For the past few months I’ve been feeling really sad and emotional for no reason. The littlest things make me cry, I cry at night sometimes before bed but I don’t know what I’m crying about. I find myself staying up watching movies because when I attempt to fall asleep my mind starts racing with things that stress me out, when I finally do fall asleep it’s hard to wake up because I don’t want to start my day and when I do get up I’m just negative and sad. I cut back on alcohol a lot, I use to drink heavily every weekend but I haven’t drank for almost a month now, I wasn’t planning on cutting down I just haven’t been feeling like drinking lately and I’ve been having really short term memory about everything. I use to be very social and loved going to events but now I avoid going anywhere that might have a lot of people like the mall on the weekends. I’m not sure if there is something wrong with me or if I’m just a little stressed out with everything that’s going on in my life.

A: Thanks for writing in. I’m sorry you have been feeling so down lately.  Honestly, it sounds like you might be going through a mild depression, but without a complete evaluation, I can’t say for certain. There’s a chance that the depression and memory problems could both be due to your alcohol use, since you said you drank heavily on a regular basis. Alcohol is a “depressant” and it definitely affects our brain’s ability to function correctly. I would suggest that you look up the negative effects of heavy alcohol use just so you understand what it does to your body.

The crying spells, difficulty sleeping, social withdrawal and stressful, racing thoughts are all common signs of depression. Depression can be triggered by stressful life events, changes in brain chemistry, or a combination of both. That’s why it’s always a good idea to seek therapy in addition to having a medication evaluation. With your history of alcohol consumption, you might benefit from having a substance use evaluation as well.

So whether or not you are experiencing a clinical depression or just having some of the symptoms because of what’s going on in your life, I think it would be a good idea to see a mental health professional to get some help.

All the best,

Dr. Holly Counts