1. Alcohol alters your brain chemistry.
Alcohol disrupts the balance between the brain’s chemicals and processes. It disrupts this balance by influencing our thoughts, feelings and actions which can have a substantial impact on your long-term mental health. Sure, you might get an initial relaxed feeling after your first drink but the bad news is that by this time the alcohol has already started to depress the part of the brain associated with inhibition. As you continue to drink, more parts of the brain become affected. It doesn’t matter what mood you were in before you started drinking. The more you drink, the more you feel agitated, depressed, angry and aggressive. Which leads us to the second way alcohol is linked to your mental health…
2. Alcohol increases, not decreases, anxiety and stress.
That glass of wine or beer after a hard day at work might make you feel relaxed to begin with but over the long term this habit contributes to feelings of anxiety, depression and makes stress harder to deal with. This is a result of the effect alcohol has on the neurotransmitters in your brain that are needed for good mental health.
3. The link between alcohol and depression.
Regular drinking lowers your levels of serotonin, a brain chemical that helps to regulate your mood. That’s why drinking regularly and heavily often leads to symptoms of depression. As well as this influence on your brain chemistry, alcohol can interfere with your personal relationships and work performance – issues that can also contribute to depression.
4. Alcohol is linked to suicide and self-harm.
Alcohol can make people lose their inhibitions and impulsively do things they wouldn’t normally do, including self-harm and suicide. Often, people who have harmed themselves were drinking alcohol before or during the incident.
5. Alcohol damages your memory.
Not long after you start drinking, your brain processes decline and slow and your memory becomes impaired. Have you ever woken up after a big night of drinking and had “blanks” from the night where you can’t remember certain periods? That’s because after large quantities of alcohol have been consumed, the brain can stop recording into your ‘memory store’. This short term memory loss doesn’t necessarily mean brain cells have been damaged but regular, heavy drinking can certainly damage your brain chemistry and brain processes.
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