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Depressed? 5 Reasons Drinking Will Only Make Things Worse

Posted in Alcoholism

Depressed? 5 Reasons Drinking Will Only Make Things WorseIf you’re feeling down in the dumps and think that having a few drinks will make things seem better, think again. Studies show that between 30 and 50 percent of people abusing alcohol suffer depressive symptoms at any given time. If you’re depressed, here are five reasons drinking will only make things worse:

1. Alcohol is a depressant. The first drink may temporarily lift your spirits, but it won’t last. That’s because alcohol is a depressant. This a double-edged effect of making your problems seem worse than they actually are and making you even more depressed than before drinking. Alcohol use is also implicated in suicidality, according to a study by the National Institutes of Health (NIH).

2. Drinking depletes omega-3 fatty acids and folate. Omega-3 fatty acids are necessary for brain health. Researchers have found a link between drinking and omega-3 fatty acid deficiency, which results in depression. Alcohol consumption also depletes folate that the brain needs to communicate. A Harvard study found 38 percent of adults with depression had low or borderline folate levels.

3. Vitamins B6 and B12 are lowered with alcohol consumption. These two important B vitamins can be seriously depleted as a result of drinking. Lower B6 depletes levels of serotonin, the neurotransmitter that facilitates feeling calm and content. A large-scale NIH study found that B6 deficiency may result in low serotonin levels and is linked with depression. In a person already depressed, lowered serotonin levels makes them even more depressed. Meanwhile, B12 deficiency increases depressive risk in older men and women by 70 percent.

4. Excessive drinking increases inflammation. Drinking to excess leads to inflammation throughout the body. A study by Emory University found a link between inflammation, stress and depression. The irony here is that people often drink to numb themselves from pain caused by inflammation and depression, but the alcohol only serves to exacerbate, not eliminate, such pain.

5. Drinking fuels symptoms of depression. Wait, there’s more: When you drink, the alcohol makes symptoms of depression worse. These can include:

  • Low energy and fatigue
  • Difficulty with concentration, remembering things and decision-making
  • Insomnia or sleeping too much
  • Feelings of hopelessness and pessimism
  • Feelings of guilt, worthlessness and helplessness
  • Restlessness and irritability
  • Overeating or loss of appetite
  • Persistent headaches, digestive problems, aches and pains, and cramps

All things considered, reaching for that drink might not be such a good idea after all. Not only will you increase the likelihood that you’ll wind up even more blue than when you started, but your problems will still be there when you sober up.