A psychiatrist once told me that women with depression shouldn’t drink. Alcohol is a depressant, and if you are already depressed, alcohol could make those symptoms worse. I’m not sure why he took my gender into account, except that according to the CDC, women just can’t tolerate as much booze as men. They recommend that women have no more than seven drinks a week, while men get 14.
My psychiatrist reasoned that since I have depression, I should not drink. But I have had depression for much longer than I have been drinking, and so I kept it up. Even though my hangovers have gotten worse with age, I’ve never tied one on that I couldn’t come back from.
There is a boatload of literature that links addiction and mental health issues. Everyone knows that many people drink and do drugs as a way to self-medicate. But what if you are being treated for a mental health issue and just so happen to also love the taste whiskey?
Over the years, I have found many reasons to cut down on my drinking, which was always a lot more than what the CDC wanted. I’ve never cut back to help control my depression. When I heard about Dry January, the month when people to stop drinking so they can detox from the holiday booze binge, I started to wonder if laying off the sauce would have a an effect on my mood.
People who regularly partake in Dry January, which was created by the UK org Alcohol Concern, say it helps them save money, lose weight, sleep better, have more energy, and see unicorns. OK, maybe not the last one, but you get the point:. Drinking, then suddenly not drinking for 30 days, is apparently amazing.
If alcohol is a depressant, could not drinking be an anti-depressant? This month I plan to find out. I can't promise it'll be super interesting, but I’ll post about my #DryJanuary along with great recipes for water on my social accounts.
UPDATE: After 10 days, I had not saved money, lost weight, slept better, or had more energy. I certainly didn't see unicorns. I did notice a difference in my mood, and it was not positive. The best way to describe it is "way more bitchy." And so, I am modifying this experiment to "Damp January."