Alcohol and mental health have a complex, reinforcing relationship. Some people who struggle with mental health might reach for a drink to blot out their feelings. For others, drinking came first and has led to long-term problems in maintaining good mental health.

According to Public Health England, 86% of people receiving treatment from alcohol services have co-occurring mental ill health (PHE, 2017).

  • Drinking high levels of alcohol can affect your mood and may leave you feel angry, anxious or depressed.
  • Alcohol misuse disrupts family relationships and can impact on other areas on your life, including your performance at work. This can contribute to prolonged low moods
  • Over time, alcohol misuse can worsen conditions such an anxiety or depression.
  • In Britain, people who experience anxiety or depression are twice as likely to be heavy or problem drinkers
  • Alcohol misuse is particularly harmful for young people because it can disrupt their learning and lead to poorer outcomes in school

If you’re worried that drinking could be affecting your mental health, contact your local clinic.

If you are experiencing mental health crisis, call the Samaritans on 116 123

Alcohol and aggression

Most people who drink are never aggressive. However, being involved in an aggressive incident is more likely if a person has been drinking.

This is because alcohol can affect your judgement and make it more likely that you would misinterpret other people’s behaviour. You might interpret a situation as threatening when it is harmless, or react defensively. If you’re worried that drinking is harming your relationship with your family or friends, it could be time to look for help.

Alcohol misuse doesn’t just affect one person, but can be harmful to whole families.

If you’re affected by someone else’s substance use and feel like you’re struggling to cope, contact GASPED in Wakefield to access talking therapies and dedicated family support.

National support for families is also available through Addaction and NACOA.