ALCOHOL MISUSE AND MENTAL HEALTHMental health issues not only result from consuming too much alcohol. They can even cause individuals to drink too much.
There is some evidence connecting light drinking with better health in some adults. Between one and three units daily have been found to help defend against heart disease, dementia, and Alzheimer's Disease, and a little glass of red wine daily may decrease risk of stroke in females. However there is a lot more proof showing that drinking too much alcohol leads to serious bodily and mental disorders. 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 also help to temporarily relieve the symptoms of more serious mental health problems. Alcohol conditions are more common among individuals with more severe mental health issues. This does not necessarily mean that alcohol compels severe mental illness. Evidence demonstrates that individuals 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 diseases, such as depression.
How does drinking affect our moods and mental health?
When we have alcohol in our blood, our mood changes, and our behaviour then even changes. How these change depends on how much we drink and how quickly we drink it. Alcohol depresses the central nervous system, and this can make us less inhibited in our behaviour. It can also help 'numb' our emotions, so we can avoid difficult issues in our lives. Alcohol can also reveal or magnify our underlying feelings. This is one of the reasons that many people become aggressive or angry when drinking. If our underlying feelings are of unhappiness, anxiety or anger, then alcohol can magnify them. What about the after-effects?
One of the main problems connected with using alcohol to deal with anxiety and depression is that people 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 conditions are more common among individuals with more severe mental health conditions. If our underlying feelings are of anger, anxiety or unhappiness, then alcohol can magnify them. One of the main issues connected 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.