Stress is part and parcel of every day life these days. Whether it’s caused by work, studying for exams, looking for a job or managing some children shaped people; at some point in each of our lives we will experience the physical and mental effects of stress.
We’ve all been tempted to, or have reached for our tipple of choice when stress gets too much in the belief that alcohol has a magical ability to drown out our troubles. Alcohol is a stimulant right? It will perk you up after a bad day? Unfortunately this is wrong. It may feel like the odd glass of alcohol helps us to unwind and can provide escapism from the daily grind, but the truth is that all we are doing is blotting out the underlying problems.
Alcohol is a depressant which depresses brain function and whilst small amounts of drink may temporarily improve your mood, too much has quite the opposite effect. The effects of alcohol (feeling sleepy, etc) grows as you drink more but the initial effects of alcohol can heighten mood problems such as stress, anxiety or depression. This means that you can feel much, much worse if you are feeling down or stressed when you are drinking.
Drinking a lot over a long period of time can lead to problems with your mood. If alcohol becomes a problem for you it is likely to affect your relationships, work or studies which can cause more stress, anxiety or depression. It’s a cycle see? If you have other mental health conditions such as schizophrenia or bi – polar disorder then alcohol can also cause your symptoms to get worse.
If you have problems with stress, depression, anxiety or other mental health conditions and want to drink alcohol then make sure you are armed with all the facts and know what to do if you are worried or concerned about how you are feeling.
“If I don’t have a drink then what am I supposed to do to chill out then?”
There are other ways to relieve stress that don’t involve alcohol. Getting out there and getting active can be a great stress reliever and it doesn’t have to be anything too challenging, a nice walk and fresh air can do the world of good. Having a nice hot bubble bath, watching a funny film, anything that picks you up can be used instead of a glass of wine or a pint or two to help you feel a little better.
For more information visit www.mind.org.uk