ALCOHOL USE AND PSYCHOLOGICAL DYSFUNCTIONSMental health conditions not only arise from drinking too much alcohol. They can also compel people to drink too much.
There is some evidence linking light alcohol consumption with improved overall health in some adults. Between 1 and 3 drinks on a daily basis have been found to help defend us from heart disease, dementia, and Alzheimer's Disease, and a little glass of red wine daily may decrease risk of stroke in females. There is far more evidence demonstrating that drinking too much alcohol results in serious bodily and psychological illnesses. Put very simply, a major reason for drinking alcohol is to change our mood - or change our mental state. Alcohol can temporarily alleviate feelings of anxiety and depression; it can even help to temporarily relieve the symptoms of more serious mental health problems. Alcohol problems are more common among individuals with more severe mental health issues. This does not necessarily mean that alcohol compels severe emotional disorder. Drinking to deal with difficult feelings or symptoms of mental disorder is sometimes called 'self-medication' by individuals in the mental health field. This is often why individuals with mental health problems drink. It can make existing mental health issues worse. Evidence shows that people who consume high amounts of alcohol are vulnerable to higher levels of mental ill health and it can be a contributory factor in some mental diseases, such as depression.
How does drinking affect our moods and mental health?
When we have alcohol in our blood, our mood changes, and our behaviour then also changes. How these change depends on how much we drink and how quickly we drink it. Alcohol depresses the central nervous system, and this can make us less inhibited in our behaviour. It can also help 'numb' our emotions, so we can avoid difficult issues in our lives. Alcohol can even reveal or magnify our underlying feelings. This is one of the reasons that many individuals become angry or aggressive when drinking. Anger or unhappiness, then alcohol can magnify them if our underlying feelings are of anxiety. What about the after-effects?
One of the main issues linked with using alcohol to deal with anxiety and depression is that individuals may feel much worse when the effects have worn off. Alcohol is thought to use up and reduce the amount of neurotransmitters in the brain, but the brain needs a certain level of neurotransmitters needs to ward off anxiety and depression. This can lead some individuals to drink more, to ward off these difficult feelings, and a dangerous cycle of dependence can develop.
Alcohol problems are more common among individuals with more severe mental health problems. If our underlying feelings are of unhappiness, anxiety or anger, then alcohol can magnify them. One of the main issues connected with using alcohol to deal with anxiety and depression is that individuals may feel much worse when the effects have worn off. Alcohol is thought to use up and reduce the amount of neurotransmitters in the brain, but the brain needs a certain level of neurotransmitters needs to ward off anxiety and depression.
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