Alcohol, mental health and wellbeing

 

 

Introduction

 

Drinking alcohol is linked to both anxiety and depression. A recent British survey found that people suffering from anxiety or depression were twice as likely to be heavy or problem drinkers. Alcohol has also been linked to self-harm, suicide and psychosis.(1)

Apart from affecting your mental health, consuming alcohol also affects your memory and brain function. Soon after drinking alcohol, brain processes slow down. For example, the effect on men’s driving skills is measurable after the consumption of three to four units. At this level of consumption, alcohol is in the bloodstream at around 50mg per 100ml. Women can reach this same concentration by drinking just two or three units.

People often feel rough after a session of heavy drinking, feeling that their memory and thinking is impaired. It’s difficult to be sure whether this is a genuine effect, just part of the folklore about hangovers, or because there is still alcohol in the tissues the next day. Some people, even when they no longer have alcohol in the bloodstream, are probably slightly ‘slowed’ mentally the next day.(2)

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