How does alcohol affect your mental health?

A bout of anxiety on a hungover Sunday could be your clue to limit your alcohol intake, research suggests.

While drinking is ingrained in social settings, especially this time of year, pay attention to how you feel after the party, as anxiety and depression can increase prove It is a symptom of alcohol consumption.

“If you’re going to have a lot of occasional drinking on a regular basis during the holidays, it can really affect your anxiety levels and your general mood,” says Kevin Shield, a scientist at the Center for Addiction and Psychology. Health( CAMH) Institute for Mental Health Policy.

The data show that as many as 64% People with mental illness felt their condition worsened around the holidays.

If you regularly experience the effects of a “hangover,” which is the feeling of anxiety the day after you’ve had a drink—a combination of “hangover” and “anxiety”—you might consider cutting back this December.

Understanding the Drinking “Buzz”

A hangover begins when your blood alcohol level approaches zero and you experience a combination of mental and physical symptoms, usually a dreaded throwback after a night of heavy drinking. But what’s going on in your brain?

That relaxed feeling you get from drinking is result Stimulation of gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA), which is a “relax” receptor for neurotransmitters in the brain.

This receptor calms the nervous system and slows brain activity, and the more you drink, the more GABA is delivered in your body.

At the same time, alcohol also increases those “happy” neurotransmitters, dopamine and serotonin, make daily stressors disappear, and play a role. temporary Mood booster.

As the alcohol is purged from your body, mood begins to drop, causing surging dopamine and GABA levels to drop dramatically—signaling an increase in overwhelming anxious thoughts and depressive feelings as your system attempts to rebalance.

mindful consumption

Alcohol misuse leads to brain damage faster, according to the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism female It is higher in men than in men due to various factors such as body weight measurement and blood alcohol concentration.

While everyone is different, Canada offers low-risk drinking guideline Indicates how much beverages are safe for men and women to drink.

Women are advised to limit alcohol consumption to no more than two standard drinks (17.05 milliliters or 13.45 grams of pure alcohol) per day, 10 drinks per week, and three drinks on special occasions.

At the same time, it is recommended that men drink no more than 3 drinks a day, 15 drinks a week, and no more than 4 drinks on special occasions.

However, if you already struggle with anxiety, depression, or other mental health issues, you may be more susceptible than others to developing “anxiety attacks,” or the effects of alcohol on other mental health issues.

“Anxiety and depression lead people to drink. So it’s important on both ends, number one, alcohol is a risk factor for anxiety and depression, and number two, anxiety and depression are risk factors for alcohol use. So it’s like that feedback cycle, ’ said Shield.

Harnessing Holiday Drinking

Shield says social pressure to drink may intensify as more opportunities for celebration emerge this month, but there are a few ways to be mindful of how our drinking affects our mental health.

It’s great if you can quit cold turkey, but modern approaches to reducing alcohol consumption focus on limiting alcohol consumption rather than abstaining from it altogether, Shield said.

“It’s not all or nothing. It would be nice if you could stop drinking when you’re having issues with anxiety and depression, but drinking less will help you too.”

You can also create a “drink diary” to record how much you drink and how you feel.

“Keeping the number of days you drink and how much you drink per day can really help you understand your drinking. You tend to forget things (when you drink) so a drinking diary can really help you put how much you’re drinking into perspective alcohol, and whether you want to drink again that week.”

For people hosting social gatherings, it is always helpful to offer non-alcoholic alternatives, while being careful not to force people to drink – some people may have an alcohol use disorder or a family history of alcoholism, so don’t ask people why they don’t Drink, Hilde said.

Having a glass of water with every drink is a strategic way to mitigate the effects, but if you have a drinking disorder and cannot control your drinking, it is best to avoid these social situations altogether to limit drinking exposure.

“It’s important to not only limit how much you drink, but to know what the risks are and limit them,” Shield said.

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