Quite often we hear that from our patients that Alcohol makes them feel more relaxed and they can sleep better when they drink. Especially these days that everyone is stressed out about lockdown, stage IV restrictions, Home schooling, financial crisis, losing the jobs etc.
We know that is true to feel a bit relaxed after a drink, however in the long run, heavy and regular drinking alcohol interacts with brain chemicals (we call them neurotransmitters) which are very vital for good mental health. It will also contribute to Depression and Anxiety.
HERE ARE THE FACTS
- Alcohol and Depression
What we know is that alcohol affects several nerve-chemical systems within our bodies, which are important in regulating our mood. Studies show that depression can follow on from heavy drinking, and that reducing or stopping drinking can improve mood.
- Alcohol and Anxiety
A drink might be helpful for someone experiencing anxiety in the short term, which is due to the chemical changes’ alcohol causes in the brain. But these effects wear off very fast. Relying on alcohol to mask anxiety could also lead to a greater reliance on it to relax. A likely side effect of this is the increased risk of building up a tolerance to alcohol.
Over time we will need to drink more alcohol to get the same feeling. And, in the medium to longer term, this pattern often leads to alcohol dependence.
When we drink, we don’t always respond to all the surrounding cues. If we’re prone to anxiety and notice something that could be interpreted as threatening in the environment, there is a tendency to focus on that and miss the other less threatening – or neutral – information.
To manage the stress and anxiety without drinking alcohol, you can try different relaxation strategies such as meditation, Yoga, breathing techniques etc.
Let us know if you need to talk to somebody, as we have psychologists and counsellors to support you in this regard. You can call us on 5911 7014 to get more information.
- Alcohol and Suicide and self harm
Alcohol can cause people to lose their inhibitions and behave impulsively, so it can lead to actions they might not otherwise have taken including self-harm and even suicide.
There is a strong association between drinking heavily (either chronic or acute alcohol misuse) and suicidal thoughts, suicide attempts, and death from suicide.
To learn more about drinking medical and mental health problems, go to https://www.drinkaware.co.uk/
There are lots of good info on this website as well; https://au.reachout.com/everyday-issues/alcohol-and-drugs
Stay safe guys. We will be here for you if you need any help.