Since they’re so obvious, most people know the physical effects that alcohol could have on the body such as stumbling, slurring words, and loss of coordination. The psychological effects of alcohol, however, could be more difficult to identify since they are under the surface and usually develop over time the more someone drinks.
Psychological effects of alcohol could potentially be even more dangerous than the physical symptoms, so it’s important to acknowledge and treat psychological effects as soon as possible. So how can you actually tell if you or someone you know is experiencing or has experienced psychological effects of alcohol?
Alcohol and Mental Health
People drink at social gatherings, parties, and other events to feel more talkative, to loosen up, and to relax. After all, intoxication allows people to do and say things they normally wouldn’t. Alcohol works by changing the way brain cells signal to each other, so it can quickly make people feel more calm and less stressed.
Individuals with depression and anxiety may also choose to drink in order to ease their symptoms and momentarily distract them. However, alcohol could worsen one’s mental health.
Psychological Effects of Alcohol
While using alcohol to self-medicate might help for a short period of time, it won’t help for long. In fact, it could make someone’s mental health substantially worse. Over time, the feelings of bliss and calm wear off and can intensify symptoms of mental illnesses like anxiety and depression. These mental illnesses can either worsen over time as someone drinks alcohol or become more evident when individuals binge drink, or drink excessively in a short period of time.
Drinking alcohol can also have an impact on a person’s self esteem and social relationships, which could also affect their mental health and any disorders they may have. If someone drinks to improve their social interactions, they may eventually begin to rely on drinking to maintain relationships. This can be extremely unhealthy and can lead to dependence or alcohol abuse.
More Symptoms and Risks of Alcohol Use
The biggest risk of drinking is alcohol dependence. When someone becomes dependent on alcohol, they are likely to experience withdrawal if they don’t use it for a certain period of time. Symptoms of alcohol withdrawal may include shaky hands, sweating, hallucinations, and trouble sleeping. Additionally, withdrawal can also trigger or worsen anxiety and depression.
The longer someone drinks alcohol excessively, the more likely they are to display signs like irritability and social withdrawal. If you notice these signs in someone you love, it’s imperative to seek help for them as soon as possible. If alcohol abuse is not treated, it may lead to long-term risks like liver disease, heart disease, stroke, breast cancer, bowel cancer, mouth cancer, pancreatitis, trouble with thinking logically, and brain damage.
Managing and Treating Symptoms of Alcohol Use
Many of the physical and psychological symptoms of alcohol use require some sort of medical attention. Enrolling in an inpatient or outpatient program can help individuals to detox comfortably and develop the tools they need to stop drinking and manage their mental health.
If you’re interested in learning more about the psychological effects of alcohol and how treatment can help, contact our team of mental health experts by giving us a call at 267.719.8689.