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Have you ever noticed yourself feeling more anxious and worried after drinking heavily to sink your sorrows? It’s no secret that sometimes people turn to alcohol to cope up with their anxiety issues. But it isn’t a long-term solution. In fact, it is, in itself, a depressant! Furthermore, as your system acclimatizes to alcohol, it may help you temporarily forget your worries and help you fall asleep, but you won’t really stay asleep.
Anxiety is a feeling of worry or fear about what is going to happen. Its physical symptoms include sweating, increased heart rate, hallucinations, and trembling. Most importantly, it is different from depression. When someone first consumes alcohol, it accelerates the sedative effect due to the chemical changes that alcohol causes. And as a result, you feel more calm and relaxed. But here’s a twist! Alcohol is just a distractor. These benefits are short-term. In fact, in the long term, alcohol can cause anxiety or can make the symptoms worse.
Additionally, you may get addicted to it if you use it regularly for ‘self-medication’ and that will have long-term health consequences. For example, it may affect your liver. It is not a desirable way to cope with anxiety.
A 2017 study corroborates as well. It found that levels of anxiety were higher in those with AUD (Alcohol use disorder) than those without them when they faced anxiety or stress.
1. Alcohol can lead to depression: As you drink alcohol, your serotonin levels are temporarily raised, making you calm and relaxed. And when the serotonin levels drop off, you can begin to feel depressed because of the sudden changes in your feelings.
2. The alcohol effect doesn’t last longer: Alcohol is a sedative and depressant that affects the central nervous system. At first, it can reduce fears and worries, but unfortunately, that buzz is for the short term.
3. Hangovers lead to physical discomfort: And then there are anxiety hangovers. Well, hangovers cause physical discomfort like dizziness, shaking, sweating, which can trigger anxiety and panic symptoms.
4. You might become addicted: Using alcohol to calm anxiety, you’re more likely to develop an addiction and this can get you into a vicious cycle. As your intolerance to alcohol increases, you need to drink more to get the same effect.
5. It can impact other mental issues worse: Alcohol can have a major impact on mental health. With anxiety issues, the risk of other mental illnesses is high. The dependency on alcohol for easing anxiety can make you addicted to it. As a result, in the long term, this pattern of drinking may affect your mental health.
6. Worsen the short-term memory: Long-term drinking can lead to lapses in memory. You may face difficulty in recalling recent events or even an entire night. And worrying about what you might have done or forgotten can significantly affect your anxiety levels.
7. It disrupts your sleep pattern: Anxiety is frequently connected with sleeping problems. Excess worry and fear make it harder to fall asleep, whereas alcohol also disrupts your sleep cycle. This can affect your mood and ultimately your anxiety.
All in all, drinking alcohol to ease anxiety can be a deadly combination for you. So beware for the next time!