It’s not surprising that alcohol and mental health conditions, such as anxiety, are closely linked. The two are often intertwined in a complex relationship that can be difficult to untangle—and it's important to understand how alcohol and anxiety interact so we can make better decisions about our own well-being.
Seasonality of Anxiety and Drinking Alcohol
Every winter brings unique challenges for those suffering from mental health issues, particularly seasonal depression and anxiety. The lack of sunlight, colder temperatures, more time spent indoors, and holiday stress can only exacerbate these difficulties.
Additionally, during the colder winter months, it’s common for people to drink more alcohol than usual. While this may seem harmless and often socially accepted, there are serious consequences associated with increased consumption of alcohol in the colder months.
How Alcohol Increases Anxiety Symptoms
While alcohol can at first seem to decrease anxiety, its effects begin to change as more drinks are consumed. Instead of reducing tension, alcohol causes the body to produce greater levels of anxiety hormones such as cortisol and adrenaline. This increased production of these hormones can create a feeling of amped-up alertness and restlessness, causing users to become increasingly anxious. Furthermore, drinking too much can lead to extremely uncomfortable physical symptoms, including headaches, dizziness, nausea, and stomach pains which only add to the feeling of nervousness.
Tips for Managing Your Anxiety Without Alcohol
While many people drink alcohol to take the edge off, the above information makes it clear that doing so can actually make anxiety worse. Instead of drinking to relax, try:
- Calming techniques such as meditation, yoga, or deep breathing
- Doing something restful that you enjoy such as watching a favorite TV show
- Reducing stimulants such as caffeine
- Combatting anxiety hormones directly through exercise and movement
Mount Sinai Wellness Center Is Here to Help You on Your Journey to Sobriety
If you are struggling with alcohol or drug addiction, contact our team at Mount Sinai Wellness Center. We offer comprehensive treatment on a beautiful campus in Georgia. Reach out today to learn more about how we can help you on your journey to a happy, healthy, sober life.