Alcohol and Anxiety
But, speaking from personal experience, when you are feeling anxious, alcohol can make it A LOT worse.
Where does this feeling come from?
Having a drink from time to time can be fun. But feeling like you have to drink to have a good time is no fun at all! It’s important to examine the reasons why you are drinking. Are you drinking to feel more confident? Are you drinking because you feel you won’t have a good time without it? If you feel you need to drink to be social, it can become a problem.
Is my drinking problematic?
While a drink here and there to take the edge off can seem harmless, it is a sign of and/or can lead to a bigger problem. Drinking can make your anxiety worse. It may feel like it helps in the short-term, but the next day when the drink has worn off, we can feel much more anxious. Which can lead to an unhealthy cycle. The FEAR is no fun at all, but for someone who is already anxious, it can be much harder.
You are already fun!
I know this might sound cliché, but take this from a fellow confidence struggler: Alcohol doesn’t change who you are! That fun, social version of you is already inside you! You are a worthy person who is funny, and people love to be around you. It’s easier said than done but try to recognise that you do not NEED alcohol to be chatty or funny or for people to like you. If you’re capable of being a cool, fun and loving person when you’re slightly intoxicated, you are probably like that anyway. So, next time you think “I need a drink to have a conversation” – challenge that thought. Maybe you just need to be yourself.
Working on your confidence…
I know there are so many articles online, about improving self-esteem and confidence (like, it’s sooo easy to just follow these “tips” and bam I’m confident now!). But hear me out, your confidence and self-esteem is something that can be worked on! It can be a long process and have ups and downs, but it will be worth it! Challenging negative self-talk and learning about common thinking errors is a great place to start. These articles on self-esteem and confidence have some great advice to start the process.
If you are feeling anxious to the point where you feel like you have to drink in order to have fun, then your anxiety could be affecting your life in a negative way. Addressing it now can give you the tools and support so it doesn’t become a big problem in other areas of your life! These articles explain all about the different types of anxiety – and here are some articles about getting support. Remember: if you are struggling with negative thoughts you don’t have to wait until you hit rock bottom to talk to someone. You deserve to feel good about yourself now!
This blog was written for ReachOut.com by our Youth Editorial Board member Martyna Maselsky.