how much alcohol do you drink...and why?
The reason we drink and the consequences of excessive drinking are linked with our mental health. Mental health problems not only result from drinking too much alcohol, they can also cause people to drink too much. Put very simply, a major reason for drinking alcohol is to change our mood - or our mental state. Alcohol can temporarily alleviate feelings of anxiety and depression and people often use it a form of 'self-medication' in an attempt to cheer themselves up or sometimes help with sleep.
One of the main problems associated with using alcohol to deal with mental health problems is that regular consumption of alcohol changes the chemistry of the brain. It decreases the levels of the brain chemical serotonin - a key chemical in depression. As a result of this depletion, a cyclical process begins where one drinks to relieve depression, which causes serotonin levels in the brain to be depleted, leading to one feeling even more depressed, and thus necessitating even more alcohol to then medicate this depression.
Alcohol can also reveal or intensify our underlying feelings, such as evoking past memories of trauma or sparking any repressed feelings which are associated with painful events of the past. These memories can be so powerful that they create overwhelming anxiety, depression or shame. Re-living these memories and dark feelings whilst under the influence of alcohol can pose a threat to personal safety as well as the safety of others.
If the amount of alcohol that you have been drinking exceeds recommended guidelines and puts you at risk for developing alcohol-related problems, you may want to try cutting down or moderating your consumption. If you are currently drinking more than the recommended guidelines, any change that you make, even small changes, can help you reduce the harm that alcohol can cause. The less you drink, the lower your risk of developing problems.
If you feel like alcohol may be an issue for you consider talking to a friend or family member. If that isn't an option then make an appointment with your G.P or give Andy's clinic a call on 0800 612 2878.