Actually, all of the above posts are correct.
I worked with many alcoholics in the past and the percentage of those starting to drink because of depression is very high. Plus, most alcoholics are genetically addicts. It runs in families, along with depression. Many alcoholics, if they manage to give up the booze, will become addicted to illegal drugs or simple things like cigarettes or even the caffine in coffee.
Nothing gives one a buzz like alcohol – in the beginning at least. THAT is what is so insidious about it. Other drugs have side effects which are not all that pleasant – coke increases the heart rate, downers make one sleepy, pot makes one mentally fuzzy, stimulants cause one to shake or increase the heart rate and many can cause temporary mental problems.
The booze, in the beginning, gives the alcoholic a great glow and feeling of well being. They experience euphoria, loss of inhibitions (great for shy people), increased (depending upon the amount of booze consumed) sexual prowess, temporary increased appetite, increased confidence and so on.
Later, these feelings become shorter in duration and the common alcoholic drinks more to try to get them back.
Depending on the mental state, alcohol will cause depression. It can increase any existing depressive state. The more one drinks, the worse one can feel, though one has the illusion that drinking more will make one feel better.
The hangover causes massive depression, along with massive physical side effects. Large amounts of alcohol in the system cause all sorts of temporary problems which produce the much disliked internal shaking, trembling of the muscles, mental confusion, sour stomach, weakness, increased sweating, vision problems, bowel problems, and so on.
The more one drinks over time, the quicker one hits the drunken state where depression cuts in. By then, one can begin to experience ‘black outs’ where one either passes out or does things that one does not recall upon sobering up. As one continues to pour down the booze over weeks, the body begins to suffer lasting damage. (Liver, brain, stomach, kidneys, heart and bladder.) Active alcoholics are also very, very susceptive to pneumonia and other forms of transmittable diseases, like colds and flue. Their immune system is usually depressed.
The best thing for a recovering alcoholic is to get into AA or some form of addiction recovery program and not only learn how to stay off of the booze, but to go into mental therapy to get the depression treated also.
There is some controversy concerning this among alcoholics in recovery. Many old timers feel that cold turkey withdrawal is best – and also painful and many alcoholics keep drinking to avoid withdrawal. Many feel that no drugs at all should be used – DETOX now offers a period of tranquilizers and IV solutions to make the physical withdrawal MUCH, MUCH easier. Plus, since the treatment for depression uses drugs, many feel that they should be avoided, even though antidepressant drugs do not get one high – no matter how much one consumes at once.
Most depressives have a history of alcohol abuse and most alcoholics have a history of depression.
An alcoholic NEVER fully recovers and 99.99% may NEVER drink booze again. That’s why most alcoholics who have no desire to drink anymore and have been sober for like, 20 years, with consider themselves RECOVERING alcoholics.
Depressives, about 85% or higher of them, will, after therapy, be cured. The cure can take months or years.
It has been my observation that alcoholics who ‘slip’ and start drinking again (most will, even for just a little period of time, before sobering up again, for various reasons) have not taken any steps to get help for their depression. Even after being sober for months, with an alcoholic, the urge and desire to drink is great and will increase any depression they are suffering from.
Many alcoholics KNOW that they are NOT going to feel good for more than a few minutes or an hour, if they start drinking again but will drink heavily anyhow. Many even while actively drinking, try to stop by pouring out or watering down the booze – but few make it that way. Then the hangover brings about massive depression and the physical effects and many start drinking to feel better.
Many suicide during those periods also.
The study concerning depression, genetics and alcohol is still going on.
“Think of it as Evolution in action.”