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I have been feeling a bit down of late. I have had a loss in my family and it was a suicide, and somehow I don't seem to be able to get to sleep any more. Before I go to bed, I down about a bottle of wine a night. It started off as a simple night cap and just progressed from there. Now I start drinking at 5 pm and I hear my friend say they're gonna have a cup of coffee, but I'm already on my first glass of wine. 

I do feel low. I thought the alcohol might calm it down a little and help me to get to sleep, but although it might calm me down a little I get to sleep a couple hours and wake up again feeling quite down. Overall I feel even worse now. Could this be related at all?

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I am a sober alcoholic. 17 years now.

Yes, alcohol can seem to lessen depression when you are already dealing with it, but it can also make depression worse in the long run, or does make depression worse in the long run. Alcohol is a central nervous depressant, quite literally. Though it seems to you that you are sleeping better with the help of alcohol, the opposite is actually true. It disrupts REM sleep and ultimately makes anxiety and depression worse.

You have taken a good step in basically recognizing that you do have a problem. Would you be willing to attend a 12 step program, just to see what it is like?
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Definitely!!! It is a cause and effect situation. Alcohol abuse can cause depression, and depression (and many other mental health disorders) can cause alcohol abuse. The thing about alcohol is that it is available to almost everyone who is looking for a helping hand, and it may seem like those night caps are helping at first. Then, later on, and before we know it, those night caps grow into something much bigger and beyond our control. 

I cannot speak from personal experience but I have seen it in some of my relatives, including my grandfather and an uncle. I know it is possible to break the cycle as well, but you need to be proactive and take steps to get out. 

Rosie

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I think alcoholism often starts this way. When you look at the alcoholic population, there are plenty of people with mental health issues. Whether they're veterans with PTSD, people who suffered trauma in their families such as domestic violence, people with anxiety, depression, even more hard core mental health disorders like schizophrenia or paranoia, alcohol is freely available and socially acceptable and many people notice that drinking makes them feel better for a time.

After a while, the booze begins to control them rather than the other way around. It sounds like you are fairly near the beginning of this awful cycle and breaking it now will be easier than breaking it later. Talking to your family doctor is always a good start. You can get help for your alcohol problem and for your depression at the same time.
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It does sound like you have a problem both with depression, which can cause insomnia and disrupted sleep or on the other hand excessive sleeping, as well as with alcohol abuse. If your depression is the underlying cause of your alcohol problem and it sounds like that, then the way forward would be to address the depression and the alcohol abuse at the same time, so that you are at a lower risk of relapse. 

If on the other hand the alcohol abuse caused the depression, symptoms are likely to lift when the alcohol abuse is addressed, and you will want to focus mainly on alcohol recovery. 

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I can't give you a scientific story, but I know for a fact by looking at people around me that alcohol abuse definitely makes things worse. You start drinking earlier and earlier in the day, and you will need more to get the same effect. In the end, it really, really doesn't help. I know this is an absolute cliche, but a healthy life and plenty of exercise will do you a lot more good than all that booze if you are feeling depressed. Depression isn't solved by alcohol, but science says that exercise and healthy eating do help a lot.
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Alcohol is a well known depressant! People who are already feeling depressed may see the drink as a welcome friend in times of need, but all it does in the end is suck you further into depression and you end up with an alcohol problem along the way. It's so easy to let this happen.

I wanted to ask the OP, have you tried to stop? What happens if you decide not to drink for a night, or two, or three? Do you feel all weird, mentally and physically, if you do that? What about if you have just a few drinks, if you keep to the guidelines on what is healthy? If you can't do that then it is time to realize that you do have an alcohol problem and that you are unlikely to overcome that on your own.

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Hello OP! It is a while since you have checked in. How are you doing now? Are there any changes in your condition?

It would be interesting to see what happens if you quit alcohol for a while or at least cut down. Will your depression symptoms get better? And if you see that stopping drinking makes you feel like you are going crazy, that is a clear sign that you are deep into the alcohol abuse and you need help. It might also be that you can quit (I know people who have done it successfully) and then notice you are actually feeling a lot better.
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Well... I've tried to cut down a little, and I have on some nights. I don't think it's that I'm an alcoholic. It's more that I'm bored and drinking is just what I do when I get back from work. I crack open a bottle and it goes away. You know? I'm single and there just isn't a lot to do. I get bored. There's just so little to be excited about, and I've got into this habit, it makes me feel less bored. Boredom IS another sign of depression, right?

I mean I'm bored but there's nothing much to actually get excited about. My friend invites me places and I just don't feel like going but then I feel this terrible boredom. It's hard to describe.
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Yes, boredom is absolutely a sign of depression. A lack of interest in activities you previously enjoyed, that's how the diagnostic criteria describe it, along with emotional numbness. I would encourage you to seek help at this stage.

Neither I nor anyone else can tell you if you are dependent on alcohol, but whether you are or not, it certainly is clear that you are not feeling the way people would ideally feel! Depression is very common and there are treatments that will really help you, individual therapy, group therapy, and medication if needed.
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The answer is absolutely! Alcohol is a depressant and with continued use it will become significantly worse. That is why most people do not stop drinking because physically they feel pretty bad. With regular alcohol consumption, your brain chemistry becomes altered and your ability to naturally deal with stress, anxiety, and depression becomes disabled. You may want to reach for a drink when you are feeling down, but just know that it just makes it worse and becomes a vicious cycle of abuse.

The Alternative to Alcohol when you are feeling depression, anxious, or stressed, it EXERCISE! Not only is exercise FREE but it is one of the easiest ways to naturally lift up the chemicals to help you feel less anxious or depressed. And in the case that you really need help from alcohol addiction, reach out and ask for help! If anyone has any questions, I am 26 years sober from Alcohol and operate an addiction treatment program, Phoenix Rising Behavioral: ***this post is edited by moderator *** *** posting of web addresses is not allowed*** Please read our Terms of Use

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