Depression may cause relapse to drinking

Alcoholics who have depression at time of admission to treatment are more than twice as likely to relapse than people without dpression. This is the conclusion reached by researchers who studied 40 women and 61 men.

Additionally depression was associated with an earlier drinking session than those without depression. No differences were found between men and women.

The results mean that treatment services should always check for depression and treat accordingly.

If people are not attending a treatment service they should check with their healthcare worker to see if they need treatment for depression. Many alcoholics have felt depressed for so long that they may not associate their low mood and mood swings with depression.

Alcoholics Anonymous, for example, suggests that people always have a medical check up when starting to recover from alcoholism.

The researchers concluded by saying “Our results differ from earlier reports that men and women differ in the effect of depression on return to drinking.”

The research  by Shelly F. Greenfield and associates called The Effect of Depression on Return to Drinking; A Prospective Study, published in the Arch Gen Psychiatry. 1998;55:259-265.

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