Alcohol and Depression

When you are writing a book about health you are sometimes convicted by your own behaviors. It’s a bad idea to drink alcohol when you struggle with depression or even when you’ve had depression in your past. It’s a depressive drug. Most of us probably know that.
If you don’t think about it a whole lot, you can just kind of cover your ears and say “la la la la” if the topic ever comes up over your beer.
But a few events have collided, inspired this blog post, and finally got me to write the inset article about alcohol for the book.
My son has gotten into “stories” in the past year. As we drive the long hour or two to civilization weekly, I always hear “Mama, tell me a story.” I am pretty long on stories, but even I get bored with the exchange on occasion. I decided to practice speaking techniques in the context of specific “stories.” So I have a “story” about drugs. It’s an anti-drug message perfect for a young child. The story includes some great persuasive descriptions and a repetitive refrain that I deliver with great energy:
“It’s easier never to start than it is to stop once you are addicted.”
The speech comes packed with stories of Aunt Frances, who was given two days to live and still walked out of the hospital with her pickled liver. She would have lived, of course, had she actually stopped drinking when she returned home.
“As tough as she was, Frederick, she couldn’t stop drinking once she was addicted.”
We role-play refusal techniques. He claims he’s “already cool” and “doesn’t need a toke.” (And I become acutely aware at times that I don’t know slang terms for drugs. I’ll have to make a few calls before I take my speech on the road.)
And so it was just a matter of time before I got the question:
“Mom, why are you drinking? It’s not healthy. You need to stop.”
I was careful in my speeches to discuss “too much” alcohol so that this day would not come. And yet the day is here.
The fact of the matter is that since about December I have pretty easily consumed my weight in wine quite a number of times. When the “>number of deaths in your friendship circle becomes Apocalyptic, these things tend to happen.
“Frederick, you are right. I am going to finish this glass and when you return from Magic Mountain, I will not drink anymore.”
I can assure you that Frederick will not forget the promise. And because I will not sneak alcohol from anyone, that makes tonight the end of the wine.
In honor of the end, I finally wrote the inset article for the book. It’s amusing in this context that I put it off for so long. And as it turns out, it is a probably a bit of a softball treatment of the issue in the context of depression, but it was the best I could muster given the probable state of my own B-vitamins today:

Alcohol and Depression
Alcohol is not only a depressive drug, but it actually depletes your body of depression-fighting nutrients. B-vitamins in particular are lost as you drink. Studies in humans of blood levels of folate show that hours after a drink, our blood levels of folate fall (Stowell 2000). Folate is difficult enough to get in our diets, it seems like a good idea to take it easy on the drinks.

I will have my last glass in about an hour. A plate of liver tomorrow, packed with folate, will be the beginning of my penance.

2 Responses to Alcohol and Depression
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