Alcohol May Not Help: Alcohol’s Impact on Your Mental Health

Alcohol May Not Help: Alcohol’s Impact on Your Mental Health


Alcoholism is common among people suffering from mental health conditions. People experiencing anxiety, depression, impulsivity, or other diagnosable mental illnesses often turn to alcohol to find temporary solace. Additionally, people who do not have a mental health diagnosis, yet are encountering a phase of overwhelming emotions, drink dangerously..

For example, while struggling with the aftermath of trauma, such as physical or sexual abuse, people drink to escape the pain. Alcohol is used as a coping mechanism for those enduring a great deal of stress or hardship, such as getting fired from a job or losing a loved one.

Drinking represses the negative emotions that affect the mental well-being of those with diagnosed mental health concerns and those who simply feel emotionally flooded.

While it may allow for a short-lived relief from anxiety, depression, or overwhelming feelings, drinking alcohol is not a smart choice in the grand scope of mental well-being. The popular misconception that drinking relieves stress deludes people into thinking that things will feel better after a few drinks. And they might, for an hour or two, as alcohol races through the body, creating a false sense of stimulation.

However, as time goes on, and drinking becomes excessive, alcohol raids the central nervous system, shifting the normal processes within the body and brain.

People need to be educated about how drinking negatively affects mental health. I’ve spent three decades clinically treating emerging adults with mental health concerns, many having a coexisting dependency on alcohol. I composed a guide, Ten Good Mental Health Reasons Not to Drink, as a way to expose the effects of alcohol on mental well-being. This valuable resource explains the social and emotional consequences of drinking.

The first few points describe how alcohol disrupts brain and body functioning. Drinking revamps brain processes such as forming memories and learning new information. It can be difficult to recall the details of events when alcohol is involved. Drinking also agitates the body’s ability to rest.

Instead of restoring vital organs and cells during the process of sleep, the body has to work harder than normal to break down alcohol in the system. When alcohol interferes with normal sleep patterns, energy levels sink. Moods fluctuate as a result of drinking, since alcohol directly depresses the central nervous system.

Additionally, Ten Good Mental Health Reasons Not to Drink touches on how alcohol gets in the way of good decision-making. While under stress and feeling anxious, people drink to find temporary relief. However, drinking leads to a rebound in anxiety levels, often making matters worse than before.

Drinking lowers inhibition. Excess alcohol consumption usually means fewer personal restrictions are set in place...

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