Alcohol and Mental Health



Mental health conditions not only result from consuming too much alcohol. They can even provoke people to drink too much.

There is some evidence connecting light alcohol consumption with better overall health in some adults. Between one and three units on a daily basis have been found to help defend against heart disease, dementia, and Alzheimer's Disease, and a little glass of red wine everyday may decrease risk of stroke in females.

However there is a lot more proof demonstrating that drinking too much alcohol results in serious bodily and mental illnesses.

Stated very simply, a major reason for drinking alcohol is to change our mood - or change our mental state. Alcohol can temporarily alleviate feelings of anxiety and depression; it can even help to temporarily relieve the symptoms of more serious mental health conditions.

Alcohol issues are more common among individuals with more severe mental health problems. This does not necessarily mean that alcohol compels severe mental illness.

Evidence indicates that people who consume high amounts of alcohol are vulnerable to higher levels of mental ill health and it can be a contributory factor in some mental illnesses, such as depression.

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How does drinking affect our moods and mental health?

When we have alcohol in our blood, our mood changes, and our behaviour then also changes. Alcohol depresses the central nervous system, and this can make us less inhibited in our behaviour.

Alcohol can even reveal or magnify our underlying feelings. When drinking, this is one of the reasons that many people become angry or aggressive. If our underlying feelings are of anxiety, unhappiness or anger, then alcohol can magnify them.

What about the after-effects?

One of the main problems linked with using alcohol to deal with anxiety and depression is that individuals may feel much worse when the effects have worn off. Alcohol is thought to use up and reduce the amount of neurotransmitters in the brain, but the brain needs a certain level of neurotransmitters needs to ward off anxiety and depression. This can lead some people to drink more, to ward off these difficult feelings, and a dangerous cycle of dependence can develop.

Alcohol problems are more common among people with more severe mental health conditions. If our underlying feelings are of anger, unhappiness or anxiety, then alcohol can magnify them.

One of the main conditions associated with using alcohol to deal with anxiety and depression is that individuals may feel much worse when the effects have worn off. Alcohol is thought to use up and reduce the amount of neurotransmitters in the brain, but the brain needs a certain level of neurotransmitters needs to ward off anxiety and depression.

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