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Excessive alcohol use and depression often go hand in hand. From a treatment and also a personal perspective, it can be difficult to determine which came first. Gaining a correct diagnosis is vital to recovery from both alcoholism and depression.

At Delamere we specialise in treating alcohol use disorders and their common co occurring illnesses. We find that many of our guests come to us at the point where they feel mentally, physically and emotionally overwhelmed. They are often deeply depressed, anxious and feel they have lost all hope of ever recovering.

At Delamere we treat all conditions presenting in our guests simultaneously. We find that this approach vastly reduces the risks of relapse and is conducive to long term recovery from both alcohol and depression.

A correct diagnosis is vital to a full recovery

Depression and alcoholism often present together but not all patients suffer from a true dual diagnosis. More often than not, by treating the alcohol aspect safety, appropriately and comprehensively, the depression is naturally lifted and resolved.

In some cases of alcoholism and depression, however, the depression is a major factor in the persons alcohol use. They may have started to abuse alcohol to self medicate. This in itself would exacerbate the symptoms of depression, perhaps causing the individual to drink even more.

Dual diagnosis conditions that co occur can often present a chicken and egg scenario; which came first can be difficult to pinpoint by the individual and by the NHS. This is because the NHS’s mental health and alcohol teams work separately rather than together.

At Delamere’s addiction treatment and behavioural wellness facility we are able to accurately assess, diagnose and treat guests suffering from dual diagnosis conditions within the safety of our purpose built treatment facility.

We have our own in-house multidisciplinary team, consisting of a fully qualified consultant psychiatrist, doctors, nurses, addiction treatment counsellors and holistic therapists.

If you, or someone you love, are suffering from a problem with alcohol and depression, it is vital that you are professionally assessed before being treated. Call our Delamere team today for an free initial over the telephone assessment of your treatment needs.

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Can alcohol cause depression?

The answer to this is quite simply yes! Alcohol is a depressant drug and can have a severe negative impact on a persons mental wellbeing as well as their physical health (1).

When alcohol is used excessively it can stop the brain from naturally producing the organic chemicals that make us feel content, emotionally balanced and motivated.

Many that suffer from alcoholism and alcohol dependence are unable to produce mother nature’s feel good chemicals due to alcohols toxins damaging the brains reward system. The only way they can feel any pleasure is to drink alcohol. Even then, the alcohol eventually stops working.

It is at the point, that alcohol’s negative effects will start to heavily outweigh the benefits. An individual who is compelled to drink can feel acutely overwhelmed by their situation. Hopelessness creeps in as does anxiety, depression and even suicidal ideation.

In an individual that suffers from alcohol addiction, abuse or dependence and who is also displaying symptoms of depression, it is vital that they access professional medical and therapeutic treatment for all conditions presenting without delay.

The link between alcohol and depression

We know that alcohol can not only trigger the onset of depression, but that it can also make already existing depression much, much worse.

There is a definite connection between excessive alcohol use and increased incidences of self-harm and suicide (2)

Alcohol works on parts of the brain that control emotions, self-control, impulsiveness, inhibitions and perception (amongst many others). This can lead a depressed individual to have the courage and impulsiveness to carry out a suicide attempt whilst intoxicated.

Alcohol can also cause an individual to feel deeply depressed and anxious following a heavy drinking episode.

Consuming alcohol produces initial feelings of euphoria and relaxation. This results from alcohol initiating an excessive release of dopamine into the persons brain. Following on from alcohols initial euphoric high, there inevitably follows a crash.

Once alcohols effects have worn off, dopamine levels fall to subnormal levels. A person who experiences this frequently will be tempted to drink alcohol just to feel normal (or to what they perceive to be normal)

Those that drink to harmful levels are much more prone to the negative effects of alcohol on their mental health and to suffering from anxiety and depression.

