You sip that glass of red wine because you want to relieve some of your troubles, but it doesn’t work. What you lack is knowledge about alcohol and anxiety.
Many of us are unaware of the impact of our worries on our level of intoxication. Alcohol consumption and anxiety go hand-in-hand, and we explain why.
The Link Between Between Alcohol and Anxiety
A study published by Drinkaware showed that 34% of British people drank alcohol to cope with anxiety or depression. Here are some ways alcohol can affect anxiety, and how not to worsen this effect.
1. Short-term confidence
First of all, drinking gives us short-term confidence. Because it’s a sedative, it helps you feel at ease in the short term. Just thinking about it can make you feel better about yourself, as research proves.
However, that confidence is short-lived. Alcohol disrupts the balance in the brain. You feel relaxed because it affects the part of the brain that manages inhibition.
2. Depletion of Serotonin
Alcohol lowers serotonin levels. Serotonin is a hormone that affects our happiness. Your mental well-being may suffer if there’s a lack of it.
3. Drinking to cope with social anxiety
As you drink, your body builds a tolerance to alcohol and makes you feel relaxed. You will need to drink more to experience this effect as your tolerance of it increases. An unhealthy drinking pattern develops, and it may compromise your mental well-being.
4. Anxiety Hangovers
You’re probably familiar with bundling up in a cocoon if you’re an anxiety sufferer, but why do you have such moments?
Symptoms like dizziness or palpitations may trigger anxiety because they resemble it. You may also develop health anxieties because you worry if your headache is due to something sinister.
5. Alcohol worsens your short-term memory
You probably won’t remember what you did after you drank the night before, but alcohol exacerbates this feeling. Alcohol causes people to behave in a way that is embarrassing under normal conditions. It also limits your short-term memory.
6. Developing Alcohol Dependency
A study carried out in the United States reveals that 20% of people with social anxiety abuse alcohol. It creates a cycle during which you drink to relieve anxiety but have to drink more because of the hangover it creates.
7. Disrupts your sleep pattern
Finally, alcohol affects your sleep. Insomnia leaves you feeling exhausted and irritable. A study by the University of Missouri-Columbia found that drinking to get to sleep disrupts your sleep homeostasis or sleep regulator.
Are Drinkers More Prone to Anxiety?
Research proves that people who suffer from alcoholism find it difficult to recover from traumatic events because alcohol abuse can change brain activity. Therefore, long-term, heavy drinkers are prone to anxiety disorder.
Breaking the Cycle
The relationship between alcohol and anxiety is complex and pre-meditated. It isn’t clear whether alcohol causes anxiety or vice versa, but it is certain that alcohol worsens the situation.
The best way to combat alcohol anxiety disorder is to identify the underlying issue. Understanding the link between the two will help. It may help you decide if it’s your worries that are causing you to drink or vice versa.
Natural Treatments for Anxiety That Are Better Than Alcohol Consumption
Medical therapies do work to treat alcoholism and anxiety but have possible side effects. The following remedies can put the problem to rest.
First of all, is acupuncture or healing via tapping on a person’s acupoints? Practitioners of this ancient Chinese art believe that illnesses come about because of a disruption in the flow of ‘qi.’
Acupuncture releases endorphins and relieves anxiety. This treatment can help to treat anxiety-related alcohol issues.
Meditation disciplines you mentally and is a source of self-control. It is a positive stress-relief method that replaces drinking. Meditation requires you to spend a few minutes focusing.
You can use it to replace negative thoughts with positive ones and relieve your anxiety. One of these thoughts could be “Everything will go well today.” Doing this will put you in a positive state of mind and remove your anxiety. It also reduces alcohol dependency.
Also on this list is Yoga. It helps you to get in tune with your body. Yoga exercises involve mindful breathing and graceful movements. Yoga makes the mind-body connection possible.
It enhances your sense of well-being. It also teaches you to use your body healthily and reduces your anxious feelings. Lots of instructional videos and mobile applications help beginning Yoga practitioners learn yoga stances.
4. Light Therapy
Poor quality sleep is the reason for many alcohol-related issues. People with alcoholism are prone to getting sleep disorders. Light therapy treats a condition known as a seasonal affective disorder. Light reduces depression and makes the light cycle natural.
Chinese medical practitioners have used a herb called Kudzu to lessen the effects of alcohol consumption. A 2005 Harvard University Study suggests that it might reduce the effects of alcohol on heavy drinkers.
The researchers found that participants who took a Kudzu pill drank less than those who received a placebo. The study size was small, but prove that it might help alcohol addiction.
6. Nutritional Counselling
The Cleveland Clinic states that nearly all people who suffer from alcohol addiction suffer from malnutrition. Nutritional counseling teaches you to make healthy eating choices, which raises your energy.
Besides, healthy foods calm the mind and will help you to get rid of the burden of anxiety.
In all, alcohol and anxiety have an uneasy relationship, but there are ways in which you can reduce one or the other.