Alcohol Rehab and Depression

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Depression is a debilitating condition that makes normal functioning impossible. When it coexists with alcoholism, it is severe. Fortunately enough, there are depression rehab clinics for anyone with both of these diagnoses.

Alcohol and depression treatment centres help individuals with this condition. This means that the dual diagnosis can be treated together.

Alcoholism is a substance use disorder, known clinically as AUD (Alcohol Use Disorder). It is a condition characterized by the inability to control alcohol intake. Alcoholics usually have distorted self-views which include denial of drinking issues and a certain pre-occupation with staying drunk and being drunk all the time.

The most important symptom of alcoholism is the continued pattern of a substance use disorder, regardless of its negative effects.

Family relatives and friends sought ways to help the individual through identification of the problem and finding a rehab clinic where treatment is being offered.

So, basically, this disorder is characterized by the following symptoms;

  • Physical withdrawal symptoms in the absence of alcohol consumption.

  • Heightened agitation if unable to take alcohol for whatever reason.

  • Blackouts after indulging in alcohol, where the individual does not remember what unfolded while being intoxicated.

  • Becoming violent after consuming alcohol.

  • Playing truancy at school or work due to being drunk.

  • Self-neglect and ignoring basic needs such as proper nutrition, good hygiene, household cleanliness and other health-related care procedures.

  • Being defensive or lying when asked about alcohol intake behaviour.

  • Becoming less satisfied with the current intake thereby needing a further increase in the alcohol intake in order to feel high.

Does Rehab Work for Depression? 

Yes, of course. Rehab works fully well for depression. Depression is a term often used loosely to mean any sort of low mood, but the clinical description of depression is far more extensive.

It is a condition that is characterized by extremely low moods that occur often, and are accompanied by a loss of interest in several normal activities as well as low self-esteem.

Depression is now classified as a mental illness for the purpose of treatment.

A depressed person lacks self-care. Therefore, the rehab process emphasises more on the individual’s thought process, decision-making, and emotions.

Whether a Rehab centre is effective for depression or not is a good question because, as stated above, depression and alcohol always occur together. The majority suffering from depression give positive results after having stayed at a depression rehab clinic.

The benefits of Rehab are;

    • Stress and anxiety reduction, with improved self-esteem,
    • A balanced outlook on life,
    • Increased self-confidence, body acceptance, and
    • Better mental and physical health.

At the treatment centre, the certified addiction professional diagnoses the mental health condition caused by alcohol use disorder through the following symptoms;

  • A feeling of emptiness and worthlessness

  • An intense feeling of sadness

  • Loneliness

  • Difficulty in concentrating

  • Extreme irritability

  • Guilt

  • Changed sleep pattern

  • Fatigue

  • Sudden weight gain or loss

  • Loss of interest in hobbies

  • Back and joint pains

  • Headaches

  • Suicidal ideation

  • Digestive difficulties.

It is however important to keep in mind that symptoms of depression differ from one person to another, and the symptoms described above are not present in some cases.

Alcohol-induced depression is managed by conducting psychotherapy and prescribing medications, or a combination of the two forms of treatment. Both conditions (alcoholism and depression) are treatable, although, for excellent results, treatment is commenced as soon as possible.

Depressive disorder is associated with unique experiences and encounters. Therefore, the addiction treatment centre is structured for full understanding and evaluation of depressive disorders. The majority take persistent depressive disorder to simply mean being extremely sad but, it is far more than that.

A major Depressive disorder is characterized by the following symptoms:  

  • Mental health disorder 

  • Substance use disorder 

  • Persistent depressive disorder 

  • Postpartum depression 

  • Seasonal affective disorder 

  • Bipolar disorder 

  • Alcohol-induced depression 

  • Drug abuse 

  • Drinking alcohol, etc.  

A study in the NIH MedlinePlus Magazine Fall 2009 Issue [1shows that suffering from a major depressive disorder requires around eight years to combat, and then further struggling with the depressive symptoms while coming up with methods of mitigating the risks.

The self-help methods of treatment often lead to alcohol addiction, alcohol abuse and alcohol-induced depression. This is a result of dependence on alcohol in order to numb the pain of the persistent depressive disorder.

This is how alcohol addiction arises, and it is not a healthy way of dealing with the problems. The depressed person is to therefore look for a better way of dealing with the major depressive disorder.

It is difficult to accurately explain to outsiders what is being felt and therefore, the treatment tends to take time. To worsen the matter, people are less likely to help when the depression is coupled with alcohol abuse. In such cases, family members and relatives are implored to be understandable and try to help find a solution, rather than shunning and showing hatred.

