Skip to main content

Will My Depression Get Better When I Stop Drinking?

Depressant drugs and substances are ones which depress the nervous system rather than stimulate it. A depressed nervous system means everything moves and responds more slowly. Though it might seem illogical for someone with depression to turn to alcohol to cope, there is a high frequency of alcohol use disorder co-occurring with depressive disorders. Alcohol can have analgesic effects and produce some level of pleasure, making the difficult symptoms of depression feel more tolerable. Many people use alcohol to self-medicate for coping with their depression. More often than not, people are stuck in a cycle of depression and alcohol, one making the other worse, and one creating the other.

Depression is likely to improve after you’ve quit drinking because of the ways that alcohol worsens depression. For example, alcohol can lower the levels of serotonin as well as norepinephrine in the brain. People who are struggling with depression already have a chemical imbalance of both serotonin and norepinephrine. When alcohol reduces the production of these mood regulation chemicals, the brain becomes more depressed. Additionally, alcohol depresses the production of stress hormones like cortisol, which for most people is a bonus. A reduction in stress hormones means the nervous system is even more depressed. Stress hormones can encourage motivation, energy, and movement. Depression commonly has symptoms like lack of motivation, lethargy, and fatigue. Combining alcohol and depression can result in exasperated symptoms as well, like:

  • Pervasive feelings of guilt and shame
  • Increased desperation, hopelessness, and helplessness
  • Feeling cognitive fog and being unable to function
  • Disruptions in sleep
  • Changes in appetite
  • Physical aches and pains
  • Suicidal tendencies

When you stop drinking, you will have a reduction in the amount of substances depressing your system. You will see an improvement after the detox and stabilization period. Treatment will provide you with regular psychiatry evaluations to provide guidance in depression treatment or psychopharmaceutical care.

If you are struggling with thoughts of suicide, please call or text the National Suicide Prevention Hotline at Call 1-800-273-8255.


Dual diagnosis treatment is shown to have a significant impact on reducing the symptoms of depression while eliminating the need to turn to alcohol to cope. Harmony Place offers residential treatment for dual diagnosis with quality care beyond exception. Our luxury residences provide all the comfort of home while our treatment plans deliver excellence in clinical treatment. For a private assessment and more information, contact us today.