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How can alcohol affect someone who is depressed?

In low doses, alcohol produces a feeling of relaxation and well-being, makes people more interactive and talkative, and has beneficial effects on the cardiovascular system. However, in even moderate doses, alcohol begins to act as a depressant.

The effects of alcohol at low doses include the following:
  • Loss of good judgment. Impaired judgment often causes an individual to drive faster than normally, thereby increasing the risk of automobile and other accidents.
  • Reduced peripheral vision. This also results in increased risk of accidents, particularly automobile accidents.
At moderate-to-high doses, alcohol also causes the following:
  • Feelings of sadness. As consumption continues, the depressed person eventually feels worse instead of better.
  • Impaired coordination.
  • Impaired perception.
  • Impaired reaction time.
  • Sleepiness. Feeling tired is a result of general depression of brain function due to alcohol itself or its metabolite acetaldehyde. However, chronic use of alcohol tends to reduce dream sleep, resulting in reduced quality of sleep, increased irritability, and decreased feelings of well-being.
Alcohol abuse has deleterious consequences on the user's health and on society:
  • Alcohol abuse can lead to obesity and heart, liver, kidney and gastric disease.
  • In at least one-half of suicides and severe accidents, alcohol (or other drug) consumption is a contributing factor. The combination of loss of judgment, impaired vision, impaired coordination and sadness can be deadly due to accidents or accidents that are in fact attempted suicides.
  • At least one-half of domestic violence episodes, assaults, and homicides are associated with consuming alcohol (and other drugs). Impaired judgment may lead to loss of inhibition, which in turn may, in some people, result in increased violent behaviors.
  • It is estimated that at least 10% of the population has a dangerous or addictive pattern of alcohol use, and alcohol misuse is estimated to be one of the top five precipitating causes of death in the U.S. One of the most devastating consequences of alcohol abuse is that alcohol can become an addiction. Alcohol addicts cannot control consumption. For these people, seeking alcohol becomes an essential and central theme and purpose of their lives, and alcohol becomes more important than home, job, friends and family. All relationships and activities suffer dramatically, eventually making all aspects of the addicted person's life worse.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.