Home Mental Health & Well-Being Expert Warns Binge Drinking Could Be Impacting Your Mental Health This Christmas

Expert Warns Binge Drinking Could Be Impacting Your Mental Health This Christmas

Published: Last updated:
Reading Time: 3 minutes

For many people, alcohol is used to help them de-stress and unwind, with 56% of Brits citing that relaxation is the most common reason for consuming alcohol.  

As we approach Christmas, Martin Preston founder and chief executive at Private Rehab Clinic Delamere, has warned Brits that overindulging in alcohol this Christmas can affect their physical and mental health. 

Despite the feelings of relaxation, one might feel after consuming alcohol, regular and excessive usage can impact an individual’s mental health. The team have shared insight into how abusing alcohol can cause negative thoughts and emotions.

Alcohol is often used for relaxation, as it can help people to feel more comfortable, confident, and less anxious during social situations. Alcohol changes the chemistry in the brain, blocking the signals between the neurotransmitters and depressing the part of our brain that gives us inhibitions. This is what causes the relaxed feeling of intoxication.

However, regular and excessive alcohol consumption also called “binge drinking” can cause people to experience more negative emotions and can have detrimental effects on overall mental well-being.

Depression and anxiety can be linked to excessive alcohol use and often affect one another. People who experience depressive low moods or anxiety may turn to alcohol to temporarily alleviate their symptoms; however, this is temporary and may leave the person’s mental well-being in a worse state than it was previously.

If you have been previously prescribed medication for depression or anxiety, it is vital to discuss with a medical professional whether the specific medication is safe to drink alcohol with. Using alcohol as a coping mechanism for preexisting mental health problems can lead to increased consumption of alcohol and eventually may result in alcohol dependency.

In turn, people who did not previously suffer from depression or anxiety may find that excessive alcohol consumption is causing these negative feelings, particularly the day after drinking, due to the changes alcohol has made to the chemistry in the brain.

Alcohol is a depressant, meaning that it causes a reduction in the amount of Serotonin, the chemical that makes us feel happy. This can cause sadness or anger in some cases when people are intoxicated.

Long-term excessive alcohol consumption can also lead to other problems with cognitive impairment, including concentration and memory. It can also lead to sleep disturbances, as well as general negative emotions.

If you find that alcohol is having a negative impact on your mental well-being and you are experiencing one of the symptoms listed above, reducing your alcohol intake may help to relieve this. It is important to follow the guidance outlined by the chief medical officer, which states that you should not exceed over 14 units of alcohol per week

If you consume 14 units per week, spread this out over several days, ensuring you leave days in between to be alcohol-free. Reducing alcohol intake and spreading consumption throughout the week rather than excessive drinking may positively impact day-day mental well-being.

How can you stop drinking alcohol safely? 

If you have found that your alcohol consumption has increased and you would like to reduce intake, it’s important to seek tailored advice from a medical professional. The team at Delamere have provided five tips for someone trying to cut back on heavy drinking

Reduce consumption day by day 

It’s important to reduce alcohol consumption safely. It is safer to gradually detoxify from alcohol rather than quit all at once because withdrawals can be fatal. 

Try limiting yourself to drinking no more alcohol than required when weaning off. Drink enough to limit your withdrawal symptoms and gradually reduce daily consumption. 

Increase the amount of time per drink 

Try extending the period between your next drink. To reduce the amount of alcohol you consume daily in a safer and more bearable way, set a specific period before starting your next drink. 

Some people find it easier to drink soft drinks or water in between. This gives you something to do while you wait for your next drink and hydrates you. 

When cutting down consumption slowly, you will find it easier to stop drinking completely when ready. You can gradually increase the time limit between each drinking period. 

Keep a drinking diary 

Keep track of every time you consume an alcoholic drink. Record how often you drink each day, how much alcohol you consume and where you were when you consumed it. From this, you can visualise and monitor how much alcohol you consume daily, weekly and monthly. 

Compare this to your end goal. If you’re having trouble reaching your target, seek support from a professional and try to change your habits and ways of reducing consumption. 

Keep the mind and body busy 

Try changing your social habits by taking up a new hobby or project to work on or visiting friends and family in an environment that doesn’t involve drinking. Walking, painting, physical exercise, and even going to the cinema or out for an alcohol-free meal are all great alternatives to drinking.

Ask for support

Cutting down your alcohol consumption is not always easy. Seek advice from your friends, family and medical professionals. Addiction specialists can provide a tailored treatment plan to support your journey to sobriety. 

© Copyright 2014–2034 Psychreg Ltd