Adele Battled Depression, Alcohol Use After Pregnancy

Adele opened up to Vanity Fair about her struggles with postpartum depression and alcohol use. In the magazine’s December 2016 issue, the British singer revealed her difficulties with motherhood after giving birth to her son, Angelo. She describes her obsession with her child and how inadequate she felt without him. “My knowledge of postpartum — or post-natal, as we call it in England — is that you don’t want to be with your child; you’re worried you might hurt your child; you’re worried you weren’t doing a good job,” Adele told Vanity Fair. However, she began spending time with other mothers and realized they all shared the same fear of being a bad mother. This connection and openness with others going through the same thing helped her overcome postpartum depression. The condition can cause severe mood swings, excessive crying and anxiety or panic attacks in mothers. Women experiencing postpartum depression may also have difficulty bonding with their babies, feel withdrawn from loved ones and have trouble sleeping. Adele isn’t the first celebrity to struggle with postpartum depression. Actress Hayden Panettiere sought treatment for the condition in October 2015 and May 2016, and “Friends” actress Courteney Cox experienced postpartum depression after the birth of her daughter in June 2004. Wilson Phillips singer Carnie Wilson told People Magazine that her bout with depression caused her great sadness and fear. Adele also said she used to be a massive drinker and heavy smoker. She used to “love to be drunk,” though she says she never experienced drunken blackouts. She has avoided that lifestyle since the birth of her son. The “Hello” singer also revealed that a family friend died of heroin overdose, which steered her away from drug use. “I’m scared of a lot of things now because I don’t want to die,” she said. “I want to be around for my kid.”

Postpartum Depression and Alcohol Use

While Adele’s drinking problem existed before her pregnancy, many women suffering from postpartum depression turn to alcohol. In fact, alcohol use disorders and depression commonly co-occur. A 2004 study published in Alcoholism: Clinical and Experimental Research indicated that women who smoke cigarettes, experience depression or binge drink at any point during their pregnancy are at risk for depression and alcohol use during their first year postpartum. In some cases, postpartum depression worsens drinking patterns because alcohol is a depressant. Researchers at the University of Wisconsin Hospital and Clinics conducted an investigation to identify postpartum drinking patters and factors correlated with postpartum risky drinking among women who were frequent drinkers before pregnancy. Frequent drinking was defined as consumption of seven or more drinks per week on average. Risky drinking was defined as consumption of four or more drinks per occasion at least twice in the past 28 days, or drinking an average of seven or more drinks per week. The 2007 report published in the Journal of Studies on Alcohol and Drugs found that 37.8 percent of women in the study reported postpartum risky drinking. Forty percent of women who frequently drank before pregnancy engaged in risky drinking at three months postpartum.

Celebrities and Alcohol Abuse

Adele joins a long list of celebrities who have dealt with problem drinking. Alcohol abuse is common in Hollywood. High-profile entertainers who drink suffer consequences similar to those of everyone else. Musician Eric Clapton battled heroin addiction as well as addiction to alcohol and cocaine for years. He told NPR that alcohol abuse led to promiscuous behaviors. As of 2007, he had been sober for 20 years. “Star Wars” actress Carrie Fisher has been open about her struggles with substance abuse and mental illness. She attended Alcoholics Anonymous meetings to overcome alcoholism. Actress and Musician Demi Lovato struggled with alcohol, cocaine, eating disorders and self-harm. The “Confident” singer told Access Hollywood that she would smuggle cocaine and soda bottles filled with vodka onto airplanes. At age 19, she had hit rock bottom. “I think at 19 years old, I had a moment where I was like, ‘Oh my God … that is alcoholic behavior,’” she said. Many celebrities have died of alcohol-related causes, including singer Billie Holiday, Truman Capote and Amy Winehouse.

Medical Disclaimer: aims to improve the quality of life for people struggling with a substance use or mental health disorder with fact-based content about the nature of behavioral health conditions, treatment options and their related outcomes. We publish material that is researched, cited, edited and reviewed by licensed medical professionals. The information we provide is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. It should not be used in place of the advice of your physician or other qualified healthcare provider.

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