Mental health issues not only arise from consuming too much alcohol. They can also compel people to drink too much.
There is some evidence connecting light drinking with improved physical health in some adults. Between one and three units on a daily basis have been found to help defend against heart disease, dementia, and Alzheimer's Disease, and a little glass of red wine everyday may decrease risk of stroke in females.
There is much more evidence showing that drinking too much alcohol results in grievous physical and psychological illnesses.
Put very simply, a major reason for drinking alcohol is to change our mood - or change our mental state. Alcohol can temporarily alleviate feelings of anxiety and depression; it can also help to temporarily relieve the symptoms of more serious mental health conditions.
Alcohol problems are more common among individuals with more severe mental health issues. This does not necessarily mean that alcohol causes severe mental illness. Drinking to deal with difficult feelings or symptoms of mental disorder is sometimes called 'self-medication' by people in the mental health field. This is often why people with mental health issues drink. It can make existing mental health problems worse.
Evidence indicates that people who consume high amounts of alcohol are vulnerable to higher levels of mental ill health and it can be a contributory factor in some mental disorders, such as depression.
How does drinking affect our moods and mental health?
When we have alcohol in our blood, our mood changes, and our behaviour then also changes. Alcohol depresses the central nervous system, and this can make us less inhibited in our behaviour.
Alcohol can even reveal or magnify our underlying feelings. When drinking, this is one of the reasons that many people become angry or aggressive. Anger or unhappiness, then alcohol can magnify them if our underlying feelings are of anxiety.
What about the after-effects?
One of the main issues linked with using alcohol to deal with anxiety and depression is that individuals may feel much worse when the effects have worn off. Alcohol is thought to use up and reduce the amount of neurotransmitters in the brain, but the brain needs a certain level of neurotransmitters needs to ward off anxiety and depression. This can lead some people to drink more, to ward off these difficult feelings, and a dangerous cycle of dependence can develop.
Alcohol conditions are more common among people with more severe mental health issues. If our underlying feelings are of anxiety, unhappiness or anger, then alcohol can magnify them.
One of the main conditions linked with using alcohol to deal with anxiety and depression is that individuals may feel much worse when the effects have worn off. Alcohol is thought to use up and reduce the amount of neurotransmitters in the brain, but the brain needs a certain level of neurotransmitters needs to ward off anxiety and depression.