When we are looking at alcohol and depression, the question that always comes up over and over again is essentially the chicken or the egg question: did the alcoholism cause the depression? Or did the depression lead to the alcoholism? If you try to analyze your situation, and you happen to be both alcoholic and depressed, then this can lead you around in circles for quite a while.
Alcohol causes depression
So alcohol is a depressant and it can probably lead to depression, but who cares? If you are here reading this, then it is highly likely that you are both alcoholic and also depressed.
It doesn’t matter. It does not matter one bit whether the alcoholism came first or the depression did. The bottom line is that you have to treat both problems in order to recover.
If you try to tackle one of these problems while ignoring the other then you will not make any progress. If you try to treat the depression while continuing to drink it will not work. You will still be depressed and you will still be drunk.
On the other hand, if you try to treat the alcoholism while ignoring the depression, then you are going to struggle that way as well. Suffering from depression without treating it in any way will likely drive you back to the bottle. Just being sober is not going to be enough….you are going to have learn how to help depression on top of it.
The only solution is to tackle both problems at the same time.
Alcohol and depression go to together very well
If you are a true alcoholic and find that you cannot stop drinking and successfully stay stopped on your own, then it is my opinion that you should start with alcohol detox as the foundation for a new life. You have to find a way to become abstinent from alcohol before you can make any sort of progress.
Now, keep in mind that you are going to have 2 major priorities in your new life. The first is abstinence from alcohol, and the second is treating your depression. These 2 things must take precedence over all others.
If you have the opportunity to go to a treatment center in order to detox from alcohol, I would highly recommend that you take it and use that as a starting point for recovery. You might even be able to find some resources in treatment to help you get started in treating your depression. If not, you can probably find counselors or therapists who can point you in the right direction and get you on a path where you are going to take care of it when you get out of rehab.
Treating alcoholism and depression
The goal of any alcohol intervention is not just to quit drinking and stay abstinent. It goes further than alcohol detox, much further. The goal of recovery is to recover a life that is well lived. The goal is to create an awesome new life for ourselves in which we are excited about living and have some passion and purpose about ourselves. This is the point of recovery. We are not in it to lead a hum drum existence. We are pushing ourselves to find excitement and passion through helping others in some way.
What I just described is the ideal treatment for drug and alcohol addiction. It is the kind of proactive life that is engaging and purposeful enough to keep people clean and sober over the long term. Do you think that creating this sort of meaning in our lives and taking purposeful action every day could potentially help in overcoming depression? That should be a no-brainer.
The fact is that really successful recovery from addiction does extremely well at assisting in overcoming depression. If you are just barely staying clean and sober then this probably will not help you much. But if you are going all out in your recovery from addiction and can really get involved with creating a new life for yourself, then this will help breed more success in your fight against depression.
You would still do well to seek medical help for your depression early in your recovery. Get sober and start building a foundation of sobriety. Immediately seek medical help for your depression. That is the best course of action and the one that can lead you to success in recovery.
Your best long term course of action is to get proactive in recovery and create meaning and purpose in your life. Make connections with others and help others on a regular basis and continue to grow and learn in recovery. This is the formula for long term success.