Can Drinking Alcohol Heavily Amplify Depression?

04/01/2012 10:01 GMT | Updated 04/03/2012 10:12 GMT

For those who - like me - prefer their Christmas spirit served in a glass, the holiday season can become synonymous with heavy drinking. Following a hefty few nights over the Christmas and New Year period I once again realised that hangovers were no good for my mental health.

In my case, I've found that after a particularly liver-busting night, I can be especially susceptible to a hangover-induced bout of depression. Although I've been aware of this for a few years, my family are starting to notice it and after a quick Google, I found forums where users debated whether depression could become more intense with age - really?

It's commonly accepted that we aren't the friendliest of characters after a night out on the razz, but can the cognitive hangover effects be amplified by clinical depression?

The drinking culture in journalism is no secret and everyone knows that old school hacks traditionally drink a lot. The new generation of journalists don't want this to be a forgotten tradition and are more than happy for a midweek booze up. There isn't a day that goes by in my newsroom where at least one member of the editorial staff isn't hungover.

My personal approach to this is to use diversionary tactics. If I drink during the week, I'm at work by 8am and by the time lunch comes around I'm ravenous, by 5pm, I'm fine. By remembering the rules to overcoming bouts of depression it can be much easier to alleviate most of the problem: being mindful that it's just a phase and remembering that it is a condition; it doesn't directly represent how you feel.

The Royal College of Psychologists claim to know there is a connection between alcohol and depression, they've reported that self-harm and suicide are much more common in those with both depression and alcohol problems. It is apparent that these people fall into two categories; those who drink too much which leads to them feeling depressed and those who drink to relieve anxiety or depression.

In their report, they discuss how drinking excessively could be a cause for depression and anxiety. They do however note that their study is only including those with serious alcoholism.

Although I've never drank alcohol because I was depressed, I have - like most people - felt in need of a quick drink. They also suggest that smoking tobacco and using drugs could contribute to ill-feelings and although I don't use recreational drugs, my smoking does increase during these periods.

So what does that mean for the rest of us who just enjoy a good beer?

The correlation between an average drinker and mental health illnesses isn't hugely documented, on researching this blog, I found it difficult to find any information at all. I would love to hear your own personal stories though, email me at and let me know your thoughts on drinking with depression.