Alcohol, mental health and co-occurring disorders

It’s not unusual to have alcohol dependence and co-occuring mental health problems. For example, you could have depression, general anxiety or social anxiety disorder, to name but a few, and an alcohol dependence or substance misuse disorder.  This is what is understood as co-occurring disorders.


Some people with an untreated mental health disorder start using alcohol as a way to self-medicate. Others develop the symptoms of a mental health disorder only after alcohol misuse. This suggests that excessive alcohol use can trigger or make the symptoms of a mental health disorder worse1,2.


Co-occurring disorders

The relationship between alcohol use and mental health problems is rather complex. Co-occurring disorders affect and interact with each other. When a mental health problem is left untreated, the drinking problem usually gets worse as well. And it also goes the other way around; when an alcohol problem increases, it can make mental health problems worse3.

Help is available

If you experience a drinking problem and/or a mental health problem, it is important to talk to a healthcare professional. There are treatments, support options and self-help strategies that can help you overcome co-occurring disorders.  Contact us by using our Request a Call Back Form or emailing us at