Long-term use of alcohol can have an impact on a person’s mental health. Heavy drinking is linked to depression, anxiety, memory loss, and suicide. In order to spread awareness, AFC Urgent Care Stoneham is providing information on how alcohol can impact your brain and mental health. Call or visit AFC Stoneham for more information and learn about the patient services we provide.
How Alcohol Impacts our Brains
Alcohol is a depressant, meaning it can disrupt the chemical balance within our brains. Over the long term, this can impact our general mental health. Feeling relaxed or less stressed after having a drink is due to changes in the brain, which can begin to affect the brain association with inhibition. By increasing alcohol intake, negative emotions will start to take over, which can have a negative impact on mental health.
Alcohol & Depression
While there is no direct link between alcohol use and depression, alcohol does impact the nerve-chemical system that is in charge of regulating mood. Depression can follow from heavy drinking, and it can get better after drinking less or stopping altogether. While drinking, you are more likely to make an impulsive or bad decision, which can sometimes lead to feeling poorly. Additionally, antidepressants should not be mixed with alcohol. It is possible to relapse into drinking when taking antidepressants. Always speak with a healthcare professional if you have any concerns.
Turning to alcohol when situations get bad or to mask negative feelings can have a negative impact on your health. It’s important to try and utilize other outlets to help combat negative feelings.
Alcohol & Anxiety
Some people may feel anxious in certain situations, and drinking alcohol is a short-term solution. Similar to links with depression, drinking alcohol alters the chemical balance in the brain and may provide a relaxed feeling, but it is not long-term. Relying on alcohol to ease anxiety may result in a reliance on alcohol. With this in mind, some patients may develop a tolerance to alcohol, leading to a higher intake and eventual dependence. Being hungover can also make symptoms of anxiety worse.
It is always possible for alcohol to make anxiety worse, as well. Certain situations can make someone feel worse than they normally would sober, and they may not be able to respond to cues the way they normally would. It’s important to try and fight anxiety in healthy habits, such as meditation, yoga, or other calming activities.