Overall, alcohol and antidepressants can be an extremely dangerous mix. Therefore, it is important to avoid mixing the two, especially because medication for depression typically does not work for people with alcohol addiction.
The Link Between Alcohol Abuse and Depression
Alcohol has been long consumed by humans, dating back to prehistoric eras. People drink alcohol for several reasons, including celebrations with others or as a way to lower stress. However, alcohol has various known health risks, including high blood pressure, liver disease, cancer, and mental health conditions.
As one would assume, alcohol abuse and depression are highly linked, although you may wonder, “is depression caused by alcoholism?” Often, alcohol use disorder can and will cause depression in alcohol abusers. In some cases, people who suffer from alcohol addiction use alcohol to suppress their negative feelings or depressive symptoms. In some cases, however, depression is caused by alcoholism.
Since alcoholism causes chemicals like serotonin and dopamine to go up and down or fluctuate, this can often lead to an increase in depressive symptoms and other health issues. Some common depressive disorders include Seasonal Affective Disorder, Psychotic Depression, Persistent Depressive Disorder, and Major Depression.
Alcohol and Depression Treatment
Overall, it is extremely difficult to handle and properly treat alcoholism and depression. This is why it is imperative to catch both diseases early so that doctors and other medical health professionals can help create the best course of action for the patient. While treatment of depression is not easy, it is possible.
When considering the treatment approach to the depressed patient with co-occurring AUD, several different conceptual methods have been proposed: sequential, parallel, and integrated. Historically, the sequential model has held significant sway: depressive symptoms are not addressed until a period of abstinence from alcohol has been achieved.
Therefore, in the sequential model, treatment is administered for only one disorder at a time. Only after the more acute disorder is addressed will the other be treated specifically. In the parallel model, on the other hand, both disorders are addressed simultaneously, but by different clinicians or treatment teams: one clinician or team aims to treat the mood disorder, while the other treats the AUD. Finally, in the integrated model, a single clinician or treatment team manages both the mood disorder and AUD simultaneously.
Since people in group therapy sessions give people who are experiencing similar issues to discuss and overcome their issues together, this a great option or opportunity for people who are facing both alcohol abuse and depression.
This gives people a chance to discuss the issues that they have faced and overcome them together. In addition, most alcohol abuse programs allow patients to discuss their alcohol abuse issues with others in a group therapy format.
Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT)
CBT, or cognitive behavioral therapy, is a great way to treat alcohol abuse disorders and is a great alternative to medication for depression. CBT is also known as talk therapy and is a way for individuals to help people realize thought patterns that lead to their negative behaviors.
When working with a patient through a cognitive behavioral therapy approach, these typically take 5-25 sessions, as opposed to other therapy types. When using CBT to overcome alcohol abuse disorders, people typically discuss ideas like work, family, social life, and drug issues, including but not limited to alcohol, cravings, goals for therapy, and more.
Medication Assisted Therapy
Medication-assisted therapy is the combination of medication and therapy used to help someone overcome specific feelings or specific behavior. This is typically a great option for people with alcohol abuse disorder. Some medications professionals prescribe to people with alcohol abuse include disulfiram, naltrexone, and acamprosate.
Medications Used to Treat Depression
There are several different medications that doctors prescribe to people to overcome or help treat their depressive symptoms. In fact, about 1 in 10 Americans take antidepressants.
Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors (SSRIs)
SSRIs, or Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors, are most commonly prescribed to patients with depression. These medications increase the levels of serotonin in the brain. This medication is also typically used to help treat other mental health disorders, such as anxiety. Some common SSRIs are Celexa, Lexapro, Prozac, Paxil, Pexeva, and Zoloft.
Serotonin and Norepinephrine Reuptake Inhibitors (SNRIs)
SNRIs, or Serotonin and Norepinephrine Reuptake Inhibitors, effectively change the brain chemicals like other antidepressants. Some of the most common SNRIs include Pristiq, Cymbalta, Fetzima, Effexor XR, and more. Common side effects of these medications include nausea, dry mouth, dizziness, headache, and excessive sweating.
Tricyclic and Tetracyclic Antidepressants
These antidepressants are some of the earlier antidepressants and were used by earlier doctors. Today, doctors use different antidepressants so that patients face fewer symptoms. Some of these intense side effects include drowsiness, blurred vision, constipation, dry mouth, drop in blood pressure, and urine retention. Other side effects include weight loss, increased appetite, sweating, and low sex drive.
Like other antidepressants, atypical antidepressants are used to by affecting changes in brain chemistry. Some of these include Bupropion, Mirtazapine (Remeron), and Nefazodone. Some of these are known for causing insomnia, while others may make it easier to sleep at night.
Monoamine Oxidase Inhibitors (MAOIs)
Monoamine Oxidase Inhibitors are known for their ability to affect neurotransmitters like other antidepressants. Some of these antidepressants include Isocarboxazid, Phenelzine, and more. The symptoms associated with these antidepressants are low blood pressure, involuntary muscle jerks, and more.
N-Methyl D-Aspartate (NMDA) Antagonist
These antidepressants are typically used to treat or slow down the negative effects of or progression of Alzheimer’s disease.
Neuroactive Steroid Gamma-Aminobutyric Acid (GABA)-A Receptor Positive Modulator
Instead of targeting neurotransmitters, Neuroactive Steroid Gamma-Aminobutyric Acid Receptors affect the actions of GABA receptors.
What is the Best Antidepressant for an Alcoholic?
According to experts, the best antidepressants for alcoholics are nefazodone, desipramine, and imipramine. Overall, these drugs have been seen to decrease symptoms of depression and also decrease alcohol abuse. These are some of the best options for people who suffer from alcohol abuse, especially when combined with other methods of care.
How to Find the Right Treatment for Alcoholism
Are you looking for help with addiction or alcoholism? Consider Agape Treatment Center. Their state-of-the-art comprehensive care center, located in Fort Lauderdale, FL, focuses on creating an environment centered on healing for people from all walks of life.
Even more, their evidence-based therapy and counseling help ensure that individuals are set on a solid path to recovery. If you are looking for a healthcare program focused on the twelve rehab process, then Agape is the right place for you.
They’re able to treat individuals facing various conditions, including, but not limited to, substance abuse, mental health disorders, co-occurring disorders, alcoholism, and more. If you’re looking for some of the best assistance for recovery available, be sure to consider Agape Treatment Center for rehabilitation.