Recently, we’ve talked about how overindulging on festive food can impact on your mental health. Now, Dublin-based Ailish reminds us about the impact of alcohol and we suggest some ways to ensure booze doesn’t affect your mental wellbeing.
“The Christmas period can be associated with increased alcohol consumption. You might have wine at dinner, champagne at new years parties, drinks at Christmas parties, mulled wine etc. Once in a while, it’s okay to drink in moderation (check this with your GP if you are taking medication). However, excess alcohol consumption can worsen depression/anxiety symptoms such as low mood, lethargy, low self-esteem, physical symptoms of anxiety and rumination. It is best to be mindful of alcohol consumption and limit this.”
The impact of alcohol on mental health
Being a depressant, alcohol disrupts the brain patterns, which impacts the way we think, feel and act in the short term. In the long term, experts have identified decreases in both white and grey matter in the brain as a result of alcohol use.
According to Alcohol.org,
“Excessive alcohol use, even if not chronic, can lead to alcohol–induced psychiatric syndromes, such as alcohol-induced depressive disorder, alcohol-induced bipolar disorder, alcohol-induced sleep disorder, alcohol-induced psychotic disorder, and more.”
NHS Choices defines binge drinking as “drinking lots of alcohol in a short space of time”. For men, 8 units of alcohol is classed as binging. For women, 6 units, or around two large glasses of wine is an alcohol binge. At Christmas, many people have more alcohol in the house than usual and alcohol is often gifted, too. This can make binge drinking more tempting.
Alcohol & Christmas
Are you concerned about your alcohol intake over the upcoming festive period? Remember that you don’t have to drink alcohol at all.
If you’re planning on drinking, why not follow some of our tips below?
- Swap your sizes – Try swapping double measures of spirits for singles, pints for half-pints and only half filling your wine glass.
- Set a limit – If you know alcohol will be available, set yourself a limit in advance… Just be sure to stick to it!
- Have water breaks – If the drinks are flowing, order a soft drink between your alcoholic beverages. By the end of the night, you’ll have drunk less than your friends, without feeling like you’re missing out.