For years, alcohol has been an integral part of the American culture. People from all age groups, caste, and community consume alcohol ignoring its adverse effects on overall well-being. According to the 2015 National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH), approximately 139 million Americans aged 12 and above reported use of alcohol while nearly 15 million adults aged 18 and older were diagnosed with alcohol use disorder (AUD).
While alcohol consumption is dangerous to one’s physical health, studies have proved that it can lead to a number of mental illnesses.
- Alcohol and depression share a causal relationship. Excessive consumption of alcohol affects the brain’s chemistry, which increases the risk of depression; a depressed individual is very likely to drink more alcohol to relieve stress and feel better.
- Alcohol consumption gradually slows down the brain processes, which, in turn, leads to memory loss.
- Gulping down multiple drinks of alcohol can induce anxiety or worsen its symptoms. This is because of the changes in the neurotransmitters, such as serotonin, which is responsible for maintaining good mental health. Once the feel-good effects of alcohol wear off, a person becomes anxious and irritable.
Alcohol dependence can even result in suicidal thoughts and attempts. Remember that there is nothing like ‘safe’ drinking. Co-occurrence of mental disorders alongside alcohol addiction behavior can worsen the situation. Therefore, seeking medical help is important to treat the problem and improve the quality of life.