Relationship Between Alcohol Dependence and Depression


Deducing the actual correlation between alcohol dependency and depression could be a hard task though there are many case of depression among the alcohol dependent individuals. This problem is posed by some investigations that have based their arguments on the assumption that the nature of depression in alcohol -dependent individuals is similar to that found in individuals without alcohol dependence.

However, various researches have proved that alcohol dependency is not a unitary disorder but there are other disorders which could be ascribed to it. There are some additional psychopathologies that are associated with alcohol dependency. According to research carried out by Kate and Ritson in 1993 showed that “up to two-thirds of clinical samples of patients with alcohol dependence are likely to have a lifetime diagnosis of another psychiatric disorder”1.

The most common and consistent disorders associated with alcohol dependence are antisocial personality and affective disorders. Though there are not many studies in this area done on mixed gender populations, it has been revealed that women have more additional psychopathology than men. Some of these disorders include secondary and primary disorders. Some of these psychiatric disorders may catalyze alcohol dependency and may call for quick treatment. Recent studies have connoted a high correlation between dependency on alcohol and affective disorders. There have been notable cases of relationship between alcohols dependency and depression despite that fact that the Prognosis of the affected remains unapparent.

The main objective of this essay is to point out the relationship between alcohol dependence and depression. The paper explores the aspects of the two disorders that make them to have a high correlation and how one condition may lead to the other.

Depression and alcohol dependency

Alcohol dependency is a condition mostly prevalent to frequent alcohol users that is indicated some harmful consequences of a more frequent and consistent alcohol use. According to Long (2011), alcohol abuse could also mean a condition characterized by a “compulsive alcohol use and a psychological dependence on alcohol”2. The two kinds of disorders are highly correlated and most of alcoholics (about 50 %) exhibit symptoms of depression.

Alcohol is a depressant and sometimes can result to severe cases of depression. Research by Massak and Graham showed that there is a relationship between alcohol abuse and depression. The research was carried out on both clinical and general populace sample and the results confirmed a high correlation. The research was testing on the co-occurrence of the two disorders, that is, alcohol use disorders and depression. The parameters used are the relationship between depression and each of the different dimensions of alcohol use disorders. According to Massak and Graham, These dimensions include “hazardous drinking pattern, dependence symptoms, and harmful consequences from drinking”3.

The research was carried out in Canada where 14062 men and women were interviewed about their alcohol drinking habit for the last 12 months and their general health. This research revealed that depression has a high relationship with the hazardous drinking habit for men and women. The condition was found to be worse to women than men. It was found that the harmful consequences of alcohol are significantly connected to depression.

Though some people claim that they drink alcohol in order to cope with some things like depression, alcohol is likely to escalate or worsen the problem of depression. Consistent abuse of alcohol will lead to alcoholism which is a disorder. A condition called co-morbidity usually results when the two diseases, alcoholism and depression, are present in the same person. The two diseases interact together in a complex manner and therefore cannot be dealt with separately. To treat them or any of them, the relationship between the two must be established. Both alcoholism and depression have common indicators including fatigue, lack of appetite, and restlessness among others. In severe conditions of the two disorders, the victim might have suicidal thoughts.

The two disorders may have heredity connections. If the two disorders have been in existent in the family for a long time, this may escalate the propensity of developing these disorders in the family. Each of these conditions exacerbates the other, hence a very high correlation. For instance, heavy and frequent drinking increases the chances of contracting depression or makes one vulnerable of becoming depressed.

Alcoholism has the effect of debilitating the health of the alcoholics and deteriorates their emotional robust. On the other hand, people with depression might attempt to mitigate it by taking alcohol to escape from the problem. With time, they may end up taking greater quantities of alcohol in search of a higher utility1. This may cause alcohol dependency with time. This shows a high degree of relationship between the two disorders.

Recent researches have shown that 30% to 40 % of alcohol dependent persons contract major depression cases. Despite the major related alcohol symptoms, severe conditions are exhibited like suicidal thoughts when alcoholism is layered with depression. The two illnesses, when combined, eposes people to greater risk of self harm like accidents and other relate felonies.

Due to the evident relationship between alcohol dependence and depression, there should be a comprehensive approach to treatment that considers their relationship. This means that when one is treating alcohol dependency, for instance, treatment of depression may also be taken into account. This is due to the fact that a person suffering from alcohol dependency has very high chances of having depression too. Where this factor is looked upon, the outcome of the whole situation may be detrimental to the patient.

The symptoms of depression and alcohol dependency could be categorized in to low, medium and high depending on the prevailing stage of the conditions. A person with high symptoms of alcoholism is likely to develop depression. Women have high risk of co morbidity of the two disorders than men. As the number of symptoms of alcohol dependency increases, the chances of developing depression also increase.


As various researches connote, there is a high correlation between alcohol dependency and depression. One condition has the potential of developing the other. The depressed people may take alcohol as a way of reducing the effects of depression but this might result to alcohol dependency with time. Alcoholics end up developing depression due to as a related disorder. The relationship between alcohol dependency and depression is very strong among women. Women with depression are very likely to resort to taking alcohol in their attempt to mitigate the depression. The existence of some alcoholism symptoms boosts the chances of depression development. It has been noted by various studies that depressive effects of alcohol are likely or potential to cause serious depression. Genetic factors are also likely to escalate the chances of contracting depression and alcohol dependency. Some genes are vulnerable to some disorders like depression and alcohol dependency.

Reference List

  1. Kate M., Ritson E. The Relationship between Alcohol Dependence and Depression. Oxford: Oxford University Press. No date. Web.
  2. Long P. Internet mental health. Vancouver: Phillip W. Long, M.D.; 2011. Web.
  3. Massak A, Graham K. The relationship between depressions, alcohol Use disorder and coping motives for drinking among Canadian men and women. New York: Nova Science Publishers; 2009. Web.


  1. Kate M., Ritson E. The Relationship between Alcohol Dependence and Depression. Oxford: Oxford University Press; 2011. Web.
  2. Long P. Internet mental health. Vancouver: Phillip W. Long, M.D.; 2011. Web.
  3. Massak A, Graham K. The relationship between depressions, alcohol Use disorder and coping motives for drinking among Canadian men and women. New York: Nova Science Publishers; 2009. Web.
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