Mood disorders and alcohol use

James E. DelGenio MS, LCPC

Why are mood disorders and alcoholism often found in the same individual?
The answers here are not completely understood. Some doctors have told me that the sites in the brain that are affected by mood disorders are the same sites affected by addiction. Regardless of the chemistry, research has shown that just casual use of alcohol by a person with a mood disorder may eventually result in abuse or dependence. If you have a severe mood disorder, you shouldn’t have any!

At least see how drinking affects your mood in the 3 days that follow alcohol use to see my point. Track it; give yourself a mood score from one to 10, ten being the best. Maybe you can limit alcohol use to one or two drinks twice per week and see if that helps. If you see in charting your mood that it does effect you negatively, than you shouldn’t have any. The consequences are just not worth it. If you can’t stick to two twice a week, you may need alcohol treatment.

For those in the metropolitan Chicago area, I have offices in Millennium Park on Michigan Avenue, and near 22nd St and Wolf Road in Westchester. Call 847-733-4300 Ext 638.

James E. DelGenio MS, LCPC
Senior Staff Therapist
The Family Institute at Northwestern University

Disclaimer: This material is meant to be used in conjunction with psychiatric treatment, medication when necessary, and supportive therapy. Always share this material and your questions about this material with your doctor and therapist.

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