If you’ve ever wondered if alcohol consumption can help reduce your stress, the answer is yes and no, but mostly no. Alcohol is a sedative which affects your nervous system, so at first and in limited amounts, drinking alcohol can improve your mood, make you feel more relaxed and more confident and reduce your anxiety. So, a beer or a glass of wine once in a while after a stressful day of work is not necessarily a bad thing.
However, alcohol changes the levels of neurotransmitters in your brain. You also build up a tolerance to the “good” effects of alcohol after time. So, drinking alcohol heavily or over a long period of time can actually worsen your mood, make you less confident and increase your worries. This can last for a few hours up to an entire day after drinking.
There are other things to watch out for with alcohol. Some people are anxious in social situations. When social drinking is used to mask that anxiety…you guessed it…over time drinking will no longer make you feel more confident in social situations, making you even more anxious than before.
Heavy drinking over a long period can also lead to physical problems, such as brain and liver damage. You can just imagine how much anxiety those two physical conditions can cause.
There are many signs that may indicate that alcohol has become a problem. Some include drinking five or more alcoholic beverages per day, drinking heavily several times a week, not being able to stop drinking and drinking in every social situation.