Alcohol and depression are connected when:

  • You regularly drink or binge drink, afterwards you to feel anxious or depressed. Alcohol causes chemical imbalances in the brain’s dopamine reward system, suppressing the natural production of serotonin as well as depleting it.
  • You drink alcohol in order to relieve depressive symptoms or anxiousness. Alcohol can temporarily provide relaxing and calming effects but once these wear off symptoms of depression and anxiety not only return but are amplified.
  • You are drinking to suppress difficult emotions or memories rather than working through them or addressing the route causes. Drinking alcohol only provides a temporary reprieve and can have the adverse effect of causing you to re-live past unpleasant experiences over and over, even during sober moments (3)
  • You suffer from regular hangovers that lead to a cycle of waking up feeling depressed, anxious, tired and generally unwell
  • Your alcohol use creates difficulties within your life (i.e your career, sex life, family life and social life), which again can cause you to feel depressed and anxious.
  • Alcohols toxins alter the brains chemistry causing imbalances. The more you drink, the more at risk you are of developing depressive symptoms and other mental health related illnesses
  • As your alcohol use increases, so do your depressive symptoms
  • You drink to help you sleep. Alcohol may help you to fall asleep initially but prevents a normal sleep pattern or quality sleep from being established. This can lead a person to feeling permanently lethargic, low in mood and unmotivated. Day to day tasks can start to feel very much like hard work (3)
Rob Dawkins
Rob Dawkins
February 11, 2021.
Wonderful staff, an amazing facility and the best treatment centre. I would highly recommend Delamere. From the moment I walked in to the day I left i felt supported and at ease. A fantastic staff team round the clock, always someone there when you need them. A highly specialised program is run daily with expert councillors on hand to support.
Colin McClymont
Colin McClymont
February 10, 2021.
Delamere Rehab Clinic is a bespoke, purpose built facility, which has been well designed and finished to a very high standard. It sits in over six acres of well maintained grounds and has a welcoming, tranquil, calm feeling throughout.The bedrooms are comfortable and well appointed , the food is excellent ,catering for a wide variety of tastes ,and made to order if the menu isn't to your liking. Delamere has a modern, holistic approach to addiction recovery, with an experienced team of well trained mentors and therapists, which makes the daily sessions informative, engaging and motivational. Everyone at Delamere from the CEO and Clinical Director, the Mentors and Therapists, to the Administration, Catering and Domestic staff, are all dedicated to meeting your individual needs during your stay. I am happy to recommend Delamere to anyone looking for a top class addiction recovery rehab clinic.
Hugh Wilson
Hugh Wilson
January 26, 2021.
Excellent treatment centre, works on the root of the issue rather than just treating the symptoms. It was lovely to have a holistic approach rather than just a 12 step based program. A lot of the councillors and phycologists are in recovery themselves, and the mentors also have a wealth of first hand knowledge to offer. The facilities themselves are very modern and the rooms are well presented and comfortable. It has lovely grounds and even boasts a well equipped gym. The kitchen staff were happy to meet any dietary requirements and the food was excellent The magaging director even does some of the group therapy sessions and they seem to be very focused on not only tailoring care to suit the person but on the indivials ongoing recovery. They have a caring and attentive nursing staff as well as a phyciatrist, so that any medicinal needs are well monitored and detox can be as comfortable as possible. What really makes this place stand out is they treat you like adults, there is a degree of trust you rarely find in facilities such as this. I found this environment to be open and honest and ask only that you return the courtesy. A lot of other places treat you as children or subjects to be broken down and rebuilt. There is a strong emphasis on sharing trauma and discussing it in a non judgmental environment which led me to the realisation that I was not alone. There is also a strong emphasis on community, the lounge areas provide you with the opportunity to meet other guests outside of therapy and form bonds of fellowship sadly lacking in other facilities. This well rounded approach makes Delemere a unique centre in the UK and is a fantastic choice whatever the scope issues you have.
James Dominiak
James Dominiak
November 18, 2020.
Delemere has changed my life. From the moment I walked through the door broken they looked after me and helped me be put back together. The staff and facilities were brilliant and they helped me through a very difficult time in my life.
Alex Hawke
Alex Hawke
November 15, 2020.
From the initial contact with Admissions manager Alex, through to Martin and his team.... at no point did they ever make me feel on edge despite many coming in having preconceived ideas regarding recovery. Displaying sympathy and compassion on arrival regardless of situation or medical condition is a great starting point. From the face to face daily sessions regarding therapy and recovery around substance dependency, to food and an emphasis on healthy eating.... I was continually surprised at their pursuit towards guests improving daily, striving and succeeding. Providing the best level of care, without prejudice, to all who come in through their front door. Delamere is amazing, Martin and his team ensure that you get the best level of care around the clock, without any hesitation, regarding immediate medical advice/medications with their 24/7 nursing team as well as Healthcare team. Coming to Delamere to help treat a long term medical condition was a choice I would highly recommend to anyone who is struggle through day to day life, especially with the world at unease regarding the impact the Virus has had.
michael watson
michael watson
October 31, 2020.
If you're looking for a treatment centre look no further - Excellent addiction treatment, therapy. personal development and great food. The staff were amazing.
Ian Benson
Ian Benson
October 29, 2020.
Delamere has literally saved my life. Great staff and 24/7 care. Medication is given at a professional level and the food is amazing. 3 meals a day. Nothing is rushed and the staff make you feel at home. The rooms are really modern and comfy. When I came to Delamere I was in a really bad place due to alcohol, they've turned my life around. I advise anyone with alcohol or drug problems to go to Delamere. Thank you to Martin and all the team.

