While drinking is socially acceptable in our society, it has a massive impact on our health. The physical effects of alcohol are significant, but so are the psychological effects. When people say that alcohol is poison, this isn’t a euphemism. It is poison for your body and mind. Your body is harmed in all kinds of ways, but even if you remove the physical impact alcohol has you still have a mental impact that can’t be ignored. It doesn’t matter whether you’re seeking Ocean Ridge Treatment or just want to cut back, everyone should know about the effects of alcohol on the mind below.
All too often people self-medicate with alcohol. Depression is very difficult to live with sometimes. People of all stripes use alcohol to escape. Momentarily, it can give you the euphoria you’re looking for, but it’s in fact an illusion. Alcohol is a depressant. It will never facilitate depression. It will provide relief after a long, stressful day, but it will never help long-term depression. Even if you didn’t have depression before you started drinking heavily, you may become depressed just from the use of alcohol. Drinking will also make you feel worse overall when it comes to depression.
The same goes for anxiety. When you feel anxious and you have a drink, you might feel better. But this is, in a sense, borrowing from tomorrow. Anxiety increases with the use of alcohol. Have you ever been hungover and incredibly anxious? This is so common for many of us. That feeling you have when you wake up anxious was exacerbated by what you drank. The anxiousness you feel after drinking all night comes from both you and the alcohol. Anxiety is not helped by alcohol either.
Other mental health disorders
Alcohol also has a negative effect on other mental health disorders. For example, bipolar disorder is exacerbated by alcohol. A lot of people who suffer from manic depression use drinking to cope. Self-medication is a big deal. People struggling with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) may self-medicate to forget the past and the trauma that they went through. Alcohol can also exacerbate obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) and schizophrenia. If you or someone you love is struggling with mental health, drinking alcohol is like throwing oil on a flame.
When you drink a lot, your brain shrinks over time. Brains of people the same age have been studied to determine the effect of alcohol. It shows that the brain is shrunk using alcohol. It also impacts the pathways in the brain. Overall, your mental capacity will shrink when you are drinking a lot. Over time, your brain will experience the effects of drinking and you will suffer mentally and intellectually.
Your memory is greatly affected by alcohol. You will begin to forget things the more you drink. You won’t remember what happened on a given day or night. Beyond just forgetfulness, alcohol can contribute to dementia. There are many forms of dementia, but alcohol use can contribute to all kinds of results as you get older. When you heavily drink, you are putting yourself at risk for diseases like Alzheimer’s. Your memory is greatly impacted by drinking.
Alcohol can also disrupt your hormone balance. The balance of your hormones is very important. For men, alcohol can decrease testosterone and even lead to a reduction in sperm count. For women, it can lead to a decrease in estrogen and infertility. Hormone balance is important for your body and mind. Alcohol disrupts this balance.
Drinking heavily can even lead to psychosis. Psychosis is a mental illness that results in hallucinations and delusions. It can be caused by acute ingestion, but it can even be caused by withdrawal. Even when you have stopped drinking, psychosis could be the result. It’s one of the things that lead to self-harm and even suicide.
The impact that alcohol has on the mind is almost profound. It greatly affects your happiness, brain chemistry, functioning, memory, and more. If you need a reason to stop drinking, there is no shortage of them. Just look into how it negatively affects your brain, and you will want to stop. Alcohol is poison. It can be used safely but so often it becomes an extremely unhealthy way to cope.
Ellen Diamond did her degree in psychology at the University of Hertfordshire. She is interested in mental health, wellness, and lifestyle.