Why alcohol is making you anxious (and how to spot the signs)

Why alcohol is making you anxious (and how to spot the signs)

“Alcohol postpones anxiety and then multiples it’ Why alcohol makes you anxious.

If you’ve suspected alcohol is making you anxious – you’d be right. The link between alcohol and anxiety is undeniable. For so many people, it’s difficult to know what came first… Do we use alcohol to take the edge off feeling anxious? Or is alcohol making us anxious in the first place?

 

We use alcohol to cope with stress.

Studies show 1 in 5 women with anxiety report using alcohol to cope with stress and 20% of women diagnosed with an alcohol use disorder suffer from anxiety or a mood disorder. The link between women, alcohol and anxiety has never been stronger. Alcohol can exacerbate an existing anxiety disorder while untreated anxiety can lead women to use alcohol to “medicate” their symptoms.

 

Why we find ourselves in a vicious cycle.

We often think of self-care as a glass of wine to “relax”. Drinking allows us to “switch off” and stop feeling so tense. The bad news is the source of the tension doesn’t change, and alcohol makes those tense feelings worse the next day both due to poor sleep, an imbalance in our neuro transmitters and our body detoxifying and withdrawing from the alcohol. So our 3am promises to ‘never drink again’ are quickly forgotten at 5pm when we ‘need’ just one to ‘take the edge off’ . And on it goes. We are less able to cope with stress and we feel more exhausted and irritable. We end up in a vicious cycle of trying to take the edge off anxiety while actually adding to our anxiety with alcohol. We are feeding the problem.

 

Spot the signs alcohol may be triggering anxiety:

  • You wake up feeling more stressed than when you drank the night before to “take the edge off’.
  • Your ‘hangxiety’ is crippling. It takes you days to recover not just physically but emotionally and mentally from a hangover.
  • You are drinking more and more to numb your emotions and avoid uncomfortable feelings.
  • You wake at 3am unable to fall back to sleep with a racing heart, overactive mind and fear of how to cope with the day ahead.

 

Let’s talk about “hangxiety”… 

Ever woken up from a night of drinking with a plunging feeling of doom and shame? You feel physically panicked about what you may have said and your mind is racing. If you can’t remember parts of the night, you feel the deepest regret and self-loathing. This is sometimes referred to as “hangxiety” – a hangover of anxiety caused by alcohol. Some of us feel this so acutely the shame and anxiety makes us want to drink more in order to escape these feelings.

 

Why it might be time to take a break from drinking - for your mental health:

  1. You’ll sleep better. Alcohol interferes with sleep cycles and disrupts REM sleep – the deepest sleep stage. A lack of sleep can have a huge impact on your mood. Sleep 7 – 9 hours sleep every night and you’ll feel the enormous mental health benefits of quality sleep.
  2. Studies show drinking regularly makes it more difficult to cope with stress. Alcohol masks stress in the short-term but in the long run can make stress worse. Taking a break from alcohol forces you to face issues in a real way and process emotions properly.
  3. No hangovers. Bounding out of bed on a Sunday morning gives you extra time with loved ones. It gives you extra time to simply ENJOY your life feeling energised and vital. Your self-esteem is boosted along with your confidence.
  4. Your motivation, mental clarity and energy see a huge improvement which has a knock on effect on all areas of your life – work performance improves (which in turn boosts confidence), relationships improve (with partners, kids, friends, colleagues), you make goals and stick to them – which in turn boosts your self confidence and makes you start extending your goals and reaching higher, you make better food choices (no more 3am kebabs!) which can lead to weight loss and less bloating which again boosts confidence.

Alcohol free drinks provide the perfect solution to enjoying a great tasting drink with lower calories than a soft drink but without the alcohol content and subsequent anxiety. If you are new to trying alcohol free drinks, our mix packs are a brilliant place to start so you can try a range of products to see which you love most!

If you need help or advice on changing your relationship with alcohol, reach out to Sarah – www.sarahrusbatch.com