Depression & Substance Use
Discover how alcohol and other substances affect depression.
Depression and drinking or using other substances
People experiencing problems such as depression may try using alcohol or other substances as a way to feel better. Some may not be aware that they are struggling with depression; they only notice that they feel good after they have had a few drinks or used substances.
Even though it feels like it might be helping, drinking alcohol or using other substances can actually make depression worse. Using alcohol or other substances as a way to deal with life’s challenges will only provide short-term relief, and the negative effects can cause further problems. Although you might be able to forget your troubles for a few hours, coping this way doesn’t build any long-term skills or strategies to deal with the challenges of depression.
- Alcohol is actually a depressant and lowers a person’s mood.
- Alcohol or other substances only temporarily cover up symptoms and in the long run can make symptoms worse.
- The brain has the ability to achieve the same feelings of well-being that people get from drinking or using other substances.
What you can do
- Check out the Tips for Managing Low Mood and choose a few to try.
- If you do continue to drink or use other substances take a look at our Tips for Safer Alcohol Use and Tips for Reducing the Risk of Harm From Substance Use.
- Our Get Support Section has more information on where to get support and Tips for Talking with Someone if you’re not sure where to start.
For tips, tools, and other support options to build healthier coping strategies check out these sections.