After a long, exhausting day, it would be good to relax on the couch, pop open a beer, and watch some TV. Having a few cocktails with pals is a great way to relax and enjoy the weekend. But what if your frequent drinking in social situations has become a habit?
Heavy drinking has negative effects on daily functioning, emotions, and mental health. Even worse, it could cause issues with one’s mental health. You should think twice before cracking open a beer bottle because of the negative impact alcohol has on the body over time. This article will educate you on the negative impact alcohol can have on your mental health and provide practical advice for cutting back on booze, such as other methods to unwind.
Alcohol and the Brain
Consuming large quantities of alcohol frequently disrupts the brain’s natural chemicals and neurotransmitters. Alcohol is depressive, meaning that it lowers one’s ability to think clearly, move rationally, and feel empathy. Therefore, alcohol impairs the central nervous system’s ability to perform. Reduced serotonin levels are associated with chronic binge drinking, which may exacerbate existing sleep problems, sadness, and anxiety. There is no denying that alcohol has short-term benefits, but the long-term implications should not be ignored. Slowly developing alcohol dependence has been linked to hostility, emotional disorders, and substance addiction.
The Impact of Alcohol on Your Mind
Both pre-existing and new mental health issues can be made worse by long-term alcohol abuse. Depression and anxiety are the most prevalent psychiatric symptoms of alcoholism. What follows is a more in-depth analysis of how alcohol can affect your mental health.
Abuse of Alcohol Might Exacerbate Mental Health Issues
It’s not wise to use alcohol as a kind of self-care if you’re already struggling with mental health issues. You should know that drinking won’t help and may even lead to a downward spiral of worsening mental health.
Long-term alcohol use has been linked to a worsening of the signs and symptoms of mood disorders, stress, sadness, anxiety, and even suicidal ideation. Drinking alcohol can increase preexisting mental health conditions such as suicidal ideation, psychosis, aggression, and irresponsible behaviour. Finally, there may be negative effects from combining antidepressant drugs with alcohol.
Abuse of Alcohol Has Been Linked to Psychological Distress
Regular and excessive alcohol consumption reduces serotonin production in the brain, as was previously mentioned. This has the potential to exacerbate preexisting mental health disorders, such as depression and stress.
When things spiral out of control due to intoxication, a person with a preexisting mental health disorder who has been drinking extensively may act impulsively and without inhibition. When someone with a mental illness drinks, they may act irrationally and hurt himself or others.
Tips for Cutting Back on Booze
If heavy drinking is causing problems for you, there are various steps you may take to reduce your intake. More than seven drinks a week is considered heavy and excessive drinking by women, as stated by the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA). For men, heavy drinking is defined as more than 15 drinks per week. This is why TV ads for alcoholic beverages always stress moderation. Here are some suggestions that can help you cut back on your drinking:
Get the Clock Going
Now that you have an idea of how much alcohol is healthy for you to consume, you can keep track of how much you drink each week. 44 ml of proof liquor, 0.3 litres of ordinary beer, or 0.14 litres of wine is one serving.
Interstitial Hydration is Essential
Mix your alcoholic drinks with non-alcoholic ones, such as water, juice, or soda.
Substitute Non-alcoholic Drinks for Your Alcoholic Ones
When you’re feeling the social pressure to imbibe more, this is a brilliant plan of action. You should always order water with your vodka. Request a Coke and extra ice for your whisky and soda combination. Can you do the “throw the tequila behind your back” move? Also, that.
Set Aside One Day Per Week to Abstain
Make it a goal to drink only on a set day of the week and abstain the other six days. Try to limit your alcohol intake and take some weekend nights off from drinking.
Tell Your Loved Ones the Truth
You should be honest with your loved ones and coworkers about your decision to reduce your alcohol consumption. Telling them the truth will help them comprehend.
Doing What Rather Than Drinking Alcohol?
You don’t need alcohol to feel better; there are alternative options. Make it a goal to establish more stress-reducing routines. Try some of these alternatives to alcohol:
Getting Regular Exercise is Essential
You can exercise by going to a gym, going for a stroll, doing yoga or tai chi, going swimming, or riding your bike. Exercising elevates your mood because it causes your body to release endorphins.
Get Outside More Often
Don’t plan on getting drunk this weekend if you want to unwind and recharge. Consider arranging a weekend hike instead. You can go mountain biking, camping, and hiking in the great outdoors. Two hours a week in natural surroundings has been shown to improve mood and increase optimism.
Maintain a Busy Schedule
Get involved in something new, brush up on your existing skills, and keep yourself occupied so you don’t have time to think about cracking open a bottle of wine. If you’re feeling low, schedule some counselling instead of hitting the bars. A therapist is a great resource for information on maintaining emotional wellness.
Getting Help With Alcohol Addictions
Deciding to pursue addiction treatment is a significant step towards reclaiming your life from the grasp of substance abuse. It’s courageous, transformative, and can be one of the most meaningful decisions you ever make. The journey, however, can seem daunting. Where do you start? What kind of treatment is best for you? It’s a path that may appear foggy and full of uncertainty, but rest assured, you are not alone. Services like RelapsePrevention.co.za JHB and SouthafricaRehab.co.za JHB are here to guide you through the process, illuminating your road to recovery right here in Johannesburg.
Recognizing that you or your loved one may need help is the first crucial step on this journey. Addiction is often fraught with denial and excuses, but understanding the signs of substance abuse is paramount. If your day-to-day life has become unmanageable, your health is deteriorating, or your relationships are being affected due to substance use, then it’s time to take action. Johannesburg’s top rehab services are ready to stand by your side, offering comprehensive, empathetic support and a lifeline to a healthier, happier life.
They offer a holistic approach to addiction treatment, recognizing that substance abuse affects every aspect of your life – physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual. They help to tailor your recovery program, addressing your unique needs and ensuring you receive the best possible care. You are not just another number; you are a unique individual with unique needs.
Remember, addiction is not a weakness; it’s a disease. Your recovery, therefore, should not feel like punishment but a process of healing. Here in Johannesburg, you’ll find treatment options that align with this mindset. They range from inpatient rehab, where you’ll be supported 24/7 by a team of professionals, to outpatient services that provide flexibility for those with work and family obligations. Your recovery is possible, and it can fit into your lifestyle.