Reducing harm caused by alcohol

Alcohol and mental health

Drinking too much can be both a cause and symptom of mental health problems.

Many people drink alcohol to relax and combat feelings of stress but the negative effects of alcohol are actually likely to make stress worse.

Using alcohol to cope with emotions or regulate mood can cause problems because alcohol is a depressant. Drinking a lot dulls the 'feel good' systems in the brain so more alcohol is needed to achieve the same effects. In the long run, drinking can reduce mental wellbeing and contribute to feelings of anxiety and depression, rather than relieving them. Drinking too much can become a harmful coping mechanism.

When someone is drinking too much, their relationships, work and finances can suffer. This can further contribute to feelings of anxiety and depression.

Heavy drinking can lead to impulsive, irrational behaviour. There are strong links between alcohol misuse, self-harming behaviour, suicidal thoughts and completed suicides.

Find an alcohol service to help you or someone you care about.