Many alcoholics suffer from anxiety disorders and more frequently, depression. A survey of 6,355 addiction patients found the lifetime prevalence of depression to be 43.7%, which is consistent with another study that placed the rate of depression among alcoholics at 42.2%.
Depression can stem from alcoholism, and alcoholism can result from depression. The risk of alcohol dependence is significantly higher among individuals with depression. Similarly, depression is more prevalent among individuals with alcohol dependence. Research indicates a two to fourfold increase in the occurrence of either alcohol abuse or depression with the presence of one of these disorders. However, alcohol dependence is more likely to follow depression than precede it.
Many alcoholics use alcohol as self medication in an effort to control depression or anxiety. Diagnosing oneself with depression and seeking professional is too big a step for most people, and short term relief such as alcohol and drugs are often resorted to as the first line of care.there is a strong case for a heightened awareness on the benefits of using anti depressant medication under a doctor's care. Some alcoholics may become depressed simply because they realize the fact that they are alcohol dependent.
The rate of depression is significantly higher among female alcoholics than male alcoholics. Female alcoholics were more than seven times likely to develop depression than male alcoholics. Researchers also found a stronger genetic association between alcoholism and depression in women than in men.
Alcoholism and depression are likely to receive more attention in the future since these conditions are occuring with greater frequency and at an earlier age.