Life with MS

Alcohol Use Disorder may be common among people with MS

Alcohol use disorder (or alcoholism – the abuse of and dependence on alcohol) may be more common among people with MS than the general population. According to the National Institutes on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, 6 percent of adults in the United States had alcohol use disorder in 2015. However, an earlier study found that up to 19 percent of people with MS used alcohol excessively, and noted that rates of depression were higher in those with MS who abused alcohol than among those who did not. (Researchers also noted that alcohol abuse by people with MS can compound symptoms of motor and cognitive dysfunction.)
The relationship between alcohol and depression is well established. Nearly one third of people with depression have an alcohol problem. But many people do not realize that drinkers with depression are at greater risk. Depressed drinkers have more frequent and more severe bouts of depression, and are more likely to consider suicide.
Another area of concern is that alcohol use can make certain antidepressant medications less effective. If you suffer from depression related to MS, talk to your doctor about any alcohol use and how that may affect your condition.
Signs of Alcohol Abuse:
• You have difficulty keeping up with major responsibilities due to drinking or hangover
• Your loved ones worry about your drinking or you argue about it
• You have lost friends or relationships over your drinking
• You have had legal problems related to drinking, such as DUIs
• You ever have difficulty recalling what happened while you were drinking or experience    blackouts
• You feel you “need” alcohol to relax, to feel confident, or to feel like yourself
• You drink in the morning, or drink when alone
• You get drunk when you didn’t intend to do so
• You hide or deny drinking.