Cutting Back on Alcohol Improves Anxiety, Depression


cutting back on alcohol

Cutting Back on Alcohol Improves Anxiety, Depression

Monday, February 20th, 2023

Since alcohol is easy to find, socially acceptable and marketed as a way to relax and have fun, you may see nothing wrong with having a few beers at happy hour or a glass of wine with dinner. However, all those TV commercials and movie depictions overlook the fact that alcohol is an addictive drug that causes mental and physical health issues.

While alcohol acts like a stimulant – lowering inhibitions and helping people feel more relaxed – it’s a depressant. Even moderate alcohol consumption can cause or worsen mood and sleep disorders. Drinking can also lead to cognitive problems like trouble concentrating and memory loss. Alcohol slows down your central nervous system, impairing judgment and causing slowed reaction times, which can lead to accidents, serious injury and even death.

Alcohol’s Effects on Mental Health

People who use alcohol to manage the symptoms of a mental illness like anxiety or depression must understand how drinking can make them feel worse in the long run. Frequent alcohol use changes the brain’s reward pathways, making it increasingly hard to derive enjoyment from any other source. For those who try to cut back or quit, unpleasant withdrawal symptoms might make them even more anxious or depressed.

When alcohol use disorder overlaps with a mental illness like anxiety or depression, health professionals call it a dual diagnosis. The two conditions evolve together until they are so intertwined that it’s nearly impossible to tell which came first. Successful recovery requires treating both conditions simultaneously.

Alcohol Use and Sleep Disorders

Alcohol has a calming effect because it targets the GABA receptors in the brain. While it can make people feel drowsy, it also wears off quickly. Insomniacs who drink to help them fall asleep may find themselves awake and alert in the middle of the night. They may also snore and repeatedly stop breathing, which can cause them to wake up feeling groggy.

Consuming alcohol before bed disrupts the sleep cycle – especially in the latter half of the night. People with severe alcohol use disorders may experience disruptions such as taking longer to fall asleep, waking up more often and struggling through daytime fatigue. Sometimes, if a person develops a physical dependence, withdrawal symptoms can wake them up in the night when their body asks for more alcohol.

Therapeutic Consulting in Miami

Often, those who habitually drink to excess don’t realize how much their lives will improve when they stop. They will enjoy more restful, high-quality sleep, wake up feeling alert and have a more balanced mood every day. It will be easier for them to concentrate on their tasks at school or work. Quitting alcohol allows the brain and body to heal and start reversing some of the damage, but it’s challenging to do alone.  When you need help healing your family from illnesses like addiction and depression, trust R&A Therapeutic Partners to lead you on your journey. We take our role seriously, creating a robust therapeutic alliance with our clients. 

Raymond Estefania and Ana Moreno are certified therapists, licensed mental health counselors and addiction professionals with more than 35 years of combined experience in providing effective treatment. We have helped many families just like yours restore their well-being. Contact us to learn more about how we can rebuild your life.

At R&A Therapeutic Partners Raymond Estefania and Ana Moreno specialize in substance use and mental health disorder evaluations, treatment, intervention and therapeutic/educational consulting for clients throughout the greater South Florida area, as well as nationally and internationally. For more resources and information please visit Therapeutic-Partners.com or on Facebook.

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