Clinical depression is a medical condition that is treated at an addiction treatment centre.

It is good to take time to understand a loved one, and not rehash the mistakes made due to the addiction, but rather, find a treatment centre, with a certified addiction professional, that can provide proper and adequate treatment.

As a consequence of these feelings, those with symptoms of depression tend to be distracted, sleepless, lose weight, feel hopeless and unable to interact with family and therefore need lots of love.

How Long Does Alcohol Induced Depression Last? 

The duration of an alcohol-induced depression varies widely, depending on the individual.

But, generally, the depression symptoms associated with alcoholism normally improve after abstinence from alcohol for a given period of time, usually 3 to 4 weeks.

Researches however show that depression symptoms, as a result of alcohol addiction are signs of a major depressive disorder if the symptoms of the depression persist even after cessation of alcohol and other substance intakes.

Major Depressive disorder refers to continuous and long-term symptoms of depression that result in a loss of interest in most activities. The affected individual often feels like hiding and being alone. These could persist for many years, and end up interfering with work performance, family relationships and other responsibilities.

In this scenario, depression treatment is necessary, and it will help lead a normal life.

Due to the chronic nature of this condition, coping with the symptoms is extremely challenging, and in most cases, becoming an alcoholic is inevitable, which is why a dual diagnosis is necessary.


Deciding on The Need for Alcohol and Depression Rehab

Deciding to seek help for alcohol abuse, and depression treatment is the most important decision in an addict’s life. This is because treatments available for an addict are effective, even in the most severe of cases. Due to co-occurring conditions, it is recommended that to seek treatment for both alcohol abuse and the symptoms of depression together at a rehab clinic nearby.

These are safe and effective treatment centres that help one acclimate easily back to previous everyday lives. Most of these centres also provide aftercare and help remain sober after Rehab.

Support groups, talk therapy, and psychiatric medication are all means of managing the major depressive disorder, alcohol abuse and all the symptoms of depression. However, there are times when a higher level of care is required to treat a depressed and alcoholic individual.

This is where the need for Rehab comes in. Instead of just moving on with life and managing depression with family, work, and personal obligations, a residential treatment centre for alcohol and depression is also provided to enable the individual being managed to focus on getting better.

This homelike atmosphere of the clinic makes it easy to solely focus on recovery and getting better.

When contemplating whether or not alcohol and depression Rehab is needed, the following are signs suggesting the need for this form of treatment;

  • When the addiction is adversely affecting several important personal relationships. It is not strange to find one’s personality changing as a result of alcohol and depression addiction.

  • The feeling of hopelessness and anxiousness is a clear sign that help is needed. Alcohol-induced depression certainly takes a toll on close relationships, causing further withdrawal from closed ones.

In a case where the children are being affected or on the verge of getting a breakup or divorce, it is advisable to find a rehab facility nearby and enrol immediately to start receiving the treatment plan that is desperately needed.

Here are some signs suggesting the need for proper treatment.

Struggling at Work 

Working while battling depression is not easy. One’s work quality is drastically reduced as such, especially if initially unhappy with the job. Before long, one fails to meet up with deadlines and ends up not engaging with the job as before.

It worsened if one is up for a promotion or about to get fired. In the end, the inability to perform the duties assigned by the management becomes obvious. In the hope of coping with the assigned job role, those suffering from severe depression tends to engage in drug and alcohol abuse in the process.

Work-related stress is a huge trigger. It is important to immediately find an alcohol and depression rehab clinic for treatment whenever this happens.

Using Drugs and Alcohol to Cope with Depression 

Co-occurring disorders are common with substance use. The strong link between depression and alcohol makes it easy to suffer both simultaneously.

Being depressed and at the same time using drugs and alcohol to cope with it is an indication that an alcohol and depression rehab clinic is needed to immediately cope with the feelings that accompany this diagnosis.

Separating depression from substance abuse is tedious. This is why personally, most people experience the most success by working with a professional, especially in a residential clinic that manages both conditions together as a single entity.

Normal Daily Activities Become Overwhelming 

It makes complete sense that when depressed, performing the daily activities becomes challenging. Seeking treatment before things get worse should be a top priority because the inability to function occurs sooner than expected.

A simple task such as getting out of bed becomes almost impossible when depressed. If the day-to-day activities become more challenging, immediately visit an alcohol and depression clinic nearby.

