Why Is Binge Drinking Detrimental for Clients With Depression?

Not everybody lives a life with mental stability. At any point, things can take a turn for the worse. Stressful life events, faulty mood regulation, and even genetics can play a factor in the development of depression. Depression is a major mood disorder that can negatively impact an individual’s life. Severe symptoms such as extreme fatigue, mood swings, hopelessness, and trouble eating or sleeping can significantly affect a person’s life. Symptoms can interfere with an individual’s employment status, home environment, and relationships with others. For those with this diagnosis, binge drinking can be detrimental. Self-medicating with alcohol is strongly discouraged by mental health professionals as it can make one’s condition worse.

There are self-help strategies that may help one manage the effects associated with this health condition without the use of alcohol. Exploring effective treatment options with mental health professionals can help individuals better cope with depression as a whole.

What Is Binge Drinking?

According to the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA), drinking too much alcohol can be problematic. Binge drinking is clinically known as a series of consuming alcoholic beverages to an extent where there is an alarming increase in alcohol rates in an individual’s blood concentration. Based on medical studies and research, blood values can range from approximately 0.08% or 0.08 grams of alcohol per deciliter or more. Repeated misuse of alcohol may consist of drinking four or more drinks in just two hours for a female. Five or more drinks per male within the same time frame is also the suggested limit.

It may go without saying, but binge drinking can be detrimental to one’s health. Approximately 95,000 people died between 2011 and 2015 from misusing alcohol in the U.S. Binge drinking can be costly to the community as well. Many hospitals, healthcare centers, and families are burdened with the cost and demand of medical care.

Cons of Binge Drinking

According to the aforementioned NIAAA article, drinking alcohol can come with certain risks, especially when misused in large quantities. Drinking alcohol can negatively impact an individual’s physical state.

Unwanted consequences of binge drinking may include:

  • Blackouts
  • Developing alcohol use disorder (AUD)
  • Increased likelihood of contracting a sexually transmitted disease (STD)
  • Unintentional pregnancy
  • Falls
  • Burns
  • Drowning
  • Automotive accidents
  • Decreased immune system function
  • Developing certain cancers

Link Between Drinking and Depression

Binge drinking can negatively affect an individual’s mental state as well. This can greatly interfere with a person’s ability to overcome depression. There is a strong link between serious alcohol use and clinical depression. When an individual is depressed, they may turn to alcohol to cope. This may work by drowning out depressive thoughts and numbing certain feelings associated with the condition. Drinking may make an individual may feel more relaxed, but this can lead to many mental health risks as alcohol is essentially a depressant.

As stated in the Alcohol Research: Current Reviews journal in 2019, AUD and depression often co-occur. This can result in greater severity of depression.

Negative mental health consequences of binge drinking may include:

  • Dependence (AUD)
  • Heightened risk for suicidal behavior
  • Altered behavior
  • Withdrawal symptoms
  • Interference with mental health treatment plan

Self-Help Strategies to Cope With Depression

Implementing self-care strategies can help an individual live well and manage the symptoms associated with depression. Practicing self-help strategies can also help individuals cope with managing a dual diagnosis of depression and AUD. It can be difficult for one to pull themselves out of a depressive state to face the challenges associated with these conditions.

According to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), once someone starts practicing a healthy routine, they may experience significant improvement. Healthy lifestyle habits can be a positive alternative to drinking alcoholic beverages. Different strategies to practice may include:

  • Get seven to nine hours of sleep
  • Eat a healthy diet and exercise
  • Set achievable goals
  • Learn to recognize warning signs
  • Reach out to family and friends
  • Attend support groups
  • Stay dedicated to the treatment plan

Effective Treatment Options

Although self-help strategies can greatly improve one’s mental health condition, professional treatment can also be of great help. Making a trip to a family practitioner to receive a referral to a mental health facility may be a positive start in the journey of managing symptoms of depression.

Speaking with a therapist can also assist an individual in selecting the most effective treatment plan. These can consist of special therapy treatment options such as cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT), a psychodynamic approach, holistic therapies, one-on-one therapy, and more. It is important to not solely rely on medications to treat depression. Logging symptoms in a journal can also help an individual communicate their concerns with their mental healthcare team. Medication-assisted treatment (MAT) can be an effective plan of care for individuals who do not find improvement from medication or therapy alone.

Medication, meditation, therapy, and practicing self-help strategies can greatly improve an individual’s quality of life. Support from family and friends can also be a source of guidance for those that are facing challenges with the symptoms associated with depression.

Stressful life events, faulty mood regulation, and genetics can play a role in the development of depression. Certain factors can significantly interfere with an individual’s employment status, home environment, and relationships with others. As a licensed and Joint Commission-accredited mental health treatment center, 12 South Recovery is a leader in Orange County mental health treatment. With our in-house team of expert mental health therapists, we strive to provide compassionate, individualized care using the most cutting-edge, evidence-based modes of treatment for mental illness. Individual therapy is essential for individuals in recovery from addiction and depression. Taking a holistic approach is also an effective option. Call 12 South Recovery at (888) 830-8374 to learn more. 

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