Each week, at least 49% of adults drink alcohol. Although many believe that consuming alcohol is harmless, especially as the physical side effects associated with alcohol consumption alleviate within a short period, alcohol can significantly affect mental health.

To help you understand how and why alcohol affects mental health, we have delved into why alcohol affects mental health here.

 

Alcohol Consumption In The United Kingdom

Like many other stimulant and depressant substances, alcohol changes how individuals act, feel, and behave for a short period upon consumption, with common side effects including reduced stress, anxiety, and an enhanced mood.

However, these side effects are short-lived and often alleviate within 24 hours, depending on the amount of alcohol consumed.

In recent years, alcohol consumption in the United Kingdom has left many in need of medical treatment and rehabilitation.

Although the NHS reports that much of the treatment administered related to alcohol is for physical health problems, treatment for behavioural and mental health problems is frequently required.

 

Mental Health Disorders In The United Kingdom

From anxiety to depression and post-traumatic stress disorder to stress, mental health disorders impact approximately one in four adults in the United Kingdom each year.

Often arising from underlying and untreated trauma, stressful situations and chronic medical conditions, mental health disorders can be treated and managed with medical support, guidance, therapy and medication.

When treatment is secured for mental health disorders, medical professionals typically advise that alcohol intake is somewhat minimal.  However, it is not uncommon for those struggling with mental health problems to consume large quantities of alcohol to cope better.

 

How Does Alcohol Affect Mental Health?

Although the majority of adults will be able to resume their everyday life upon overcoming the side effects associated with alcohol, a large number of individuals find that their mental health and wellbeing is significantly impaired by alcohol.

In some instances, symptoms associated with impaired mental health will arise and last for a few days.  These side effects include the following;

  • – Decreased mood
  • – Increased confusion
  • – Inability to concentrate
  • Anxiety
  • – Paranoia
  • – Panic
  • – Increased depression
  • – Fatigue
  • – Insomnia
  • – Feeling hopeless
  • – Feeling on edge
  • – Excessive worrying

As well as experiencing symptoms associated with mental health disorders, 7% of adults are thought to struggle with alcohol-induced anxiety.  This particular type of anxiety arises in the aftermath of alcohol consumption and often only diminishes when alcohol is eliminated from the body.

Additionally, much research highlights that alcohol drastically affects mental health as it causes the symptoms associated with mental health disorders, including depression and stress, to become considerably worse.

While many of the ways that alcohol affects mental health are determined when alcohol is consumed, reducing alcohol intake or going cold turkey can also cause mental health disorders to significantly impact an individual’s life.

This is because when an addiction arises and an individual attempts to stop drinking, withdrawal symptoms surface.  These symptoms contribute to mental health disorders and often include insomnia, feeling anxious, feeling nervous, nightmares, paranoia and mood swings.

 

Why Does Alcohol Affect Mental Health?

As touched on above, alcohol affects mental health in various ways.  Some individuals will experience bouts of anxiety upon drinking alcohol, while others will come to experience more severe symptoms associated with depression.

While many are able to understand how alcohol affects mental health, a large number of individuals continue to search for answers that explain why alcohol affects mental health.

Simply put, alcohol affects mental health as consuming alcohol changes how the brain functions.  As alcohol is consumed, chemical levels within the brain, such as Serotonin, significantly increase.  In turn, many are left feeling happier and more confident.  However, this is short-lived.  As the side effects of alcohol wear off, enhanced moods do too.

It should be noted that when alcohol is consumed over a substantial period, for example, when alcohol abuse and addictions arise, Serotonin levels are thought to drastically decrease.  Research shows that as Serotonin levels decrease, depression and other mental health disorders can arise and become much more severe.

When Serotonin levels decrease due to excessive alcohol consumption, low moods and symptoms associated with mental health disorders are long-lasting.

Often unbearable, at least 147,250 adults are thought to self-medicate with alcohol to relieve said symptoms.  When alcohol is used to reduce the symptoms associated with mental health disorders, addictions often arise.

 

Alcohol and Mental Health Treatment

If you have taken it upon yourself to uncover why alcohol affects mental health due to realising that alcohol and mental health is impairing the quality of your life, there is treatment widely available for you to take advantage of.

Typically, when alcohol and mental health treatment is required, dual diagnosis treatment is administered.  This particular treatment ensures that alcohol addictions and mental health disorders can be overcome simultaneously by providing treatment for both at the same time.

While the treatment required for alcohol and mental health disorders will depend on the severity of the issue at hand, many individuals struggling with alcohol and mental health will require detoxification, rehabilitation and aftercare support.

Other treatment options such as cognitive behavioural therapy, dialectical behavioural therapy, motivational interviewing and stress management are also available.

These particular treatment options see those in rehab progress through therapy to uncover why alcohol affects their mental health, how they can manage any mental health problems they have and reduce their alcohol intake.

 

Contact Us Today For Further Support and Guidance

Although we hope that the information above will have helped you understand why alcohol affects mental health, if you have any questions, we welcome you to contact us directly today.

Likewise, if you believe that you require alcohol and mental health treatment, we can provide you with dual diagnosis treatment at our rehab hospital.  Located in Largs, Scotland, our rehab hospital will provide you with a safe space to explore why alcohol affects mental health.

Our rehab hospital will also ensure that you can overcome your struggles with alcohol and mental health.

To discuss your needs with us, call us today on 01475 303998.

 

Sources

https://alcoholchange.org.uk/alcohol-facts/fact-sheets/alcohol-statistics#:~:text=In%20England%20in%202018%2C%2082,the%20previous%20week%20%5B2%5D.

https://www.healthline.com/health/alcohol-and-anxiety#:~:text=Alcohol%2Dinduced%20anxiety%20can%20last,have%20this%20form%20of%20anxiety.

https://www.mind.org.uk/information-support/types-of-mental-health-problems/statistics-and-facts-about-mental-health/how-common-are-mental-health-problems/

Alcohol dependence and mental health

Back to all posts