Alcohol abuse is a common problem across the country and can become a devastating issue very quickly. Many individuals who struggle with alcohol abuse deal with the combination of binge drinking, depression, and anxiety. Tragically, these co-occurring disorders can create a situation that feels impossible for many to escape. Thankfully, options like a residential alcohol addiction treatment program can help you to manage abuse and restore a person’s sober life. Reach out to The Ranch at 717.969.9126 today to learn how we can help.
Binge Drinking and Depression: How it Begins
Binge drinking often begins at a young age. Some start excessively drinking in high school while others begin in college. In many cases, binge drinking can be connected to other mental health conditions. Binge drinking, depression, and anxiety are widespread in the first year of college. Students taken away from their parents – some for the first time – and placed hours away may find themselves very lonely and confused. Many may be going through social anxiety – trying to fit in with new and strange people – and suffer from disassociation. As a result, they may turn to binge drinking as a way of managing their anxiety and depression. At least, that’s what they think is happening. Unfortunately, binge drinking doesn’t stop depression or anxiety but makes them worse. However, people often believe that alcohol helps with these symptoms. Thus, they fall into a pattern of adverse drinking that becomes a lifestyle, not just a habit. That’s why so many people with social anxiety turn to binge drinking.
How This Situation Worsens
A variety of influences could cause a person to fall into problematic binge drinking behaviors. For example, people with depression and anxiety may temporarily reduce symptoms, which makes drinking alluring. Alcohol also narrows attention and boosts social emotions in many people. The social interactions centered around binge drinking, such as college parties or weddings, often makes a person feel more integrated. Furthermore, it seems to them to decrease their anxiety and depression. As a result, people may self-medicate with alcohol, temporarily relieving symptoms but ultimately causing more physical and emotional problems.
Symptoms of Binge Drinking and Depression
Alcohol abuse and mental health issues piggyback on each other and can make each other worse, even when one feels like the solution to mental distress or pain is to drink alcohol. Self-medicating with substances like alcohol for depression can have lasting and dangerous consequences to your overall health and even your life.
Symptoms of Alcohol Abuse:
- Unable to control drinking due to physical and mental dependence
- A strong craving for and need to consume alcohol
- Drinking even when It is especially dangerous to do so, such as while driving or babysitting, or with known health issues
- Experiencing withdrawal symptoms when unable to drink alcohol
- Lack of restraint and impulsive behavior
- Aggression and mood swings
- Issues with balance and coordination
- Slurred speech
- Nausea and vomiting
- New or worsening financial problems
- Problems at home, work, or school due to drinking
Symptoms of Depression:
- Chronic sadness and excessive crying
- Loss of interest in things you once enjoyed
- Social isolation and withdrawal
- Trouble sleeping, insomnia
- Changes in appetite, weight loss, or weight gain
- Having low energy
- Loss of self-esteem
- Suicidal thoughts or ideation
It is important to know the signs and symptoms of both alcohol abuse and depression in order to recognize when someone needs help, and the best way to get them that help is at an addiction treatment center. There they can safely detox and withdraw, then begin treatment and the recovery process. Dual-diagnosis treatment has been proven effective for treating binge drinking and depression together.
Treating These Co-Occurring Disorders
When a person – regardless of age – experiences binge drinking depression and anxiety symptoms, they need treatment to manage their problems. A study entitled “Treatment of the Depressed Alcoholic Patient” examined these co-occurring disorders and outlined a few unique ways that people in this situation can get help and stay sober for more extended periods. First of all, individuals must understand that their addiction is not a moral issue or something caused by personal weakness. Instead, addiction is a disease that can be treated like any other. The symptoms are a little different than some conditions but can be managed anyway. For example, a dual diagnosis treatment program can help to identify the anxiety and depression that leads a person to binge drink. Then, this treatment method can figure out how drinking worsens these mental health problems. Also, it shows how they create an interrelated and hard to escape from the trap. The idea behind dual-diagnosis is to treat multiple issues simultaneously, which will produce positive effects on every aspect of addiction. As a result, an individual can walk away from binge drinking and learn how to relive a sober lifestyle.
Getting Help for Alcohol Abuse and Depression at The Ranch
If you or someone you love suffers from binge drinking and depression and you want to get help, please call 717.969.9126 to talk to us at The Ranch PA. Our professionals can create a medical alcohol detox program and various dual diagnosis programs to help manage addiction and mental health together so that you can begin to heal. We can also provide counseling and other support to help you create lasting recovery.