Wine or beer may be appealing when you’re feeling stressed or nervous, but drinking alcohol in general, particularly excessively and over a long time, can exacerbate your anxiety.
If you’re seeking therapy for anxiety disorders, drinking alcohol can have severe consequences. A drink may seem like an excellent technique to relieve tension, but it could be causing more harm than good.
Drinking alcohol is a popular way to unwind.
There is some truth to the idea that alcohol can help you relax. Alcohol is a depressant and tranquilizer that affects the cerebrospinal nervous system.
Drinking has a calming effect that can help you feel less nervous and happier. In truth, the effects of alcohol are comparable to those of anti-anxiety drugs.
It’s rarely hazardous to unwind with a drink if your doctor gives the green light. However, when you start drinking, you may develop a tolerance to the de-stressing effects of alcohol, making anxiety and stress seem even more difficult to bear.
Excess drinking has both visible and internal effects. Over time, drinking too much alcohol can result in blackouts, memory loss, and even brain damage (especially if it is due to other health issues such as liver damage). These problems might make you feel additional anxious as you try to manage their symptoms.
The blood alcohol content (BAC) that you feel when you consume can often be linked to a sense of calm. When BAC increases, it induces fleeting feelings of optimism, but depression sets in as BAC levels drop. As a consequence, having a few drinks that cause your BAC to rise and then fall back to normal might make you more anxious than you were before.
In this article, you will answer to that are the what are the effects of alcohol on the brain?
How much alcohol makes you feel worse?
Alcohol harms the brain’s levels of serotonin and other neurotransmitters, which can make anxiety worse. You may feel more worried after the alcohol has worn off.
After a person has had a few drinks, alcohol’s anxiogenic effects can linger for hours or even a whole day.
Using alcohol to cope with social anxiety disorder can be harmful. According to the Anxiety and Depression Association of America (ADAA), around 7% of Americans suffer from anxiety.
With social anxiety disorder, you may find yourself hating social interactions. People who suffer from social anxiety disorder and generalized anxiety disorder are frequently seen to drink alcohol to cope with social situations. This might cause a drinking dependency during socializing, which can exacerbate anxiety symptoms and trigger more mental health problems like a panic disorder.
According to the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, 20 percent of people who suffer from social anxiety disorder also have an alcohol dependence.
Other indications of alcohol dependence that you should keep an eye out for include:
- Needing a drink to get started in the morning
- Frequently drinking four to seven days a week
- Every get-together necessitates a beverage for him.
- inability to quit drinking
- Get five or more alcoholic beverages in one day.
Hangovers are caused by drinking too much alcohol. Hangovers can cause symptoms that make you feel more anxious than you were before, including:
- low blood glucose (sugar)
Is it possible for alcohol to cause anxiety disorders?
The long-term effects of alcohol abuse can include several physical ailments, including mood disorders.
According to research, persons with alcohol use disorder have a difficult time recovering from traumatic events. This may be due to the impacts of alcohol abuse, which has been shown to alter brain activity.
Heavy drinkers may be more likely to develop an anxiety disorder, according to some studies. Moderate drinking, on the other hand, has not been linked to anxiety.
Alcohol withdrawal symptoms include anxiety, such as when you stop drinking suddenly after doing so in large amounts for a long time. Alcohol withdrawal symptoms can exacerbate stress if you’ve consumed alcohol in big doses for a lengthy period and then quit. The following are some additional symptoms of alcohol withdrawal:
- trembling hands
- heart rate above 100 beats per minute
Drinking isn’t a cure for anxiety disorder
Moderate drinking has different effects for men and women of various ages. In the United States, “moderate” Trusted Source is generally defined as two alcoholic beverages per day for adult males and one alcoholic beverage for females. Because adults age faster, only have one alcoholic drink each day if you’re in this demographic. Inquire with your doctor if moderate alcohol consumption is suitable for you.
Alcohol may provide a wide range of health and social benefits but also have specific adverse effects. The following are some of the consequences associated with alcohol use:
- liver disease
- cardiovascular damage
Everyone’s reaction to alcohol varies, and it may make you feel more sedated or cheerful after a difficult day. To discover whether alcohol is suitable for you, talk with your doctor about these issues first.
Keep in mind that if you have any of the following conditions, you should not drink alcohol:
- a low threshold for alcohol consumption
- Traits of worry or aggressiveness
- a mental health disorders
Alcohol isn’t a cure for anxiety. If you have fear, get help from a mental health expert. If you believe you may be addicted to alcohol, see your doctor right away.
Conventional ways of treating generalized anxiety disorder
There are a variety of anxiety therapy options available.
Treatment may differ depending on the kind of anxiety you have. If you have social anxiety or a social phobia, therapy may be most effective in lowering your stress levels (combined with a medication such as sertraline or Zoloft). Suppose you suffer from generalized anxiety disorder (GAD), an ongoing sense of worry or tension with no apparent cause. In that case, your doctor may advise learning techniques or behaviors to prevent you from avoiding activities due to anxiety (known as cognitive behavioral therapy, or CBT) or discussing your concerns with a therapist.
Medication(s) may also be necessary.
- Antidepressants e.g., duloxetine (Cymbalta), escitalopram (Lexapro), escitalopram (Lexapro), and paroxetine (Paxil).
- Benzodiazepines e.g., alprazolam (Xanax), diazepam (Valium), and lorazepam (Ativan).
Several different types of medicines can be used to treat anxiety. Antidepressants, for example, are used every day to treat anxiety while benzodiazepines are usually only administered as a short-term therapy for severe anxiety symptoms. Talk to your doctor about the best type of medication for you.
