It’s Time for All of Us to Accept the Link Between Alcohol and Depression

Once we accept the link between mental health and alcohol use, we can all do something about it.

Dara Laine Murray


Friends, family, commercials, TV, and movies all tell us that drinking alcohol is a great way to unwind and relax.

Alcohol companies spend billions of dollars each year on advertising to create a culture that encourages drinking and makes people feel bad about themselves if they don’t drink. These messages are problematic because they create unrealistic expectations for what drinking can do for you.

Alcohol is a depressant.

You may be familiar with the term “depressant” and know that alcohol is one, but you may not know exactly what it means.

It’s Time for All of Us to Accept the Links Between Alcohol and Depression
Photo by Ahtziri Lagarde on Unsplash

Alcohol is a depressant, which means that it slows down your brain’s activity. Most of the time, drinking alcohol slows down your reactions and makes it hard to make good decisions.

In addition, alcohol can cause you to feel tired or sleepy. It may also lead to slurred speech and difficulty walking or standing upright.

It’s also widely known that drinking can cause problems for people who struggle with depression. But how? And why?

Depression, anxiety, and alcohol are linked.

Depression and anxiety are both common mental health problems that many people experience at some point in their lives, and sometimes the two illnesses occur together. These mental health issues can hurt your daily life and affect how you feel, think, and behave.

Depression affects about 9 percent of the U.S. population at some point in their lifetime, but the numbers are even higher for those who experience anxiety (about 18 percent).

It might be hard to imagine how these conditions could be linked, but research has shown that there are indeed associations between them.

If you’re wondering whether this could apply to you, know that:

  • Depression and anxiety can cause emotional distress and interfere with your daily life; they may also affect how you see yourself and the world around you.



Dara Laine Murray

Multi-passionate sobriety writer on Medium. Day job: Director of Research at a nonprofit. Stories = sober + stats. Editor: