressant that makes you more depressed. (Anderson, P., Cremona, A., Paton, A., Turner, C. and Wallace, P., 1993)

Who Is More Prone To Alcohol Abuse?

With 18-25 years of individuals are most prone to fall into depression and this is the same age range where the individual is most vulnerable to fall prey to bad habits that may have a lifelong effect on his health and lifestyle. In fact, about 18% of the American population had confessed to trying alcohol at least once before they turned 18.

Alcohol, if consumed by pregnant ladies or lactating mothers, can have a serious effect on the health of the mother as while as a child. Every 1 out of 7 ladies experiences anxiety after pregnancy. If alcohol is consumed in this period, it acts as a catalyst, and the risk of depression increases further.

Anxiety attacks are the most common phenomenon for someone already facing depression. During an anxiety attack, a person suffers chest pain, shortness of breath, and a feeling of impending doom.

Ill-Effects Of Alcohol Consumption

  1. It gradually leads to addiction.
  2. It causes damage to the pancreas, thus leading to low blood sugar level also called hypoglycemia.
  3. Prolonged use of alcohol may damage the nervous system, thus resulting in numbness and tingling sensation in hands and feet.
  4. Alcohol addiction also leads to emotional dependency on it.
  5. Once a person gets addicted to it, overcoming the addiction is very difficult as the person will have to face withdrawal effects. (Courville, C.B., 1955)

Does Alcohol Instigate Suicidal Thoughts?

Suicide is the second biggest reason for death in the world and a person facing anxiety issues is more prone to suicidal thoughts. It then depends on the willpower of that particular individual to overcome such unpleasant thoughts and prevent from harming himself.

But an alcoholic person has very weak willpower and even his ability to think and make the correct decision is low compared to a non-alcoholic person.

Overconsumption of alcohol may affect your mental health leading to anxiety, in spite of that, you may face trouble sleeping. So you can relate insomnia and anxiety because as a matter of fact, anxiety causes insomnia.

Symptoms Of Alcohol Abuse

  • Heavy drinking in a single episode.
  • Frequent drinking or even daily.
  • Craving for alcohol every time.
  • Sneaking alcohol by hiding it from others.
  • Continue drinking despite negative consequences on physical health and personal relationships.
  • Neglecting important tasks and activities for drinking.

If all or any of the symptoms are visible, it is time to finally give up completely on alcohol as it may have dire and irreversible consequences on the health.

Withdrawal Symptoms Of Alcohol

Once a person is addicted to alcohol, then even if he decides to get over the addiction, it is not an easy task. The person has to face withdrawal challenges. The person experiences nausea, dizziness, nervousness, tremors and in some extreme cases, even seizures have been observed. The individual can even slip into depression and face panic attacks too.

An individual just cannot get over alcohol addiction and leave it overnight. The quantity consumed has to be reduced slowly and it takes quite a duration of time to finally leave alcohol completely.

You could try some natural remedies for anxiety and depression-like consuming chamomile tea, using herbal supplements, and getting enough sleep.

It is recommended to visit a doctor who would advise you on the pattern to follow and may also prescribe some medicines so that the above-mentioned withdrawal symptoms are not faced by the individual.

Nowadays, there are also many NGOs and other organizations that help an individual. They may be free of cost or charge a nominal fee, but even then it is worth it considering that an individual will lead a healthy and normal life afterward.


Alcohol has a few good effects on health but in moderation. The main problem is that it ultimately leads to an addiction which affects a person immensely.

The biggest side effects of alcohol addiction are depression, anxiety, and panic attacks. All these require a prolonged duration of time to be treated and proper supervision of a qualified doctor.

So it is better to avoid alcohol in the first place and if already addicted then to try and succeed in leaving this addiction as much sooner as possible.

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