Alcohol and Anxiety


The relationship between alcohol and anxiety is linked in a number of ways. Some people use alcohol as a way to cope with feelings of anxiety, but the fact is that alcohol can also make anxiety worse.

As a short-term measure, alcohol can lessen anxious feelings. It is a depressant and therefore initially it can boost feelings of relaxation. Chemicals which cause anxiety can also be blocked. However, in the long-term drinking alcohol can actually make anxious feelings much worse.

Some research finds that drinking heavily over a long period of time can in fact make the brain less capable of managing stress and anxiety. Once someone is addicted to alcohol, trying to cut down or stop drinking can bring about strong feelings of anxiety too.

Using alcohol as a crutch to cope with anxiety can lead people into becoming dependent on alcohol. Because of its initial relaxant qualities, people become dependent on alcohol as a way to deal with stress in their life and begin to feel that they can’t cope without alcohol.

Alcohol can add to the stress and anxiety in people’s lives because heavy drinking can cause health problems and also disrupt people’s personal relationships and their conduct at work.

Counselling can help with the problems of both alcohol and anxiety and can also help to sever the link between them. If you are naturally an anxious person and worried about using alcohol as an emotional crutch, a professional can help you develop alternative strategies to cope with anxious feelings. Techniques include breathing exercises  and cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT). Those who suffer with anxiety are urged to remain aware of how much they drink and the reasons that they are drinking.

If you’re trying to stop drinking, alcohol addiction treatment can help you with managing anxiety. Medication is also available during the detox phase to help manage the feelings of anxiety brought on by withdrawal from alcohol. Aftercare will help you manage anxious feelings without drinking in the long-term.

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