Alcohol and mental health

While alcohol can have a very temporary positive impact on your mood, in the long term it can cause big problems for yourmental health. Alcohol can lead to several health conditions, including depression and memory loss.

Alcohol can increase anxiety

Unfortunately, reaching for a drink won’t always have the effect you’re after. While a glass of wine after a hard day might help you relax, in the long run it can contribute to feelings of depression and anxiety and make stress harder to deal with. This is because regular, heavy drinking interferes with neurotransmitters in our brains that are needed for good mental health.

  • When you drink, your perception of a situation narrows and you don’t always respond to all the cues around you.
  • If you’re prone to anxiety and notice something that could be interpreted as threatening in the environment,you could hone in on that and miss other less threatening or neutral information.
  • For example, you might focus on your partner talking to someone you’re jealous of, rather than notice all the other people they’ve been chatting to that evening.

Alcohol and depression

In Britain, people who experience anxiety or depression are twice as likely to be heavy or problem drinkers. For some people, the anxiety or depression came first and they’ve reached for alcohol to try to relieve it. For others, drinking came first, so it may be a root cause of their anxieties.

Addiction can harm relationships

Drinking heavily can also affect your relationships with your partner, family and friends. It can impact on your performance at work. These issues can also contribute to depression.