Some people will be pissed off at what I’m about to say, but I firmly believe it, so here goes: if you are prone to major depression, and you choose to drink alcohol, you are behaving stupidly.
If I were to state the above so baldly during a group therapy session (remember, I’d be there as a participant, not a leader) I predict there would be a mixed response.
“The only way I can cope with my depression is to drink.”
“I only drink a small amount, so it doesn’t impact my depression.”
“Alcohol abuse is a completely different problem to depression.”
“That may be true for you, but it’s not true for me.”
The link between alcohol use/abuse and depression is well established, with recent studies show that alcohol abuse is a risk factor for major depression, while other research points out the need to consider a patient’s use of alcohol in deciding upon their treatment.
So far as I’m concerned, there are no two ways about it: to minimize the impact of depression on your life, you need to eliminate alcohol.
The personal touch? I used to drink, and drink heavily. I stopped drinking primarily to improve my mental health. It was one of the best things I’ve ever done. And yes, I’m Australian – consuming alcohol is practically a national pastime! Sometimes it’s a bit weird, being the only one toasting the bride with sparkling water and turning up to BBQs with exotic fruit/veg juices … especially since, four years ago, I’d be leading the race to the wine table. However, those days are behind me, and I hold no regrets.
OK, start hurling your abuse … I’m ready for it! Just don’t hurl bottles. And don’t do it chugging a beer.