Why alcohol isn’t the answer to your anxiety…and what is!

We know how it is, you may have a big day of work ahead tomorrow and be incredibly anxious about it, so a glass of wine might try to take the edge off. Equally, you may hate social situations and have a tipple or two as a bit of dutch courage.

Whatever the reason may be, many people turn to alcohol to put the anxieties they may have to bed for a while. But is it actually effective? Or is it the worst thing you can possibly do?

In the initial stages, many people of course feel better after a glass or two of alcohol to de-stress, it’s the reason millions of people worldwide do it. However, it’s only a quick and rather deceptive fix.

Alcohol affects the chemicals in the brain, effectively slowing down how it functions and changes certain behaviours. While in the short term you may feel that euphoria, in the longer, more negative feelings can take over. 

It’s also easy for that to become a habit too, with many people suffering from alcohol addiction after beginning to drink to squash anxieties. That one drink then turns into two, three, four and all of a sudden there is more to worry about than what’s going on in work or wherever your anxiety comes from.

Using alcohol to calm anxiety simply doesn’t work. Particularly when the hangover kicks in the following day. Alcohol alters perceptions and may lead to paranoia, which can cause higher levels of anxiety than when you were sober.

The next day, “beer fear” or “hangxiety” will also kick in. Alcohol is a depressant and following the consumption of it in substantial quantities that fear or anxiety you had will only be multiplied. Alcohol can also lead to a poorer sleeping pattern, tiredness and further anxieties about other things, which will effectively leave you in a worse place than where you started.

Instead, there are many alcohol-free ways to try and manage your anxiety. Among the most popular include:

  • Exercise
  • Yoga and meditation
  • Cooking
  • Arts and crafts
  • Bathing with essential oils
  • Music

Or any other hobbies where you particularly find a source of comfort (aside from perhaps going to the pub!). By stimulating your brain in these ways, you’ll not only calm your anxieties, but don’t have to worry about feeling worse in the morning or potentially putting yourself at risk from addiction either!

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