Can alcohol help in managing the anxiety symptoms? What is the relationship between anxiety and alcohol? Do people just wander around it to feel good or to find a solution to the specific issues at hand? In most cases, people suggest and conclude that they use alcohol to reduce stress or manage that particular monster in the head, or, as they put, just to ‘clear the head’. But, why do people rush to alcohol as a remedy for anxiety, depression, or stress?
The other day a friend of mine sent an online survey to a group WhatsApp on the pandemic, its impacts on education, and how it was affecting the mental health of the individuals. The answers were to be confidential, though one of the questions caught the attention of almost everyone from the group, the question was, I quote;
“Please mention three ways in which you are coping with anxiety caused by the uncertainty this pandemic”
And, so it became an open question of discussion with everyone sending their preferred answers to the group. Most of the answers were more or less the same thing. But one caught my eye which was (eating, exercise and consuming alcohol).
However, I will not reveal my answers here because, one, having a background on psychology my answers might be biased as I did not mention that I pop corn and eat ice cream while anxious. Two, the answers were confidential and I still do not have my consent.
Let Us Understand Anxiety First.
Anxiety is quite a normal response to stress that is beneficial to some life situations in the sense that it at times alerts us to red lights thus helping us in preparation and paying attention. The emotion varies from the usual feelings of nervousness to excessive fear or anxiety. Among the mental health disorders, around 30% of adults experience anxiety at some point in their lives. Anxiety disorders are very treatable, with several effective and right treatments and have helped most people get back to their normal lives. When you are in a position to differentiating anxiety from general fear, you will be in a position to manage it most of the time.
On the contrary, alcohol affects the nervous system which lies to you that it’s kind of managing your anxiety symptoms. Alcohol helps you in passing time, by making the anxiety disappear from your mind and not in reality.
Drinking Away Your Anxiety.
Using alcohol to reduce anxiety, stress or mental health disorders symptoms has not yet been recommended by anyone. The moment you start drinking when stressed or when not mentally stable, you start to de-focus from what is bothering you. You deviate your mind from solving the issues at hand and postpone them for some other time, making it even harder to embrace and manage your anxiety and stress.
How Does Alcohol Worsen Your Anxiety?
Alcohol has a reflective impact on the composite structures of the brain. it helps in blocking chemical signals between the neurons causing immediate symptoms of intoxication, slurred speech, slowed reflexes, impulsive behaviors, and poor memory. If drinking alcohol prolongs, your brain tends to adapt to the blocked signals by dramatically responding to neurotransmitters.
Next time you think of taking alcohol to suppress the animal within, remember it is better to solve the problem right away other than running away from your problems.
What Are The Signs That You Are Becoming Reliant On Alcohol?
Not able to quit alcohol intake
Dire need of an alcoholic drink whenever or before attending a social event
Intense alcohol intake for at least four days a week
Getting to drink alcohol before starting up your day
Can Alcohol Consumption Cause Anxiety?
Alcohol is the leading causing factor of dual diagnosis that is caused by the presence of an underlying mental health disorder alongside addiction to alcohol and other substances.
It is also a known fact that alcohol misuse does not only cause psychological health issues but also physical health.
Alcohol reliance puts you at risk of developing anxiety, depression, develop self-harm behaviors, become more violent, etc. alcohol is therefore not a cure to anxiety.
How Do You Lessen Your Anxiety?
Have a routine and be disciplined to follow it to the latter
Get enough sleep. The recommended sleep time for adults is 6 to 9 hours a day.
Avoid caffeine and alcoholic beverages as a remedy for your stress
Develop a habit of doing meditation and yoga consistently
Spare some time for recreational activities, remember work without play made Jack a dull boy.
Practice healthy eating and be more reliable
Remember to include exercise in your routine, more so the aerobic exercise.
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