Alcohol plays an important part of our life. In daily life, we drink socially, for fun, when we are stressed, or even for our health. Generally, this drinking is reasonable and our culture is comfortable with light to moderate alcohol use. There is a very strong link between heavy drinking and depression. However, the question remains, does depression make us drink or do we drink to reduce the symptoms of depression?
The immediate effects of alcohol arise from depression of the brain. It creates a sense of relaxation. However, it dulls your senses making it more difficult to make decisions. Alcohol also dulls perception and reaction times, creating difficulty with operating machinery such as driving a car. Continued drinking will make you unsteady on your feet, your speech will start to slur and you may say things you might regret. Further drinking can cause people to be sleepy, dizzy or sick. Some people may black out, or even pass out.
Alcohol is an easy way for people to feel better in the short term. However, it may be tempting to use alcohol to keep going and to deal with life’s problems. Problems arise when people slip into a routine of using alcohol as a medication to treat symptoms of stress or depression.