Have you ever thought about giving up on alcohol? If so, you have likely heard about the many health benefits often used to convince people to cut down on their alcohol consumption. But one thing that isn't talked about as much is the benefits to your mental health.
When many people consider the benefits of cutting down on alcohol, they usually think of the physical health benefits. Now, of course, there are many benefits to your physical health when it comes to cutting down on your drinking.
But most people know why drinking alcohol can affect your physical health negatively. But why does it make things like anxiety and depression worse? The connection between alcohol and mental health conditions like depression isn't nearly as well-known as its connection to physical health issues.
So, let's change that today by exploring why alcohol can worsen mental health issues like anxiety and depression. To do this, let's first look at how alcohol can affect a person's brain, and then from there, we'll be better able to understand its impact on conditions like anxiety and depression.
Alcohol – Its Effect On The Brain
To say the brain is complicated would be a vast simplification. But to make things easier to understand, we have to simplify a few things. When alcohol is consumed, it can disrupt the balance of chemicals in the brain.
This is because of the many neurotransmitters in the brain which are responsible for transmitting signals. These transmitters affect many things, including our thoughts and mood. When we drink alcohol, it will disrupt these transmitters.
This is why many people feel more relaxed after a drink. It's really all down to the way alcohol affects the chemicals in your brain. In moderation, some of these changes could even be thought of as positive.
For example, having a small drink of alcohol before a job interview could help you calm your nerves and feel more relaxed. However, the problem arises when we drink more because the effect alcohol can have on your brain will only get greater.
Alcohol also affects people very differently. For example, people can quickly get angry or even aggressive if they drink too much. So, alcohol's effects on the brain are not very good, especially if you drink too much. Now let's take a look at why it can make issues like anxiety and depression worse.
Alcohol And Anxiety
Many people have the misconception that alcohol can help with anxiety. This is only true in the (very) short-term. Over-consuming alcohol will only make feelings of anxiety worse. This is because of the addictive quality of alcohol.
Many people will want that feeling of happiness and relaxation, but you will need to drink more and more to feel this way over time. This means your anxiety will only get worse, and the stronger feeling of anxiety will carry over into your hangover as well.
Alcohol will also generally make people less aware, which can be a big problem when it comes to social situations. This, in turn, will once again make anxiety disorders much worse and more challenging to handle as well.
Alcohol And Depression
One of the most common symptoms of depression is drinking. Drinking can easily be a cause of depression as well. But if you already from some form of depression, then consuming alcohol will likely only make things worse.
This is again believed to be because of alcohol's effects on the brain, especially when it comes to regulating a person's mood. Depression is also common after a hangover as people can be left feeling unhappy and embarrassed, which can then lead to depressive episodes.
Alcohol And Mental Health
If you want to properly care for your mental health, then cutting down on your alcohol consumption is strongly recommended. If you already suffer from either anxiety or depression, then you may want to consider not drinking alcohol at all.
Switching to low-alcohol/ non-alcoholic beverages or soft drinks is, therefore, your best option. Cutting down on alcohol is sure to be great for your physical health, but it will also help with your mental health as well.