Alcohol consumption has become an accepted American pastime. A large number of the general public partakes with no serious effects, but many people end up having serious problems when it comes to alcohol use. Excessive consumption can lead to a number of problems; depression being one of them.
What is depression?
Depression is also known as depressive disorder. It is a serious illness that has an adverse effect on how one feels, the way the person thinks and ultimately how the person acts. It causes feelings of extreme sadness and/or a lack of interest in things one once enjoyed doing. Depression can bring about emotional and physical problems and decrease a person’s functionality level at home and work.
Some of the symptoms of depression are:
• Extreme feelings of sadness
• Appetite change; this could lead to extreme weight gain or weight loss.
• Diminished interest in activities you previously enjoyed
• Recurring thoughts of suicide or death
• Feelings of worthlessness or guilt.
• A significant change in sleeping pattern; sleeping too much or inability to sleep properly.
• Inability to concentrate, think clearly or make decisions.
• Energy loss or constant fatigue
• Slow speech or movements
• An increase in purposeless physical activity.
The link between alcohol and depression
Alcoholism is not good for the economy and is also bad for the brain. Alcohol has been linked with depression, and there are a few theories that have been put out to explain why. Some scholars call it a Central Nervous System depressant. The fact that it’s a depressant means that something depresses the Central Nervous System of the brain by tamping it down. If one is to tamp it enough they will stop breathing.
When is it too much alcohol?
Some alcoholic drinks tend to be stronger than others. The recommended amount of alcohol in units is 21 per week for men and 14 units per week for women. If a woman and a man of the same weight were to drink the same amount of alcohol, the woman would get “higher” than the man. It is recommended to have at least two days in a week when you don’t partake of any alcohol. There is evidence that a few days of very heavy drinking begins to kill off brain cells the same way it does to people that drink continuously. To prevent binge drinking and its effects, women are encouraged not to drink more than six units in a day while men’s limit is eight units. Binge drinking has been connected with depression and an increased risk of early death affecting middle-aged men.
Dr. Mullen who is our MD and a certified psychiatrist practicing here in NYC, had a thing or two to say about alcohol and depression. He shares his thoughts in the video and gives insight on the topic. To learn more about the effect that alcohol has on the body or book an appointment, call (212) 362-9635
Our offices are located in NYC, USA.
Effects of alcohol on the body
There are dozens of young people who die of alcohol poisoning every year without them even realizing the harm it has done on their body. Some of the effects that alcohol has on the body are:
• Becoming brain dead:
If you drink one hard drink after another, in half an hour, you will be very groggy and will want to sleep and eventually lose consciousness. It is possible to survive this and you, in turn, wake up “Hangover.” However, if you swig an entire bottle of Bourbon, for instance, and chug it as you would a can of soda, you will become brain dead within ten minutes. The Central Nervous System (CNS) depressant effect of the alcohol will be so strong because of the intake of excessive amounts of alcohol, that it will stop you from breathing. This doesn’t happen under normal circumstances because we tend to fall asleep when drinking and socializing, that we don’t get to the point where we can’t breathe. However, during drinking contests, which are synonymous with college campuses, there’s a huge risk of people dying.
• Brain damage:
Alcohol has been proven to completely affect the cells in the brain. With medication like Prozac or other antidepressants, you’re just be affecting one receptacle. There are a few other effects as a cascade event, but you’re basically doing one thing. With alcohol, however, it permeates everything. It goes into the whole cell and affects how the cells function as well as affecting a lot of receptors.
One brain disease that’s an effect of excessive alcohol intake is:
Alcoholic Liver Cirrhosis
Alcoholic Liver Cirrhosis is the damage caused to the liver from excessive and repeated alcohol abuse. It scars the liver tissues, which in turn causes the liver to cease working as it used to. Eventually, the body cannot produce the required amount of protein, neither can it filter the toxins from the blood as it should.
Excessive alcohol intake has been linked to increasing the risk of people having depression. People who drink a lot of alcohol seem to have more depression. There is a connection that we cannot pinpoint the origin. It has been noted that people who harm themselves or commit suicide have been linked to alcoholism. People either drink too much eventually becoming depressed, or drink too much to relieve depression. However way you flip the coin, alcohol ends up affecting the brain chemistry and increase the risk of depression.
At TMS, we specialize in evaluating patients for treatment with medication and recommending what type of psychotherapy might be helpful to them. We have been using TMS (Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation) in our NYC office to treat depression for the past nine years. Other conditions are anxiety, Parkinson’s disorder, and even chronic pain syndrome. It is a noninvasive procedure where nerve cells are stimulated using magnetic fields to improve depression symptoms. TMS is normally used once other depression treatments have been unsuccessful. After trying out other treatments to help with depression, it is recommended to try TMS because it is safe and approved by the FDA and has considerable results. TMS has been shown to help significantly and has very little to no side effects.
Treatments such as TMS do work, but it is also important to cut off the cause of the problem. This will be difficult, but with help from a specialist and support from friends and family, it is possible to curb the problem. If you don’t want to stop altogether, then a plan to regulate your drinking will be good for your body.
Here are ten do’s and don’ts to safe drinking
1. Don’t drink every day. Have at least 2-3 weekly alcohol-free days.
2. Do sip your alcohol. No gulping.
3. Do ask your doctor if you can drink alcohol with any medication that has been prescribed.
4. Do keep track of your drinking every week and put a weekly limit. You could use a drinking diary for that.
5. Do try to space alcoholic drinks with a non-alcoholic drink in between.
6. Do try to avoid serving alcohol in large glasses or mugs.
7. Do have something to eat before you drink. No drinking on an empty stomach.
8. Don’t binge drink.
9. Do switch to alcoholic drinks with lower strength.
10. Do serve interesting non-alcoholic drinks such as fun ‘mocktails’ when hosting.
Treatment of depression is available, but it is better to avoid alcohol entirely or to minimize its uptake considerably.
To find out more about depression and TMS treatment, call (212) 362-9635 to make an appointment today with a psychiatrist. We are based in New York City, USA.