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How Alcohol Causes Depression

It has been proven that alcohol causes depression. 

Depression is ongoing feelings of hopelessness, sadness, unhappiness, and causes a bleak outlook on life. And when you are suffering from depression you can’t be at the top of your game.  It is hard to be in high gear when you are fatigued and have a general lack of interest, also caused by depression.  It may also be important to point out here that depression causes anxiety.  So many who suffer from depression will also have bouts of anxiety, and possibly panic attacks.

Since alcohol is a known depressant, it stands to reason people with depression shouldn’t drink. This applies to people suffering from manic depression as well.

The depression caused by alcohol actually starts with your physical body.  First, alcohol lowers the serotonin and norepinephrine levels in your brain.  These chemicals are the chemicals that give you your good feelings – a feeling of well being, and they help you to feel normal.  The anti-depressant drugs were designed build these chemicals back up.  After a long drinking career, since alcohol can take these brain chemicals down to ground zero, it can take a long time for the anti-depressants to bring these brain chemical levels back to where they need to be.

Alcohol also temporarily nullifies the effects of stress hormones.  This is why after drinking you feel worse than ever, because alcohol depresses your nervous system and your brain.  A study was done that followed people who were only drinking one drink a day and after these people stopped drinking for 3 months, their depression scores improved.  And that is only at one drink a day, so it is easy to imagine the impact the kind of volume an alcoholic takes in every day can have. 

Alcohol all but wipes out every vitamin in your system after a drinking session.  A folic acid deficiency will contribute the brain aging and in older people, dementia.  The folic acid deficiency also contributes to overall depression.  Further, the alcohol in your system also breaks down and speeds the elimination of antioxidants in your blood.  Antioxidants are critically important to our health because antioxidants fight free radicals and free radical damage causes diseases and aging.  Our immune system actually creates the antioxidants which then neutralize the free radicals.

Alcohol can activate a gene that has been linked to depression and other mental issues.  The result of this activation can cause not only depression, but in extreme cases seizures, and manic depressive episodes.

It’s hard to figure out which came first – the the depression or the drinking problem.  But if the depression came first, drinking adds to it.  If the problem drinker wasn’t prone to depression before the alcoholism set in, then that person can suffer from depression as a result of excessive drinking.

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