Alcohol’s Effect on Mental Health
Anyone who drinks knows how alcohol makes them feel different. The way it impacts your body is likely not a mystery to you, but the way it affects your mental health may be something you haven’t considered yet. Regular use of alcohol can lead to numerous changes in mental health. We’ll discuss some of them here.
How Does Alcohol Use Relate to Mental Health?
Mental health includes emotional, psychological, and social well-being. How you think, feel, and act is connected to your mental health. It influences how you respond to stress, make choices, and relate to others.
For some people, drinking is a way to ease the symptoms associated with existing mental health conditions. For example, someone with anxiety may drink to tolerate social settings. A person with depression may drink to escape the feelings of sadness or isolation.
People do not need to be aware of a mental health disorder to use alcohol in response to symptoms. However, they may have developed an alcohol use disorder because of it. Also, they may see mental health symptoms worsen over time as alcohol use increases.
Routine excessive drinking can lead to changes in the body and brain that impact mental health. These changes can begin as soon as alcohol is consumed or as the effects of drinking start to wear off. Although you may feel relaxed at first, the other outcomes may not be pleasant.
Short-Term Effects of Alcohol on Mental Health
- Feeling overconfident while drinking
- Taking significant risks while drinking
- Experiencing a loss of interest in socializing when sober
- Increasing anxiety and depression in sober moments
- Feeling incapable of functioning at home or work when hungover
- Regretting social behaviors during the intoxication period
- Shame from the judgment of friends and family
- Stigma from incurring legal or financial consequences
Long-Term Effects of Alcohol on Mental Health
- Experiencing cravings daily
- Devoting a great deal of time to thinking about and obtaining alcohol
- Seeing your tolerance level increase
- Putting yourself and others at risk by drinking and driving
- Harming relationships with family and friends
- Ignoring self-care and mental health consequences
- Struggling to cut down on drinking
- Experiencing serious withdrawal symptoms
Someone who’s developed an alcohol use disorder will experience a range of outcomes tied to their mental health. These effects can linger for years without treatment. Co-occurring disorders, such as anxiety or depression, can become more severe due to daily or binge drinking.
Alcohol Use Disorder and Depression
Alcohol withdrawal appears in many different forms. For example, you may sweat and have shaky hands, hallucinate, or your sleep may be disrupted at night. These physical outcomes (and others) can lead a person to drink more to escape from them. The result is worsening the alcohol use disorder and depression.
While depressed, a person who drinks risks putting themselves in more harmful situations. It can come from binge drinking and blacking out, a loss of self-esteem leading to self-harm, and even attempting suicide.
Alcohol Withdrawal Symptoms
- Mood changes
- Tremors or shakes
- Gastrointestinal disturbances
- Heart palpitations
- Increased blood pressure or heart rate
- Rapid abnormal breathing
Alcohol Withdrawal Is Never a Solo Effort
The intensity of cravings and high risks from other withdrawal symptoms make alcohol a substance not recommended for a home detox. Symptoms can appear within a few hours of the last drink and include nervousness, anxiety, restlessness, and agitation. Tremors and seizures are also common.
The risk of health complications during alcohol withdrawal can be avoided in an environment staffed by medical professionals. If left untreated, symptoms from withdrawal can last for weeks. However, symptoms can be managed safely and remain mild to moderate when treated.
Restored Path’s Solution
Restored Path Detox is DFW’s premier location for sophisticated medical detox. Conveniently located in Frisco, we provide a safe sanctuary for healing that is also a state-of-the-art detoxification facility for a wide range of substances. Our compassionate physicians and therapists want you to get well and are committed to removing any existing barriers to your care. Restored Path’s team of board-certified physicians and highly qualified RNs have extensive critical care experience and are available to monitor your detox program 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
If you or a loved one are struggling with drug or alcohol use, call us today and take your first step towards recovery: 561-841-1268.