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How Alcohol Can Impact Anxiety

a person holds their face in shame after recognizing the link between alcohol and anxiety

People drink for a range of reasons—to have fun, to try and fit in, and even to reduce stress. The misconception that a couple of drinks can safely take the edge off is so common that it’s almost standard in movies and TV shows. However, using alcohol and anxiety can influence each other in ways that can be very harmful.

If you use the effects of alcohol to self-medicate your anxiety, it may be time to find help. Comprehensive, professional support is available at an Evoke Wellness treatment center near you. You can get back on track and take steps toward a brighter future—one in which you can manage your anxiety on your own rather than turning for a drink. Enroll in a dual diagnosis treatment program now by calling 866.429.2960.

Alcohol and Anxiety Are Closely Linked

For some people, alcohol serves as a temporary relief from the discomfort of anxiety. The initial calming effect can lead individuals to turn to alcohol as a coping mechanism. However, this relief is fleeting and often followed by a rebound effect, where anxiety symptoms not only return but are often intensified. This phenomenon is one of the many adverse effects of alcohol.

The Short-Term Effects of Alcohol on Anxiety

Initially, alcohol appears to decrease feelings of anxiety, providing a sense of relaxation and ease. This effect varies based on the quantity of alcohol consumed. However, the calm before the storm is short-lived. As the effects of alcohol wear off, the rebound effect comes into play, leading to increased levels of anxiety.

The Long-Term Effects of Alcohol on Anxiety

Chronic alcohol consumption can have significant long-term effects on mental health, leading to persistent anxiety conditions. Alcohol impacts brain chemistry, altering neurotransmitter levels that regulate your mood and stress responses. Over time, these alterations can worsen anxiety symptoms, creating a vicious cycle of alcohol and anxiety.

Do You Drink to Deal with Stress?

You might think that your drinking is totally under control, that alcohol and anxiety aren’t interacting in some of the dangerous ways mentioned previously. However, taking your time to answer some questions about your habits might show that your drinking could be causing more harm than good.

  • Do you drink before you feel comfortable going to a big social event?
  • Do you use alcohol to cope with difficult situations or emotions?
  • Have you noticed that your anxiety worsens after drinking?
  • Do you find yourself turning to alcohol whenever you feel stressed or anxious?
  • Have you ever drank before a meeting at work?

If you answered yes to any of these questions, it may be time to seek professional help. It’s important to address the root cause of your anxiety and develop healthier coping strategies.

How to Manage Anxiety Without Relying on Alcohol

Managing anxiety without resorting to alcohol involves adopting healthier coping mechanisms. Here are some practical tips:

  • Seek professional help – Therapists and counselors can provide strategies and techniques to help manage anxiety.
  • Practice mindfulness – Techniques such as meditation and deep breathing can help manage anxiety symptoms.
  • Stay active – Regular physical activity can help reduce anxiety by boosting your mood and acting as a natural stress reliever.
  • Maintain a balanced diet – Certain foods may contribute to increased anxiety. Try to maintain a balanced diet rich in fruits, vegetables, lean proteins, and whole grains.

Remember, it’s crucial to seek professional help if you’re struggling with anxiety and alcohol use. It’s not a journey you have to take alone.

Call Evoke Wellness to Get Help

We understand the complexities of co-occurring anxiety and alcohol misuse and offer comprehensive treatment programs to help individuals living with both. Our compassionate team provides personalized care to address underlying issues and develop healthier coping strategies. Don’t let alcohol and anxiety control your life any longer—call us today at 866.429.2960 or message us online to enroll at a center near you.