Depression & Substance Use
Discover how alcohol and other substances affect depression.
Depression and drinking or using other substances
People with problems like 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, and they only notice that they feel good after they have had a few drinks or have used substances.
Even though it feels like it might be drinking alcohol or using other substances can actually make depression worse. They only provide short-term relief, and their negative effects can cause more problems. You might be able to forget your troubles for a few hours, but you aren’t building any long-term skills or strategies to deal with the challenges of depression.
- Alcohol lowers a person’s mood because it is actually a depressant.
- Alcohol and other substances only cover up symptoms for short time and in the long run they 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.
- For information on where to get support take a look at the Get Support section and at the 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.