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Alcoholism and depression frequently appear together when people are struggling in one way or another in their lives. It is difficult to pinpoint an exact cause for either one; in some cases, it seems that alcoholism can lead to depression, while in others, it seems that depression can cause one to begin drinking alcohol excessively. There is certainly not always a direct correlation between the two, however, so assumptions should not be made regarding anyone's mental health or decision-making process when considering alcoholism and depression. Sometimes, tendencies toward either illness can run in one's family.
In many cases, however, alcoholism and depression do exist together. Alcohol is a depressant, and if it is consumed to excess on a regular basis, an individual might find that he or she is developing tendencies towards depressive moods or behavior. It can then progress to full clinical depression, which is often made worse if one continues to drink alcohol. It is often recommended that people prone to depression avoid alcohol altogether, because it can quickly exacerbate the condition.
The connection between alcoholism and depression may also occur in the other direction. Some people use alcohol as a method of coping with depression when they feel they don't have any other options, rather than pursuing treatment from a therapist or medication from a physician. Some choose to use alcohol as a way to numb feelings of sadness, anger, anxiety, or other emotions frequently associated with depression.
It is relatively easy, then, to become reliant on alcohol to avoid experiencing feelings of depression. If left unchecked, this can lead to alcoholism. The connections between alcohol and depression are not always straightforward, but they certainly do exist for many people. In addition, it is possible for someone to become depressed if they try to overcome their alcohol dependency on their own, but get discouraged and feel that it is insurmountable.
Alcoholism and depression are often treated with therapy; medication may also be prescribed to treat depression, but it is generally very important that anyone on depression medication stop drinking alcohol to avoid dangerous side effects. Some people find that both individual and group therapy can be extremely beneficial in overcoming alcoholism and depression. Both alcoholism and depression can be lifelong conditions, but with the proper treatment, they can be completely managed and no longer need to negatively impact one's life.