Alcohol does not help with depression

By David Joel Miller, MS, Licensed Therapist & Licensed Counselor.

Bottles of alcohol.

Alcoholic Beverages.
Photo courtesy of

Why drinking won’t make you happier.

Most people think that drinking makes you happier and for some few people who were already happy it seems to work that way.

But if you are depressed, drinking can leave you more depressed than before.

Seems like the depressed person just can’t get a break.

We associate alcohol with parties and fun times. A little will loosen you up, so we think. What it is in fact doing is relaxing parts of the brain. A little relaxation may be helpful but a lot leaves you falling down.

One reason alcohol is associated with fun times is its ability to “disinhibit” you. It shuts off the part of your brain that may be telling you not to do that. So under the influence and even one drink begins to exert an influence, you may do things that you would not do without that drink. You might make a joke, dance more uninhibitedly or participate in an activity that at other times you would not attempt.

What alcohol does not do is make you suddenly happy.

It is the activity you are engaged in that is producing the happiness. Alcohol is a depressant. It works its magic spell but shutting off parts of the brain. The depressed person, unable to cope with parts of life when sober, becomes less able to cope when drinking, not more so.

 For the depressed drinking results in an increase in depression, not a reduction.

People with Major depression who drink are more likely to be disinhibited and do negative, bad things rather than to become happy.

The depressed person is more likely to attempt suicide while intoxicated. Some depression is the result of being angry at others and then taking the feelings out on yourself. If you are in a bad job or relationship we may blame ourselves for being trapped there rather than blame the other people. In this form of depression, we used to call this reactive depression; the depressed person when intoxicated is at increased risk to try to even the score with the person that has made them angry.

The depressed person is not likely to take only one drink.

If one is good for making you happy, so the reasoning goes, more should be better. The depressed person is at high risk to continue drinking until very drunk or even unconscious.

Unconsciousness, as we have seen in other posts, is not the same thing as sleeping. So people who use alcohol to cope with depression will find that they “come to” rather than wake up. In this state, the depressed person will be more depressed as well as hungover. The only cure for this is, in most minds, more alcohol. The cycle begins to accelerate.

There is a high rate of co-occurrence between excessive alcohol use, alcoholism, and depression. Depressed people who drink are at extreme risk to develop alcoholism and chronic alcohol abusers become progressively more depressed.

Despite all the marketing efforts made to convince us that alcoholic beverages are stimulants and make people happy, the real truth is that alcohol is a depressant and any amount stresses the mind and body.

If you are depressed the last thing you should be doing is trying to drink your troubles away. If you are genuinely happy, the more you celebrate with alcohol the less happy you are likely to be.

For most alcoholics, the alcohol was early on their solution but the more they drank the more the alcoholic beverage became their problem.

Alcohol tends to be very addicting, particularly to those with mental health issues. Remember that the category “people with mental health issues” includes most of us at one time or another.

Drinking to regulate emotions is a very risky habit.

Staying connected with David Joel Miller

Seven David Joel Miller Books are available now!

My newest book is now available. It was my opportunity to try on a new genre. I’ve been working on this book for several years, but now seem like the right time to publish it.

Story Bureau.

Story Bureau is a thrilling Dystopian Post-Apocalyptic adventure in the Surviving the Apocalypse series.

Baldwin struggles to survive life in a post-apocalyptic world where the government controls everything.

As society collapses and his family gets plunged into poverty, Baldwin takes a job in the capital city, working for a government agency called the Story Bureau. He discovers the Story Bureau is not a benign news outlet but a sinister government plot to manipulate society.

Bumps on the Road of Life. Whether you struggle with anxiety, depression, low motivation, or addiction, you can recover. Bumps on the Road of Life is the story of how people get off track and how to get your life out of the ditch.

Dark Family Secrets: Doris wants to get her life back, but small-town prejudice could shatter her dreams.

Casino Robbery Arthur Mitchell escapes the trauma of watching his girlfriend die. But the killers know he’s a witness and want him dead.

Planned Accidents  The second Arthur Mitchell and Plutus mystery.

Letters from the Dead: The third in the Arthur Mitchell mystery series.

What would you do if you found a letter to a detective describing a crime and you knew the writer and detective were dead, and you could be next?

Sasquatch. Three things about us, you should know. One, we have seen the past. Two, we’re trapped there. Three, I don’t know if we’ll ever get back to our own time.

For these and my upcoming books; please visit my Author Page – David Joel Miller

Want the latest blog posts as they publish? Subscribe to this blog.

For videos, see: Counselorssoapbox YouTube Video Channel

5 thoughts on “Alcohol does not help with depression

  1. Pingback: Anger and Depression beat Contentment and Serenity | counselorssoapbox

  2. Pingback: Men don’t only want one thing! Ladies you’ve been misled. | counselorssoapbox

  3. Pingback: You can choose your life – happiness or depression, success or failure? | counselorssoapbox

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.