How Just One Drink Can Cause A Mental Health Backslide
As good as I am with words, I can never truly explain the level of hurt that I feel when I am severely depressed. Depression is not like pain, it is an overwhelming emptiness. Reaching for anything and everything to fill that void. My personal vice is alcohol. You probably already know this but alcohol belongs to a class of drugs called depressants. Medically speaking, it is because it depresses your nervous system. Which is why you get that woozy feeling when you drink. Psychologically speaking, it is a depressant because it decreases the production of serotonin and dopamine in your brain, usually upon sobering up. Now that may not be exactly right, but you get the point.
Yet, to those of us that experience depression as a current state, it can often be an uplifting and relaxing thing. It can soothe nerves, it can decrease inhibitions. To many, alcohol can be an escape from the emptiness that they feel, myself included. However, this can quickly become a problem, as rather than dealing with the discomfort we feel, we turn to alcohol. I had a period of time where I drank 5-7 days a week because I just couldn’t come to terms with the mental pain I was feeling. This eventually became a cycle of drinking because I was depressed, and becoming more depressed because I was drinking.
Needless to say, this can be a hard habit to break. As we seek a place of comfort when depression sets in, and alcohol can create that place. The biggest issue, is that if you are taking medication for your mental health, drinking can create 2 major problems. Firstly, many of you may not know, but mental health medication is incredibly taxing on the liver. As all of you probably know, drinking is taxing on the liver, see where I’m going here? Long terms of drinking while being on medication, can quickly deteriorate your liver. To the point where you have the liver of a 50 year old alcoholic in your 20’s. Hence, this is a really bad idea, but depression is the biggest supporter of bad ideas, so it’s an uphill battle. Secondly, it will often increase the strength of certain side effects, such as drowsiness, while decreasing the effectiveness of the medication on your illness. Both of which are undesirable effects.
Now, drinking isn’t all bad, it’s useful for making new friends and hanging out with current ones. The only thing here is, that you must be incredibly wary of when you drink. Not only will it drive you further into the darkness that you are desperately trying to escape, but it will also most likely lead you to further health problems in the future. So, the lesson today, is to be careful of the allure of alcohol, because just one drink can be the beginning of a downward spiral that can actually end your life.
Be careful my friends,
Photo Credit: Unsplash: Taylor Davidson