Alcohol and Depression

While moderate drinking has been shown not to be inherently medically unsafe, one in four men and one in seven women in the United States drinks excessively.  Alcohol, like the many other drugs that influence brain function, acts as a tranquilizer. If you are drinking alcohol regularly, you find that your present number of drinks has lesser and lesser effect. In order for you to achieve the effect you want, you tend to drink more. This effect is called the "tolerance effect" and has a powerful outcome in becoming an alcohol addict.

Alcohol may also lead to:
- Dementia - Loss of memory, similar to the dementia condition in Alzheimer's disease.
- Psychosis - Drinkers who have been consuming alcohol for a long-time can begin to hear strange voices.
- Dependence - If you stop taking alcohol, you may get symptoms of withdrawal like nervousness, shaking, and sometimes, hallucinations.
- Suicide - Forty percent of men who plan and attempt suicide have long histories of alcoholism. Of those who succeeded in getting themselves killed, seventy percent have consumed alcohol first before killing themselves.

Alcohol and depression: What is the connection?

Research studies have proven that there is indeed a connection between alcohol and depression. Studies point out that suicide and self-harm, which are common symptoms of depression, are much more frequent in people that have alcohol problems. It tends to work in two types.

- If you drink in excess, and often too regularly, you are likely more to be more depressed.

Regular excessive drinking could leave you depressed and tired. There is much evidence showing that alcohol can actually change your brain chemistry thereby increasing the risk of depression. 
Hangovers could create a regular habit of being awakened feeling anxious, jittery, guilty, and ill.

Regular excessive drinking could also make your life very depressing. A regular and excessive alcoholic could develop poor work, family arguments, poor memory, unreliability and sexual problems

- If you take alcohol to relieve problems of depression or anxiety, you become more depressed and problematic later.

Alcohol might help you forget your problems in the short term. If you are feeling depressed and therefore lack energy, it can be tempting to drink alcohol.  The main problem however, is when you begin to use drinking as an excuse to drink frequently, passing it off as a sort of medication.
Any benefits of this abusive and excessive drinking habit will soon wear off with drinking alcohol becoming a part of your routine.  Subsequently you need to drink more and more alcohol for you to have the effect that you previously had.

Some drinks are stronger than others.  The easiest way to know how much you are drinking a specific alcohol is by counting "units" of the alcohol. In general, one unit is equal to 10 grams of alcohol. This is the amount given in a common pub, such as a beer or lager of normal strength given in half pint, or wine given in a small glass.

If a woman and man with more or less similar weight drink similar amounts of alcohol, it is likely that the woman will have a much higher amount of alcohol in her body as compared to the man. Therefore, although it may seem unfair, the safe alcohol limit for women is lower (around 14 units weekly) compared to men (who could have 21 units weekly).  Drinking alcohol for depression does not solve your medical problem. In fact, it will exacerbate it.



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