Tag Archives: dependence

Mood disorders and alcohol don’t mix!

By James E. DelGenio MS, LCPC

When you have a mood disorder, the use of alcohol may be the same as abuse!

Where mood disorders are concerned use may very well be the same as abuse!  Alcohol impairs functioning and it affects thinking, behavior and relationships.  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.

Alcohol also “washes out” and therefore may negate the usefulness of the medication.  Remember, it takes four to six weeks to get the medication to a therapeutic level.  When you drink you affect that level. In addition, one should never use alcohol or substances when taking 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, check with your Dr. 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 and can lead to drug/alcohol dependence.
  • Conflict often related to alcohol use and mood disorders.
  • Two drinks, beer or wine only; never back to back days, no more then twice per week with doctor approval.
  • 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.

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Call James E. DelGenio MS, LCPC, Senior Staff Therapist at The Family Institute at Northwestern University, 847-733-4300 Ext 638.

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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.