Depression After Quitting Drinking

woman feels depressed after quitting drinking alcohol

Table of Contents

Depression and Alcoholism at a Glance

First, let’s look at the data surrounding depression and alcoholism.

In many cases, those who suffer from alcohol addiction also suffer from depression or additional mental health issues. Many people use alcohol to self-medicate for depression because they never could receive the proper treatment for their depression.

On the other hand, having an alcohol addiction increases the individual’s chances of having depression and vice versa. Long-lasting sobriety depends on both mental health conditions being addressed. If a person in recovery continues with depression, their chances of relapse are higher.

Data about Depression and Drinking shows:

  • 30-40% of those who struggle with alcohol use disorder also struggle with depressive disorders.
  • 60% of Individuals who participated in a study and were admitted for alcohol rehab suffered from depression. After treatment (community-based detox and rehabilitation), the instance of depression was cut by half.
  • Most depression and alcohol use cases do not require continued care for depression as long as an individual goes through the proper rehabilitation.

The Reason Why Some Abuse Alcohol 

There are many reasons why a person may abuse alcohol, and one of them is self-medicating to treat depressive symptoms. The patient may believe that alcohol is making them feel better and that it relieves painful emotions.

However, this is untrue. Alcohol addiction can make depression worse. Once a patient receives treatment for alcohol addiction, they will no longer have to turn to alcohol to help them cope.

Before rehab begins, the patient should have plans for coping with the stress and hardships they will encounter during and after rehab. Old habits might have the patient wanting to turn to alcohol for comfort.

However, the patient needs to set goals for learning new behaviors to help deal with temptations and cravings.

There are plenty of ways that patients can learn to cope with the struggles in their daily life that are more effective and productive.

Developing Healthy Coping Methods

Some of the ways that patients can cope with their daily challenges are also ways that can distract them while in rehab. Both of these pathways will help manage psychological addiction and the ability to cope with life without substances.

Not every technique will work for everyone, and many factors will contribute to what works for some and what works for others.

Hobbies and peer groups are great support systems to help manage depression after quitting alcohol. Spending time with other people, perhaps even people who have similar struggles can help patients understand their addiction and learn new ways to cope.

Support groups will also allow the patient to have other people to share their experiences with. Suppose the patient can find healthy ways of dealing with negative events and distract themselves from their emotional cravings during rehab. In that case, they can then reach sobriety and all of their other rehab goals.

The Relationship Between Alcohol Use Disorder and Mental Health Disorders

Alcohol use disorder and depressive illnesses are often co-occurring. When a person suffers from one or another, they may likely develop the opposite one. When both occur simultaneously, such as having depressive symptoms and using alcohol to cope, it can worsen outcomes.

The most common type of depression that is found with alcohol use disorders is major depression. Substance abuse disorders of many kinds frequently co-occur with mental illnesses.

Mood disorders and depressive disorders are particularly prevalent among people who suffer from alcohol addiction, and those who are genetically prone high cortisol levels and depression. This is because alcohol affects communication in the brain, which affect mood and emotions.

Those who drink too often or too much in one sitting can experience blackouts, aggression, and extreme depressive moods. A survey in 2010 found that 3.4 million adults reported having a substance abuse disorder and a major depressive episode during the same period.

Mental health is extremely important when dealing with substance abuse or alcohol addiction because they impact each other and the healing process.

Patients must get help for depression while they are in rehab. Relapse is highly likely to occur if the patient does not receive proper education and assistance to deal with their depression during and after rehab.

The patient is likely to turn to alcohol again once they start feeling symptoms of depression if professionals do not appropriately address it. Mental health also helps patients understand themselves better, which allows them to avoid triggers and deal with temptation in healthier ways.

Patients should remember that many people face mental health issues and alcohol addictions together. They are not alone and deserve assistance. If the patient knows their triggers, they can then set goals to beat them once they enter rehab.

Getting Treatment for Both Alcohol Use Disorder and Depression

There are many ways for patients to treat their alcohol abuse and depression. However, they need different treatments. Treatment for alcohol addiction is detox, specifically medical detox.

Detox is when the patient requires medication to get through the withdrawal effects. Their body is now physically dependent on alcohol, and their body chemistry is different.

Withdrawal symptoms can be very painful and even dangerous if the individual does not receive appropriate treatment. The patient has to be in a medical facility receiving care and supervision from medical professionals.

Medical detox can help the body flush everything out of the body, helping the body recover and heal from the damaging effects of alcohol. Treating alcohol should also cover psychological addiction, which is what therapy and educational programs are for.

While alcohol addiction and depression need separate treatment, the patient also needs treatment that takes both conditions into account. Depression may be because of alcohol use or vice versa.

The difference matters when it comes to how therapists and other rehab professionals will treat their patients. Depression after quitting drinking is an important aspect of addiction that needs to be worked on.

Some common treatments for depression during times of alcohol abuse disorders are:

  • Cognitive-behavioral therapy
  • Antidepressants
  • Support groups
  • One-on-one therapy
  • Support from loved ones

Some professionals at the rehab center have also dealt with addiction and the recovery process. They understand having depression or even other mental health disorders on top of addiction. Professionals can provide the patient with support and guidance throughout their stay at the center.

To fully receive treatment and reduce the chances of the patient relapsing, they must seek treatment for depression and other mental health disorders, if there are any. Both major depression and alcohol use disorder have genetic and environmental contributors.

The Best Way to Get Help for Depression and Alcohol Abuse

Struggling with an addiction or a mental health disorder is a struggle for many people. It is also common to behave difficulties with both of them at the same time.

 One should not ignore these problems and should treat them as soon as possible. Those who have these challenges should reach out to a center near them and start treatment as soon as possible.

There are many treatment options available for all walks of life. It is the responsibility of a rehab center to learn and cater to every patient and their unique background.

 Every patient’s recovery process will require different things because everyone has their path to recovery. There is an outpatient treatment program for those who need to stay home. More so, there is inpatient treatment for those who need a consistent hands-on approach.

Depression after someone quits drinking is a common issue to have. Many people feel sad when they have to give up something that has made them feel better for so long.

 Their drinking might have begun as an occasional thing or something fun to do. However, drinking so easily turns into a problem. Depressive moods and mood swings have major impacts on how people think.


[1] Alcohol and Depression Study

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