When people feel depressed, they may try using alcohol or other drugs as a way to feel better. People don’t always even recognize that they’re feeling depressed—they only know that they feel good after they've had a few drinks or get high.
Even though it feels like it might be helping, drinking alcohol or taking other drugs can actually make depression worse. Using alcohol and drugs as a way to cope, only offers short term relief—the feelings are still there once the alcohol or other drugs wear off. 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.
Some Facts About Substance Use
- Alcohol can make depression worse.
- Drugs like cocaine can change the way the brain releases dopamine (a natural chemical produced in our brains). Not having enough dopamine can cause feelings of depression.
- People who use alcohol or other drugs often, and for a long time, may feel depressed for a short time when they stop using them.