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Mental health benefits

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A lot of people find their mood improves when they cut down or stop drinking, like a cloud has been lifted. This may come as a surprise, as it’s common to feel that alcohol gives us a boost or a relief from difficult times.

“ When I was drinking, it felt like there was always a cloud hanging around me. I’ve never experienced that since.”¹

Clearer thinking / get things done

Hangovers, poor sleep and time spent drinking can eat away at your energy and productivity and affect your concentration and your ability to learn and remember things.

Whether it be organising things at home, keeping up with study or performing better at work, a break from alcohol can get you motivated to get things done.

"If you want to get stuff done, take a break from alcohol. It's that simple."1

“I need a drink after the day I’ve had”

Although alcohol can numb difficult feelings or make us forget problems for a while, alcohol is actually a depressant drug. You might be aware of this in the ‘low’ that can happen the day after drinking.

But alcohol can have a negative effect on our mental health in the longer term, too, causing problems like depression and anxiety, or making existing problems worse.

Finding new ways to cope

Taking a break from relying on alcohol may mean you need to find different ways to try to cope with negative feelings, but this can be good for your mental health.

Negative feelings – falling out with people, having a day when everything goes wrong, feeling down or alone – are normal.

Without alcohol in the way, you’re more likely to find real solutions and build up your coping skills so that you can get over life’s ups and downs more easily.

If you find it hard to cope, talk to a friend or your family doctor (GP). You can also see some tips for coping with common problems like depression, trauma, social anxiety and anger. See our section Where to get help for helpful services.

Read more

Alcohol’s effects on mental health

Common problems and healthy ways to cope

Healthy ways to cope with your feelings

¹ Andy Ramage – One Year No Beer

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