Alcohol and Emotions


Alcohol can have an effect on the emotions and emotional issues can affect someone’s relationship with alcohol. Some people use alcohol to help them through emotional times or to help them manage their emotions. It is commonly used as a ‘crutch’ for some people who feel angry, anxious, depressed, frustrated or bored.

On a short-term basis, alcohol can seem to provide some relief from these feelings, but in the long-term it can make them worse. Alcohol does relax people because it acts as a depressant on the nervous system, but longer term it can make people feel more emotionally unbalanced.

Alcohol can also cause or exacerbate feelings such as anger, despair and anxiety. Alcohol affects reasoning and judgement and therefore it can impair people’s ability to look at a situation objectively and in a proportionate way.

Drink also decreases blood sugar levels. On an immediate basis it provides a boost to blood sugar but also affects the liver’s ability to produce sugar. When someone has been drinking, their blood sugar will often be low the next day and this can have a negative affect on mood.

Drinking is often connected with physical fights, temper and verbal aggression. It affects people’s behaviour and can make some individuals behave in a way that is out of character. Those who have been drinking are more likely to take bigger risks and not to judge things as reasonably as they normally would. Alcohol is often linked with domestic violence.

After drinking people may feel ashamed and guilty and also embarrassed because of what they have done or said when they were drunk. They may also feel these emotions because they can’t remember much from the night before.

Alcohol’s emotional impact can also damage relationships. Heavy drinking often leads to rows, distance and bad feeling between loved ones.

Using alcohol to manage emotions is inadvisable. It can lead to alcohol dependence, alcoholism and serious health issues. If you are experiencing emotional problems that you can’t cope with, speak to a professional who can help you manage your feelings without drinking alcohol.


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