Alcohol and mental health
You’re probably aware that after just a few sips, alcohol affects your mood – affecting both your thoughts and emotions. Many people get an initial ‘buzz’ from drinking – and use alcohol to celebrate, unwind or socialise.
However, alcohol is actually a depressant, so regularly drinking too much over a longer period of time can depress your central nervous system, making you depressed and feel very low.
Research shows there is a link between alcohol use and mental health issues such as suicides, depression and anxiety.
Alcohol and Stress
People often drink to relieve anxiety and stress, or simply to unwind from a hard day, however, drinking in order to de-stress can become habitual and addictive, meaning we begin to feel and think that the only way to de-stress is to drink alcohol after a hard day’s work.
Drinking to unwind
We may start drinking more to unwind and find that this becomes a pattern that creeps up without us knowing it.
Whether its drinking after work with colleagues or friends, or drinking at home, people often forget that there are also other ways to also unwind or take the stress out of the day, such as sport or exercise, talking to a good friend about worries or problems or doing yoga or meditation.
Alcohol can interfere with many prescribed drugs – stopping them from working. Check the label and with your GP if you are uncertain.
To get urgent help for depression or distress
Across the UK, for 24-hour confidential support contact the Samaritans on 08457 90 90 90
For Samaritans Scotland call 116 123 or Breathing Space on 0800 83 85 87 - These numbers are FREE to call.