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How your mood is affected once the alcohol wears off – Alcohol, Depression and Serotonin

Regular use of and/or excessive use of alcohol changes the brains chemistry. Alcohol decreases and depletes the levels of serotonin that the brain produces. Serotonin plays a key role in our mental health, helping us to feel emotionally balanced and happy.

As a result of alcohol depleting natural serotonin levels, a person’s mood starts to drop. They start to feel sad and hopeless. This can trigger a clinical cycle where an individual increases their drinking to temporarily relieve their depressive mood. This in turn causes a further depletion in serotonin which can trigger the drinking and depression to become progressively worse (1)

Alcohol and Antidepressants – Why they are not a good mix

Many individuals who suffer from depression, seek medical help and may be prescribed antidepressants to increase the amounts of serotonin in the brain to restore balance. This is often (and clinically advised) to be combined with counselling or therapy for maximum effectiveness.

Antidepressants can take several weeks to work, sometimes months. If the individual continues to drink whilst taking the antidepressants, they simply will not work.

The alcohol will continue to deplete serotonin, rendering the effects of antidepressants ineffective. This can leave them feeling more hopeless than ever.

It is also important to note that with many antidepressants it is not safe to drink alcohol, due to possible negative side effects and interactions that may occur.

Furthermore, drinking excessively lessens the helpfulness of therapy and counselling. Whilst a person is drinking excessively, their mood will be too unstable, their perspective and cognitive ability impaired and they will be unable to implement effective changes or tap into their true emotions.

Treatment for alcohol, depression and anxiety

At Delamere we are extremely proficient and experienced in treating all kinds of alcohol use disorders and their common co occurring mental health illnesses. We treat all conditions presenting within our guests simultaneously. This has been medically proven to be the most effective way of preventing relapse and enabling a full recovery.

Any guest that enters one of our bespoke treatment programmes will be comprehensively assessed by our consultant psychiatrist, doctors and counsellors. Our distinguished professionals work closely together as a team, ensuring that each guest receives the best treatment possible.

In cases of alcohol and depression, the alcohol will initially be removed through a bespoke medical alcohol detox to minimise alcohol withdrawal symptoms. This process is monitored 24/7 by our team of qualified nurses.

Once the alcohol has been safely and comfortably removed, we can then reassess our guests psychiatric wellbeing on a more in depth level, without the fog of alcohol clouding the issue.

Rehabilitation treatment for both alcohol and depression are delivered simultaneously at Delamere, using evidence based treatment methods delivered by our exemplary team of experts. Where deemed necessary, therapeutic rehabilitation is combined with medical intervention to ensure a full and lasting recovery.

Recovery from alcohol and depression is possible with the correct diagnosis, treatment and ongoing support. Call us today to find out more.

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  1. Mental Health Foundation. Cheers Report. Available at [accessed August 2018].
  2. Sullivan LE, Fiellin DA, O’Connor PG. The prevalence and impact of alcohol problems in major depression: a systematic review. The American Journal of Medicine. 2005 Apr 1;118(4):330-41.
  3. PsychCental (2014). Alcohol May Not Help: Alcohol’s Impact on Your Mental Health. Available at [accessed August 2018].