Having Suicidal Thoughts 

Having suicidal thoughts is pretty common for a depressed person, and therefore, seeking treatment is vital. Suicidal ideations and then acting on these thoughts is considered to be an acute symptom of depression.

When these suicidal thoughts happen, extreme care must be taken. The self-realization of these thoughts is important as this will influence the treatment-seeking behaviour of the individual at a good rehab clinic.

Also, those suffering from other forms of depression such as psychotic depression, postpartum depression, psychiatric disorders, low-self esteem, physical dependency, self-harm, mental health disorder, manic depression, and extreme mood swings, benefit from professional treatment advice from a certified addiction professional, who are mostly found at the rehab clinics.

Treating Alcohol and Depression

People suffering from persistent depressive disorder as a result of alcohol abuse have more intense symptoms than people who suffer from only one of these conditions. The physical issues caused by alcohol abuse are amplified by depression symptoms.

At the same time, mental health disorder symptoms that are caused by psychotic depression also increase the cravings to drink alcohol.

Therefore, treatment options that pay little attention to depressive symptoms and mental disorders are less effective for people suffering from these co-occurring conditions, further worsening the depression and leading to more severe depression.

Diagnostic and Statistical Manual 

The first step taken when visiting a treatment provider centre is to be diagnosed by the doctor using the International Classification of Diseases (10th revision).

Consultation is started by seeing the doctor. If the doctor suspects and diagnoses an alcohol use disorder, a referral is made to a mental health professional for further management.

To assess the patient’s problem with alcohol, the doctor will:

Speak with the family members concerning the symptoms and any family history that has to do with mental health conditions and alcohol abuse. This is because, in most cases, alcohol abuse, and mental health are hereditary conditions.

The treatment centres also like to know about any kind of challenges faced at home, work, school, or any ill-fated relationship with the people around.

This interview is done either over the phone or in person. If admitted, there will be the need to undergo several medical and psychiatric assessments to determine whether there are medical complications or comorbid mental health issues.

If the symptoms are too advanced, a multi-disciplinary team is assigned to work with the patient so as to make adjustments and monitor treatment progress.

The treatment options offered at the alcohol and depression rehab clinic include: 

  • Group therapy

  • Cognitive behavioural therapy

  • Professional treatment advice

  • Dual diagnosis treatment

  • Individual therapy

  • Family therapy

  • Psychoeducational classes

  • Equine therapy

  • Art therapy

  • Meditation

  • Yoga

  • Dance

Questions to ask alcohol rehab centre

Treating alcohol addiction involves intensive care backed by proven procedures. And the effectiveness of this treatment often depends on the programme’s suitability to the patient’s needs. Before enrolling, there are vital questions to ask the alcohol rehab center to ensure investing in a genuinely life-changing rehab program.

There's the need to be aware of the type of treatment plan the facility offers. For instance, being able to request at-home (outpatient) treatment if recovering in the comfort of one's home or privacy is preferred.


Most people suffering from depression and AUD start reporting positive results after staying at a specific treatment centre for a few weeks. Additionally, if also suffering from drugs and depression, the treatment facility can help as well.

So, because everyone is unique, as mentioned above, there are different symptoms in different individuals, and the medical professionals at the rehab facility always tailor a treatment programme to fit each individual.

Please note that both of these symptoms occurring together will be expensive to treat, and it may cost more than £500 a week, depending on the clinic chosen.

Most people going through depression, usually think that alcohol helps improve the state of mind, but unfortunately, this is not true. The effects of alcohol and drug abuse make things worse. With time, the individual ends up with a combination of both alcoholism and major depression.

Treating both these conditions is a long process, and the journey is difficult. The earlier treatment is sought, the better. Currently, there are many treatment centres that are willing to offer help to people suffering from these conditions. Please find help from the treatment providers listed online.

All the best in trying to get back to normal.

Abbeycare Pricing Bot

Last Updated: May 22, 2022

About the author

Peter Szczepanski

Peter has been on the GPhC register for 29 years. He holds a Clinical Diploma in Advanced Clinical Practice and he is a Clinical Lead in Alcohol and Substance Misuse for Abbeycare Gloucester and works as the Clinical Lead in Alcohol and Substance Use in Worcestershire. Peter also co-authored the new 6th edition of Drugs In Use by Linda Dodds, writing Chapter 15 on Alcohol Related Liver Disease. Find Peter on Respiratory Academy, Aston University graduates, University of Birmingham, Q, Pharmaceutical Journal, the Dudley Pharmaceutical Committee, Dudley Council, Twitter, and LinkedIn.