Many of us enjoy drinking alcohol in moderation, for many different reasons, but consuming too much alcohol can have a negative effect on our mental health.
Equally, if you have a mental health illness, you may be more inclined to drink alcohol to cope with your symptoms. This is known as ‘self-medication’ and can make existing problems worse.
Alcohol affects your brain chemistry. You may end up in a damaging cycle, drinking alcohol because you feel depressed , but heavy consumption may make you feel more depressed.
As it’s a depressant, drinking too much alcohol can affect our mental health as well as our physical health.
Many of us are aware of hangover symptoms, but the long-term effects can be debilitating depending on how much, and how often, you drink. These include:
- Needing to drink more alcohol to feel good
- Becoming dependent on the alcohol
- Mood changes
- Loss of motivation
There are also physical effects if you’re dependent on alcohol. These can include:
- Shaking or trembling
- Racing heart rate
If you experience any of these due to alcohol habits, you should speak to your GP.
If you’re in a mental health crisis and need urgent help, call the Single Point of Access on (01472) 256256 and select option 3. They are available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Alternatively, you can call NHS 111 free from a landline or mobile phone.
In the first instance, you should speak to your GP if you’re concerned about your drinking. They will be able to signpost you to the most appropriate support. They may decide that talking therapies, such as Open Minds, may help you if you are feeling depressed.