Helping you get through tough times

Alcohol and mental health

Awareness of mental health issues is becoming normal in Ireland and looking after our mental health is a day-to-day topic.Pints of beer on a table, with a man gesticulating in the background.

As alcohol can be such a big part of socialising here, we’ve looked at how it can affect our mental health.

Relaxing but depressing

Research shows alcohol is a depressant. It initially makes us feel more relaxed, but the next day you can feel worse then you did before. This can intensify depression and feed negative ways of thinking.

For anyone suffering from a mental health problem, increasing the risk of feeling unhappy can be dangerous, whether or not they’re on medication.

Having one-too-many drinks can also result in memory loss and regrettable behaviour. For anyone suffering from anxiety or self-esteem issues, having the ‘fear’ can be harder to deal with.

Socialising is important

Friendships are an important part of minding our mental health. Going out can be a welcome release and as socialising often revolves around drinking it can be hard to think about alternative ways to let off steam.

You don’t have to skip nights out. It’s just important to know your own pace and limit, and to try and vary what you do to relax.

Drinking when taking medication

Some people choose to take medication such anti-depressants as part of their treatment. Taking it is extremely personal and is specific to each person’s individual needs. For some people it’s not necessary, but for others it can be hugely beneficial.

Whether or not drinking will have an adverse affect if you’re on medication will largely depend on what you’re taking. Sometimes it’s fine as long as you’re taking your medication properly and are minding how much you drink, but mixing some medicine with alcohol can be quite dangerous.

The only way to be sure it’s OK and that alcohol won’t interact with your medication is to confirm it with your doctor.

Hard to resist

It can be hard then to resist having a drink, especially if all your friends are and they just want you to join in. But if you’ve made positive steps towards managing your mental health why would you want to undo all that work?

Managing peer pressure to drink isn’t necessarily easy and it affects people in all age groups, but it’s a skill that can be learned. What it should all boil down to really is you knowing how much you want to drink. Once you know this it can be easier to make decisions that suit you and your health.

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