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While the effects of alcoholism may sometimes have a short-term favorable influence on our mood, they can also have a negative impact on our mental health in the long run. It has been shown that drinking alcohol is associated with a variety of mental health concerns ranging from sadness and memory loss to suicide.
Drinking heavily on a regular basis has been shown to interfere with chemicals in the brain that is essential for optimal mental health. While we may feel comfortable after a drink, alcoholism has a negative influence on our mental health in the long run. It may lead to feelings of sadness and anxiety, as well as make stress more difficult to cope with in the short term.
Effect of alcohol on the brain
The brain is dependent on a delicate balance of chemicals and processes to function properly. Because alcoholism is depressive, it has the potential to upset this delicate balance, impacting our thoughts, emotions, and behaviors – and, in some cases, our long-term mental well-being. Neurotransmitters, which are molecules that aid in the transmission of messages from one nerve (or neuron) in the brain to another play a role in this, to some extent.
As an example, the comfortable sensation we might get after having a drink is due to the chemical alterations that alcohol has induced in our brains. Alcoholism starts to decrease the region of the brain related to inhibition, which might make some individuals feel more confident and less apprehensive after they have had a few drinks.
As we consume more alcoholic beverages, the negative influence on our cognitive performance grows. And, regardless of how we’re feeling, increased alcohol intake has the potential to exacerbate unpleasant feelings, which may have a detrimental influence on our mental health as a result of the consequences. The use of alcoholic beverages has been connected to aggressiveness, with some persons reporting that they become furious, aggressive, worried, or sad after drinking.
An alcoholic beverage may temporarily alleviate anxiety symptoms; however, this relief is just temporary in nature. The chemical changes that alcohol generates in the brain are responsible for the so-called ‘relaxed’ sensation that some people claim to get after taking a drink. However, these effects are short-lived.
Relying on alcohol to conceal anxiety may result in a greater dependency on alcoholism to relax as a result of the masking effect. One possible negative effect of this is an increased likelihood of developing a tolerance to alcoholic beverages. Over time, you will need to consume more alcohol in order to have the same effect. Over a medium to a long period of time, this behavior is known to lead to alcohol dependency.
Nervousness may occur as a result of a hangover, as can other symptoms. For others, these sensations are scarcely perceptible at all. However, if you are already suffering from worry, the hangover effect might exacerbate your symptoms.
A person’s level of anxiety in particular circumstances might be increased by consuming alcoholic beverages. Drinking impairs our ability to react to the stimuli that are all around us. For those who suffer from anxiety, if they happen to see or hear anything in their surroundings that may be seen as dangerous, they are more likely to pay attention to it and ignore the other less concerning – or neutral – information. Exercise or relaxation methods such as meditation or yoga may be used to relieve tension or anxiety without the use of alcohol. When you’re feeling scared or nervous, you might also attempt breathing exercises. Speaking with a reliable friend or family member about how you’re feeling might be quite beneficial.
Increases risk of suicide
It is possible that alcoholism may induce individuals to lose their inhibitions and react impulsively, resulting in their doing acts that they would not have done otherwise – such as self-harm or even suicide.
13 Suicidal thoughts, suicide attempts, and death as a result of suicide are all strongly associated with heavy drinking, whether it be chronic or acute alcohol usage.
Exceptional amounts of alcoholism (such as consuming more than 30 units of alcohol per day for many weeks) may sometimes result in psychosis, which is a serious mental disease characterized by hallucinations and delusions – such as those of persecution – occurring. The effects of acute intoxication and withdrawal may both create psychoses; however, psychoses are more prevalent in circumstances when drinkers who are dependent on alcohol discontinue it abruptly their alcohol use.
Leads to depression
Drinking excessively and on a frequent basis is connected with depressive symptoms. However, it may be difficult to distinguish between cause and effect. Consequently, it is not always evident if consuming alcoholic beverages causes a person to suffer depression-like symptoms.
What we do know is that alcoholism has an effect on multiple nerve-chemical systems in our bodies, all of which are critical in the regulation of our mood and behavior. 2 According to research, depression may develop as a result of excessive drinking. 3 In addition, it has been shown that lowering or ceasing drinking might boost mood.
It is important to examine the following factors if you suffer from depression or anxiety and wish to consume alcohol: According to general guidelines, you should restrict your alcohol consumption to 14 units per week, which is corresponding to six normal glasses of wine or six pints of beer.
Make careful to distribute your alcoholic beverages equally throughout the week and to schedule drink-free days in between. Some drugs should not be used along with alcohol since it may cause you to get ill. Make sure to consult with your medic or pharmacist before taking any action.
If you believe you’re drinking more than you should or that your alcohol use is exacerbating your depressive symptoms, there are some steps you may take to reduce your intake. Maintain a running tally of how much you’re drinking as well. It’s possible that you’re not aware of how much alcohol you consume in a given week. Maintaining a log of how much alcohol you consume and when you do not consume alcohol during the week is a good starting point.