Is Drinking Making You Depressed?

Woman on chair holding bottle of wine to her temple.

Drinking has a firm foot in our culture, and it seems to fit any occasion.

Having a birthday and turning 21, 30, or 50? Have a round on the house!

Getting married? Crank up Rihanna’s “Cheers (Drink to That)” and throw one (or five) back while grooving on the dance floor into the wee hours of the morning.

Going on a first date? Why not meet at the bar for a classy cocktail or glass of wine?

Had a hard day at work, bad week, or even a rough month when you just can’t seem to shake that sinking feeling? Nothing a drink to lift the spirits can’t solve…

And that’s where we begin to run into trouble — self-medicating our depression through alcohol consumption.

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Is Depression Genetic?

Mother holding child's hand

By now most of us know the symptoms of major depression well: Loss of pleasure in favorite activities, irritability, significant weight gain or loss, changes in sleeping habits, loss of energy, feeling worthless, an inability to think clearly, indecisiveness, hopelessness, and at its most severe, recurring thoughts of suicide.

The impact of depression is debilitating. The World Health Organization estimates that more than 300 million people globally suffer from depression — approximately 5 percent of the world’s population — and it’s the leading cause of disability. What’s worse, even in high-income countries nearly 50 percent of those with the illness don’t seek treatment.

And while depression reaches the lives of so many worldwide and is arguably one of the most studied mental illnesses, we still know little about its origins. Is depression genetic? Is it environmental? Short answer: It’s complicated.

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What is Invisible Illness? (+ How to Explain it to Others)

Hipster woman in blue shadow

As the founder of mental health awareness organization The Invisible Illnesses, Emily Torchiana has found that explaining invisible illnesses to others is now second nature. Torchiana travels the country speaking about her experiences with cyber bullying, a suicide attempt, and mental illnesses, all of which give a voice to the invisible.

“Our slogan is ‘Just because you can’t see it, doesn’t mean it’s not there.’ You can’t see depression, anxiety, or other mental illnesses physically, but that doesn’t mean they don’t exist,” Torchiana tells Talkspace.

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Negative Thinking Got You Down? Here’s How to Shift Your Thoughts

Pensive young woman deep in thought

What would you do if you were in a relationship with someone who constantly criticized, second-guessed or belittled all of your choices, behaviors and decisions?

Hopefully, you would leave immediately, or at least take major issue with being the victim of emotional abuse.

But what if … that critical person was you?

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What Is Happiness, Anyway?

Person sitting by the ocean

If you Google the phrase “how to be happy,” you’ll be met with about 207 million answers.

There’s the recent study that examined how much money a person needs to make to lead the happiest and most satisfied life possible ($95,000/year for overall satisfaction, and $60-75,000 for day-to-day happiness). There’s a quiz on how to be happier at work, infinite mommy blogs detailing how to find personal happiness as a mom, wellness publications offering unconventional ways to boost happiness, religious content exploring what happiness looks like as a Christian … you get the point. Everyone has something to say about what it means to be happy. As a result, happiness feels almost like a myth.

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3 Misconceptions Your Coworker With Depression Wants You To Stop Believing

Young employee frustrated at her desk
Photo credit: AdobeStock/anyaberkut

3 Misconceptions Your Coworker With Depression Wants You To Stop Believing” originally appeared on Fairygodboss, an online career community for women, by women.

In the past few years, there has been an uptick in people being more open about mental health issues, and for that, I will forever be grateful. For too long, people felt ashamed to admit when they were battling anxiety or depression, even though they are two of the most common mental illnesses in the U.S., alone.

However, that doesn’t mean there aren’t still a few irritatingly persistent stereotypes and misconceptions about depression around. Here are a few things that your coworker with depression wants you to stop believing.
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The Surprising New Connection between Sleep and Mental Health

Woman with alarm clock

Sleep research is gradually establishing itself as an important field, and a recent study focusing on the relationship between insomnia and depression may have useful implications for mental health practitioners.

Insomnia is generally regarded as a core symptom of depression, but new research shows that it may actually be a cause of it. The study, which was conducted by sleep researchers at the Sleep and Circadian Neuroscience Institute at the University of Oxford in the United Kingdom, found that “sleep disruption is a driving factor in the occurrence of paranoia, hallucinatory experiences, and other mental health problems in young adults with an average age of 25.”

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How I Knew I Had Bipolar Disorder, Not Depression

mentally ill young woman double exposure

In 1997 I was a happy person. I had recently moved to a new city with my then-boyfriend, gotten a little distance from my family, and started attending university. I was working toward a bachelor’s of computer science. It was challenging, but I was handling it and feeling uplifted by the challenge.

I was used to a roller-coaster of moods through my earlier teenage years, but I thought that turbulence was behind me. I had no idea anything was brewing in my brain.

Unfortunately, by the end of 1998, my mental health had reached its breaking point. I had slid, little by little, into the vortex of a severe depression. By that time I was wishing for death every day, could barely get out of bed, and had turned to self-harm for some small measure of relief. I had no idea why these things were happening to me as nothing notable had preceded them, but they were obviously happening — brutally.

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Dating a Man with Depression: What You Need to Know and Do

Man silhouetted looking out bedroom window

When you date a man with depression, it can become a struggle to maintain a relationship with him and protect your own mental health. The experience is not fundamentally different than dating someone without a mental illness, but there are issues that are more likely to arise.

By understanding these issues and knowing how to respond, you can support the man you love without threatening the relationship or your emotional wellbeing. Continue reading Dating a Man with Depression: What You Need to Know and Do

5 Celebrities Who Battled Depression and Came Out Strong

Halle Berry depression

People with millions of dollars, academy awards, platinum albums or a ubiquitous name may have the “good life,” but that doesn’t mean they are happier. Celebrities are not immune to depression. Fame can actually make you more vulnerable to mental illness.

Fortunately, their stories of battling depression can be insightful and enlightening, at least for those of us who aren’t in the headlines every week. They show how celebrities are fundamentally the same as any other person who deals with mental health issues. Continue reading 5 Celebrities Who Battled Depression and Came Out Strong