Your Mental Health and Alcohol

Your Mental Health and Alcohol

Unlike common belief, alcohol is not a stimulant but actually a depressant. It depresses the brain and its functions which could have various effects.

Alcohol is bad in excess

Alcohol, when taken in moderate amounts, can actually alter the chemistry of your brain.  It can, therefore, improve mood and social adjustment and help non-problem drinkers cope with stress or other negative emotional states. However, the evidence for this is mainly unreliable.  Scientific studies apparently showing alcohol to have mental health benefits have often lacked control groups; failed to take into account other perplexing factors such as individuals’ sociability and the extent of their supporting social network, or have been unable to eliminate the factor of psychological expectancy, leaving open the possibility that apparent benefits were actually the result of a placebo effect.

There is little proof that light to moderate drinking has any beneficial effects in relation to psychiatric disorders. This is the reason why many conclude that drinking, in general, can lead to the magnification of mental health problems and make life more difficult. Here are some scenarios in which alcohol can lead to worse situations.

Drinking problems are serious

Unfortunately, drinking problems cause side effects and in the long run worsens the very symptoms they initially numbed or relieved. They can also make symptoms of a mental health problem worse. Substance abuse may sharply increase symptoms of mental illness or trigger new symptoms. Alcohol and drug abuse interact with medications like antidepressants, anti-anxiety pills, and mood stabilizers. This makes them less effective. Lastly, people suffering from mental health problems see drinking alcohol is a way to self-medicate which could lead to a dependency that could make their condition worse.

Can alcohol lead to depression?

In the more specific aspect, if a person is suffering from depression he/she constantly drinks alcohol, and his/her levels of serotonin – a chemical in your brain that helps to regulate your mood – are depleted resulting to worsening of his/her condition which could lead to fatal results.

For those who have anxiety disorders, increased alcohol use changes the psychology of the brain and reduces its ability to deal with anxiety naturally. This can lead to more alcohol being needed to experience the same reduction in anxiety.

If these people will continue on with the drinking to relieve their symptoms, the chemistry of their brains are changed which could then be linked to the association of heavy drinking and suicide.

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