The use of alcohol can be the same as abuse when you have depression.

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

Mood disorders and alcohol just don’t go together.

Where mood disorders are concerned use may very well be the same as abuse! Alcohol impairs functioning and it affects thinking, behavior and relationships. Alcohol and substances also affect thinking and behavior. Don’t do anything that would make you relapse to active symptoms.  It is known fact that alcohol and substance abuse make the symptoms of a mood disorder worse and vice versa.  Alcohol is a depressant; one drink at a family gathering may affect one’s mood for days. If you have depression, why would you exacerbate it by using alcohol?!  To me, continued alcohol use at this point would indicate that you are already alcohol dependent and are in need of professional help.

Alcohol also “washes out” and therefore may negate the usefulness of anti-depressant medication. Remember, it takes at least four to six weeks to get the medication to the prescribed therapeutic level in your body.  When you drink you affect that level. In addition, one should never use alcohol or substances when taking any prescription medication. This can be fatal.

It goes without saying that if you are an alcoholic, you can’t have any alcohol. If you are not an alcoholic, but you do have a mood disorder, check with your psychiatrist for approval of one or two drinks on very special occasions. In the days after, monitor yourself to see if it has affected your mood. If it does, use is the same as abuse!

  • Drugs and alcohol make mood disorders worse.
  • If the doctor approves of one or two drinks, monitor your mood in the days that follow.
  • If your mood is off, you need to consider abstinence from alcohol.

Now for the first time, I can work via Zoom with anyone, anywhere in the country and it may be covered by BCBS Insurance. Check with your BCBS carrier for details.  Call 847-733-4300 Ext 638 for more information.

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

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