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Why alcohol isn't the answer for our mental health


why alcohol is not the answer for our mood or 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. has information on things that can improve your mental health and help you to cope better, including ways to talk about your feelings.


Read more:

Building better mental health.

We also have advice on some common problems and ways to manage them without alcohol.



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