man in business attire drinking with head down

Depression and Alcoholism: How to Treat Both


Sober Recovery Expert Author

man in business attire drinking with head down

Struggling with both alcoholism and depression is a double whammy. However, rest assured, both are quite treatable. It doesn’t take much to see that if you struggle with alcoholism, you may also suffer from a deep sadness or depression. After all, alcoholism is a disease that can really suck the life right out of you, leaving you feeling bone-dry when it comes to happiness.

If this dual diagnosis resonates with you, you will need to treat each issue separately and jointly. Think of it this way: if you have high blood pressure and diabetes, you treat each on its own and also simultaneously. You don’t wait for the blood pressure to get better before you treat diabetes and vice versa. The same goes with treating depression and alcoholism.

Substance abuse professionals assert that there is a connection between alcoholism and depression. If this is the case, just how do you go about treating both?

What Comes First?

When you are an alcoholic and also suffering from clinical depression, it is important to treat the alcoholism first as drinking can cause an explosion of sad feelings to erupt from the soul. With this in mind, professionals assert that detox is the first step in getting sober and free.

Remember the diabetes and high blood sugar example? Detox is sort of like getting help for extremely low blood sugar because that is a higher health risk than mildly high blood pressure. Unless, of course, you are suffering from depression so badly that you are suicidal in which case the depression becomes the primary issue to treat promptly.

Adding Fuel to the Fire

Keep in mind that if you are struggling with alcoholism and depression, it is important to see a therapist for both conditions. It is important to be educated on both as well. Many healthcare professionals assert that there is a direct connection between alcoholism and depression, as one can cause the other.

For example, let’s say Rob starts off partying with his friends in college because he thinks it’s fun. He begins drinking every weekend and seems to be doing just fine his first semester. The second semester, however, Rob begins partying during the week as well. He is enjoying his season of being a party animal but his grades are suffering. He is also tired much of the time from being out all hours of the night. Before long, Rob finds himself feeling depressed. He lost his girlfriend, his report card was less than stellar and he just doesn’t feel like himself anymore. He copes with his negative feelings by drinking more and doing so makes him feel even more depressed.

Do you see the connection? Drinking can cause depression and depression can cause you to want to cope with life by drinking. You might not really know which is causing which, but there is certainly a correlation and both need to be addressed.

Alcoholism Treatment

It is important to have a treatment regimen in place for alcoholism. The usual course of treatment includes a few days to a week in detox so that you can detox from the alcohol in your body. Once that is complete, it is advised to attend an inpatient or outpatient rehab center. Getting therapy for alcoholism is quite important as you get to dig to the bottom of why you drank to begin with and other issues that keep you stuck in life.

Depression Treatment

Along with therapy for alcoholism, getting treatment for depression is important as well. This shall include seeing a therapist to contend with unresolved wounds and negative feelings that are keeping you down. Most of us can relate to contending with life situations and negative emotions that bring on a bout of sadness. It’s just the way life goes sometimes but if that sadness deepens or persists for weeks or months at a time, it’s time to reach out for some help.

Depending on the severity of depression, your therapist may have you try an antidepressant medication to help manage depressive symptoms. You may not have to take them forever but sometimes it helps get you back to a spot in life where you can think clearly and feel instances of hope and joy. Coupled with counseling sessions, medication has helped millions of people suffering from depression.

Those who are battling alcoholism and/or depression, reach out for help as both are quite treatable. You don’t have to suffer with either any longer, especially when there is a beautiful life of happiness and peace waiting on the other side.

If you or someone you know is seeking help, please visit our directory of treatment centers or call 866-606-0182 to start the path to recovery today.

If you or someone you know is seeking help from addiction, please visit our directory of treatment centers or call 800-772-8219 to speak to a treatment specialist.

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