If you've been following me for a while you'll know that since going through menopause I have suffered from anxiety. An interesting journey to say the least, and one I have spent a great deal of time researching with some great outcomes. Discovering the many, many ways I can mitigate and minimise my anxiety has been a huge benefit. It's taken time, and effort, but anything worthwhile does. Learning about the impact alcohol has on anxiety has been a recent lesson I'm keen to share.
I'd certainly noticed that my anxiety was exacerbated when I drank alcohol, and recently the impact seemed to last into the next day. Not that I drink a lot, I definitely do not. I'm talking one or two small glasses and whichever it is, the effect is the same.
When I began to research alcohol and anxiety, some of what I found described exactly what I had been experiencing. In this article on healthline.com there's a great explanation of how alcohol increases anxiety. With alcohol being the popular 'pill' of the day to relax, unwind and have fun, it's no wonder our rates of depression, anxiety and other mental health issues are so prevalent.
The second article I found was in this one, Alcohol: Not As Helpful As You Think, at goodtherapy.org which talks about alcohol aggravating existing anxiety and of course if dependency occurs, it can lead to long term effects.
This part I found particularly interesting (and agree with): Even though using alcohol is an easy, short term fix for anxious feelings, you’re not doing your body or your mind any favours by self-medicating with alcohol. Learning to manage anxiety (and naturally boost your CREB levels) in healthy ways such as through exercise, music, and expressing creativity is possible. Psychotherapy can also be very helpful. In fact, research shows that psychotherapy is usually the most effective long-term treatment for anxiety disorders. Therapy treats more than just the symptoms of anxiety. It helps you discover the underlying causes of your worries and fears. In therapy, you’ll learn to relax, perceive and interpret situations in new, less frightening ways, and learn better coping and problem-solving skills. Through therapy, you learn the tools to overcome anxiety and how to use them effectively.
In my journey to self-discovery and healing, which started back in 1989, Psychotherapy, and later Counselling
at different periods of time in my life, have been the biggest contributing factors to my growth. If you're considering either, I highly recommend it. Did I feel nervous when I was contemplating it? Most definitely, but
if I hadn't gone down that track I'd still be going around in circles with my own thoughts and feelings without a healthy and constructive outlet for them.
So, if you're either suffering from anxiety or find yourself with an unhealthy dependance on alcohol, maybe some exploration into the connection between the two would be useful. And counselling or therapy would help you too.
From time to time I enjoy a glass of wine or two at night, but each time I start drinking again, I quickly notice how I then want it each and every night. This of course is how an unhealthy pattern begins, and we either don't even notice it or we have a raft of excuses we use to stay on our destructive path.
Until next time,