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Drinking to Cope?

Updated: Aug 17


woman with head down holding a glass of wine and a bottle

Did you know that alcohol is the most commonly used substance to cope with mental health issues? A lot of people don't even realize that they're using alcohol to self-medicate, because drinking seems like a normal response to feeling anxious or down. But while alcohol may provide short-term relief, it ultimately makes things worse in the long run. If you’re not sure if you fall into this category, please, feel free to take our safe and confidential quiz.


This blog post will explore why drinking to cope with anxiety and depression is harmful, and offer some alternative strategies for managing these conditions.



The Harmful Side of Drinking When Dealing with Depression & Anxiety


Many people deal with anxieties and depression at some point in their life. For many, drinking seems like a logical way to cope with those feelings. What is not well known is that alcohol is actually a depressant that can worsen any symptom of depression & anxiety.


Take a look at some other harmful effects:

  • Alcohol can interfere with medication and make it less effective or cause a dangerous reaction

  • Drinking excessively can lead to serious health problems, including liver damage, heart disease, and pancreatitis

  • Drinking to cope with depression & anxiety is harmful and can lead to addiction

  • Changes in brain function

Alcohol abuse can make symptoms of mental health disorders worse, and it can be difficult to break the cycle of addiction without help from a professional. Drinking makes depression and anxiety symptoms worse by acting as both an anxiolytic - making you feel calmer but unable to function normally afterwards-and a sedative; this means someone who has been drinking will likely go into withdrawal if they stop entirely without treatment. Alcoholism does not just affect people's brains - alcohol also damages other parts in your body too! When you abuse alcohol long term this damage gets worse over time which means that recovery from an addiction will take longer than if no one was suffering from any issues at all due solely because there are so many different organs involved.



Alternative Strategies


The number one thing you can do to help avoid the increased risk of mental disorders due to alcohol consumption, is to be mindful of your drinking or if possible stop drinking altogether. This isn't always an option for everyone though, as some may have developed a physical dependence on alcohol which requires professional treatment before they're able to safely eliminate it. If you are unsure of where to begin and don’t know where to turn, schedule a time to chat with me.


Alternatives to help manage depression & anxiety:

  • Eat a balanced diet - foods high in Omega-3 fatty acids have been shown to help with depression

  • Get some sun! Studies have proven that the sun increases your serotonin levels and helps with anxiety and depression

  • Get enough sleep - Sufficient sleep facilitates the brain's processing of emotional information

  • Exercise regularly - This releases endorphins that improve your mood!

  • Seek professional help if the anxiety or depression is proving to be too much to handle on your own


There is no 'One Perfect' solution - try combining therapies to help relieve symptoms associated with these conditions but also to improve overall quality of life and health!


If you are struggling with excessive drinking to cope with your mental health struggles, it is important to get help from a professional. Breaking the cycle of addiction can be difficult, but it is possible with the right treatment.