My mother has been drinking since my dad died. Is she suffering from depression?
One risk of untreated depression is the development of co-morbid substance abuse, including alcohol abuse. Alcohol and drugs make people feel better temporarily, but this effect is only temporary; as the high wears off, despair can set in. After the death of a spouse or other close family member, if excessive drinking develops, it is reasonable to presume that a depression is present. Alcohol abuse can often be missed in older women, particularly if it involves only consumption of wine or beer. Alcohol abuse can cause depression itself – in such circumstances, recovery from the substance abuse usually leads to resolution of the depression. Often-times, depression precipitates the abuse of alcohol and/or drugs and thus will need treatment to promote recovery from the substance abuse.