Cheers! Mental Health and Drinking

I want to talk a little bit about mental illness and drinking problems. They often go hand in hand, and have done so for me in the past. When things have become too much for me, I have many times started drinking as a way of coping. Of course, drinking can be a very pleasant and fun experience, but it’s important to be aware of all the factors playing a part before you start sipping.

Self-medication

Drinking can often be a form of self-medication which is used to help with mental illnesses. In the short run, it can make you happier, more relaxed and more confident, all great things. But unfortunately these are quick fixes which do not last. More often than not they are overtaken by the dreaded hangover with all its mentally tiring effects, and if you drink too much there can be far more serious consequences, both immediately and long term.

Alcohol: a depressant

Furthermore, alcohol is actually a depressant which worsens feelings of depression and anxiety. So while many find it to be a helpful form of self-medication, it isn’t very useful in the long run. When drinking more than just the one, alcohol disrupts the balance of chemicals in your brain that affect your mood, heightening feelings of sadness and nervousness.

Awareness

You should always be aware of why you are drinking. If it is because you are feeling anxious or nervous, sad or depressed, there might be other options which could be more helpful, breathing techniques, exercise, self-care, talking to a trusted friend.

The most important thing is to be aware of your circumstances when you drink. Why are you drinking? How much? Are you in a safe environment? What is your relationship to alcohol?

Most of the time, there is no straight answer as to whether or not drinking is good, it all depends on your own personal sets of experiences and circumstances, so be sure to think it through for yourself. If you do, then the answer will most likely be staring you in the face.

Personally

It feels like I’ve had endless experiences with alcohol. Very many of them are now incredibly fun and happy memories for me, and then there are the not so good times… Last summer I realised it was quite a big problem for me when I was sent in an ambulance to A&E – not good! At the time I was using drink as a form of escapism and self-medication, I was drinking alone, I hadn’t eaten, and I was in a pub with loads of stranger – a downright terrible combination!

The solution for me was to go completely cold-turkey for quite a few months, and now I only drink one or two units with friends and family. It’s a big turnaround from the drinking habits I had in my London days – but as much as it sometimes feels like I am missing out on the fun, I do overall feel healthier and happier.

Have a good Saturday guys and remember to celebrate the weekend with moderation!

If you want to read more about drinking and mental illness, click here.

2 thoughts on “Cheers! Mental Health and Drinking

  1. myquietroar says:

    This is so well timed for me! I was at a wedding yesterday and although I was watching what I was drinking it suddenly hit me and when I got to bed I had a horrible cry, it was totally the alcohol acting as a depressant, I’ve woken up really annoyed at myself, as I always do, wish I had stopped earlier!

    Liked by 1 person

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