Why alcohol isn't the answer for our mental health
Problems + alcohol = more problems
Using alcohol to cope with difficult feelings or problems can create more difficulties and challenges.
Using alcohol can:
Weaken your coping skills
Coping skills are like a muscle – the more you use them, the stronger they get.
If we use alcohol to cope instead, we miss out on using and developing healthy coping skills, like:
- Talking about our problems
- Getting professional help
- Using stress management techniques
The next time we face a challenge we may feel more overwhelmed and more likely to turn to alcohol again.
Make relationships hard
Getting drunk or spending too much time drinking can cause arguments or mean you neglect or hurt the people you care about.
Undermine your self-esteem
Regret and guilt about drinking or drunken behaviour can make you feel bad about yourself.
Affect your health
Poor sleep, hangovers and alcohol-related health problems can make you feel less able to cope and add to your difficulties.
Make mental health problems worse
Alcohol can make the symptoms of mental health problems like depression, anxiety, personality disorders worse.
Read more: Alcohol and existing mental health problems
Lead to self-harm and suicide
Alcohol is linked to higher rates of self-harm and suicide. Read more: Alcohol, suicide and self-harm
Dependence - When alcohol becomes the problem
If you find yourself increasingly relying on alcohol to make you feel more confident, fill a void in your life, or deal with a difficult situation, you may be at risk of becoming dependent.
Read more about dependence and ways to get help. We also have more information on dependent drinking and your emotions.
If you feel that alcohol is making your mental health worse, not better, you may want to think about healthier ways to manage your mental health.
It may take a bit of work, but relying less on alcohol can make a long-lasting difference to your mood and mental health.
We also have advice on some common problems and ways to manage them without alcohol.