Self-Medicating With Alcohol to Treat Depression
Western Governors University
There are several people in the United States suffering from the debilitating illness of depression. For those that are privileged enough to have access to the health care system, they can often times be adequately treated with an antidepressant and or appropriate behavioral therapy. For others, they choose the easiest and only route they may have access to; alcohol. They reach for a drink or two to drown their sorrows away. Alcohol becomes a means of relieving their emotional pain. According to Dayton (2013), rather than seeking treatment, which is usually too expensive or out of their reach, they choose to self-medicate. Initially, this may seem like a logical solution and their drinking at this point is fairly benign. But in time, this quick fix will turn into dependency. Pretty soon a few drinks become a spiraling addiction and enumerate a myriad of problems.
Initially alcohol can cause the drinker to feel like they are less anxious, confident, and able to cope with life once again. However, alcohol itself is a depressant and slows the function of the nervous system causing one to become even more depressed. As stated by Jacob (2013), “Alcohol abuse and depression can be a deadly mix. When a person is suffering from depression and then abuses alcohol, there is a much higher risk of attempting and succeeding at suicide.” Self-medicating with alcohol can potentially increase the severity of the original issues at hand.
Most persons with depressive illnesses in the United States do not have appropriate health care management. According to (Katz, Kessler, Lin, & Wells, 1998), access to mental health care is an imperative topic of health policy contention in the United States. Many policy makers and clinicians feel that people suffering from mental illness do not receive the treatment that they need. The negative impact of alcoholism not only...