Some of these medications may react with alcohol. Before taking any of these medicines, discuss your alcohol use with your doctor, as side effects can be severe or deadly.
Social Anxiety Disorder can be reduced by making behavioral modifications.
Anxiety can be managed, but it isn’t always curable. You may make lifestyle changes to assist you in managing your stress and learning to cope with it.
There are a few simple daily adjustments you may make to reduce your stress.
- Sleep 6 to 8 hours a night, depending on your age.
- Limit the amount of coffee and alcoholic beverages you consume since both might worsen your anxiety.
- Consume meals that are consistent and nutritious daily.
- Set aside time every day to practice relaxation methods, such as meditation or yoga.
- Make time each day to relax with a pleasant pastime, such as listening to music or painting.
You can also learn to manage your anxiety by slowing it and preventing it from growing and triggering panic attacks:
- When you begin to get anxious, take slow breaths in and out to relax.
- When you find yourself thinking more negatively or overwhelmingly, focus on positive ideas.
- Count from one to ten or higher until anxiety begins to fade away.
- Instead of focusing on something that depresses you, focus on something amusing or uplifting until your anxiety eases.
Alcohol and Anxiety Disorder
When you consume alcohol, you may feel less tense or that your anxiety has been relieved for a few hours. However, when the aftereffects of the alcohol have worn off after a few hours, your stress could be worse. You can develop a tolerance to the temporarily relaxing effects of alcohol over time, and you may begin to believe that you must drink more to achieve the same impact. You may also notice that when you drink alcohol, your anxiety decreases, and heavy drinking might enhance anxiety.
Furthermore, long-term drinking can lead to alcohol dependence and alcohol withdrawal.
Alternatives to Alcohol Use Disorder Treatment
Abstinence is a typical treatment for alcohol use disorder, and quitting “cold turkey” or reducing consumption gradually are two common strategies to accomplish it. To alleviate alcohol withdrawal symptoms, doctors may prescribe medicines.
Long-term heavy drinkers will require expert medical detoxification or detox programs. This is due to the danger of withdrawal symptoms, such as seizures and hallucinations. Withdrawals can also harm brain function and cause death.
Alternative and traditional therapies may be used by those attempting to overcome alcohol use disorder as well as an anxiety disorder.
Alcohol use disorder and alcohol abuse is a disease, and modifying certain drinking habits may be part of the equation when deciding to stop. Some people use alcohol as a coping mechanism and source of stress relief. Some individuals may choose meditation to cope with pressures, but this is not always the case.
Meditation is the practice of focusing your attention for a short time. You might repeat a good thought or recite a mantra in your mind. For example, you might tell yourself, “I will commit to living a healthier lifestyle.” Another strategy involves visualizing yourself overcoming alcohol dependency, and you may consider how you would feel if you successfully kicked the habit.
Sleep difficulties are one of the side effects of alcohol detox as well as an anxiety disorder. People who abuse alcohol are more likely to suffer from sleep problems, such as insomnia.
Bright-light therapy, also known as phototherapy, is the illumination of individuals with seasonal affective disorder (SAD) to bright, artificial light during typical waking hours. Seasonal depression is often treated with light therapy. The advantage of people who have alcohol addiction is that the light may help to reduce sadness and improve sleep quality.
The researchers from Boston University studied the advantages of bright-light therapy and naltrexone, a drug that blocks alcohol craving. This technique was found to be just as effective in treating substance use disorder as intensive treatment programs from a mental health professional.
Alcohol addiction harms your nutritional health and your mental health. According to the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism’s Trusted Source, nearly all people with alcohol abuse are undernourished in some manner. To assist you in feeling better, doctors utilize nutrition therapy. When you eat nutrient-dense foods, you have more energy. This may help you in fighting off cravings to drink. A dietitian can assist you in selecting the best meals for your particular health needs.
Traditional Alcohol and Anxiety treatment options
Rehabilitation and treatment centers
When confronting alcohol and anxiety disorder, rehabilitation clinics are a popular step. Outpatient and inpatient treatment is offered by rehabilitation centers and treatment facilities, respectively.
Inpatient treatment services allow someone dependent on drugs to live in a treatment facility for an extended period and participate in a program that helps with withdrawal symptoms and emotional difficulties that come with fighting addiction. Outpatient treatments enable you to get the same advantages while remaining at home.
Alcohol addiction treatment can be challenging, but it may also provide you with the tools and understanding that you need to live a healthy life after recovery. Connecting with others experiencing similar issues is one of the most critical components of support groups for alcohol addiction; this will help you stay accountable throughout your treatment period.
Groups like Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) are 12-step programs. While 12-step organizations aren’t the answer for everyone, other support groups like SMART Recovery and Sober Recovery have similar advantages.
Therapeutic procedures can help you identify beliefs, actions, patterns, and emotions connected to the core cause of your alcohol dependency.
You may also begin to acquire new abilities to control your addiction and develop healthier routines and behaviors.
If you’ve recently gone through rehabilitation, therapy may be helpful since it can help you learn methods to prevent future use.
Other treatment options
There are a variety of additional strategies to handle alcohol use disorder.
- quitting “cold turkey.”
- gradually cutting back on drinks
- engaging in professional medical detoxification or detox programs
- yoga and acupuncture (though more research is needed for these methods to be proven effective)
Regardless of the treatment approach you choose, various complementary therapies might make a recovery from alcohol use disorder simpler.
It’s crucial to note that alcohol use disorder is a long-term condition, and you may experience pangs of temptation and return of usage at times, but this is typical.
Make sure you and your doctor discuss which treatment choices are appropriate for you.