Alcohol & Mental Health: How Are They Linked

Alcohol and mental health are closely linked together, those suffering from alcohol addiction will have underlying mental health conditions that make them at a much higher risk of consuming alcohol in large amounts. Alcohol is a depressant and drinking too much of the substance over an extended period can seriously affect your physical and mental well-being. People will drink in order to cope with their feelings and stress or due to their symptoms of mental ill-health.

Alcohol can be consumed for a number of different reasons whether it’d be to celebrate a new job offer, socialise with your friends or it can be abused in a negative way to drown your sorrows. Many people will consume alcohol in order to try their mood or act a certain way, people who drink alcohol can often feel more relaxed, courageous and confident which is where the term ‘dutch courage’ is coined from. The effects of drinking alcohol are temporary and when the effects begin to wear off you will experience withdrawal symptoms that can affect your mental health such as depression, anxiety and fear from actions you displayed intoxicated the night before.

People suffering from alcohol addiction will often say they use alcohol as a crutch as a way they can deal with depression, past trauma, anxiety or difficult problems that have come up. If you use alcohol as a way to deal with your mental health, you may start to get nervous at the thought of having to cut down on your alcohol consumption. Relying on alcohol as a way to cope with your mental health will be seriously damaging in the long run. You should not take it as a weakness asking for help for your alcohol addiction as the first step on the road to recovery is admitting that you have a problem with alcohol.

How Can Alcohol Affect Your Brain

As we spoke about before alcohol is a depressant that can cause disruption of the balance of neurotransmitters in your brain and that will affect your thoughts, behaviour and feelings.

Alcohol can affect the part of your brain that controls your inhibitions. This makes people start to feel more confident and relaxed, a big reason why people prefer to socialise after having or drink or feel they need a drink in order to socialise with their friends or people. The effects of alcohol will wear off and once the chemical changes in your brain, you will start to experience a ‘comedown’ which gives people the feeling of depression, anger and more negative symptoms.

Alcohol can also slow down the way your brain processes information which makes it harder for you to know how you are currently feeling leading to you displaying actions that you wouldn’t normally do which always leads to negative consequences.

If you start to abuse alcohol over an extended period of time then you will start to reduce the number of neurotransmitters that are inside your brain but a certain level is needed so that you can ward off depression and depression. This will cause people to start seeking out alcohol on a daily basis in order to stop the negative feelings which will ultimately lead to a dependency on alcohol where you need to drink alcohol in order to function or feel ‘normal.’

Alcohol And Mental Health

It has been found that people who regularly drink alcohol are at more risk of developing mental health problems, and people that suffer from undiagnosed mental health conditions are also more at risk of having alcohol problems as a way to deal with their condition. This is called self-medication, people will drink alcohol as a way to cope with their symptoms or difficult feelings.

Alcohol And Depression

One of the linked symptoms of depression is regular drinking. People that suffer from depression will drink alcohol frequently and consume the substance in order to feel, withdrawing alcohol from your body system after abusing alcohol over an extended period of time could mean you suffer from withdrawal symptoms, it is recommended that you never attempt to detox yourself but seek out professional supervised medical detox. People with severe alcohol addiction, if they withdraw alcohol from their blood system they are at a high risk of suffering from seizures which in some cases can be fatal.

Alcohol can seriously add to a person’s depression as it is a depressant, it is likely to worsen your depression symptoms and withdrawing alcohol from your life could see improvement within weeks. If you are currently placed on anti-depressants for your depression then it is recommended that you do not drink as it could potentially increase the side effects of some anti-depressants. 

Alcohol And Anxiety

People that suffer from extreme anxiety can often find themselves grabbing a drink in order to relax but this is only very short-lived and it will disappear. If you begin to start drinking regularly in order to mask the anxiety that you are feeling, it will start to lead to an alcohol dependency where you start having to drink alcohol in order to ‘function.’


After drinking heavy amounts of alcohol, when the effects wear off and you start to experience a ‘hangover’ you can find that it increases your anxiety as people often get ‘beer fear’ and will worry about the consequences from the night before.


There are many activities that can help with your anxiety that doesn’t involve drinking such as yoga, exercise, running, reading, journaling and m

Finding Treatment For Alcohol Addiction

Alcoholism is a serious affliction that affects millions of people across the United Kingdom but there is always hope through rehabilitation. Addiction can leave people with strained relationships and poor mental and physical health, rehab centres provide addicts with a safe space to heal where they can undergo supervised medical detox to withdraw the substance from their bodies.

You can begin to undergo certain types of therapy tailored to your personality in order to find the root of your addiction and learn management skills on how you can deal with potential triggers on the outside.

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