Did you know that anxiety has a direct connection to your central nervous system? That’s why anxiety naturally increases your heart rate, breathing and blood flow. But anxiety and alcohol are more connected than you think. In fact, people with an anxiety disorder are three times as likely to abuse alcohol.
Since alcohol is a depressant, it can offer a calming sensation for people’s anxiety. While this might sound like a good thing, there’s a price that comes with using alcohol to cope with anxiety.
The Risk of Using Alcohol to Cope with Anxiety
Unfortunately, alcohol can actually worsen your anxiety. When you drink alcohol, your brain releases a burst of serotonin, the chemical in the brain tied to pleasure. But once the alcohol wears off, the neurotransmitters in your brain have a hard time adjusting. The result is feeling more anxious than you felt in the first place.
It’s called alcohol-induced anxiety, and it can last for a few hours. While drinking might seem like an easy way to cope with your anxiety, you’re only delaying your anxiety symptoms. And once the anxiety comes back, it’s usually more intense than before you started drinking. In fact, people who drink heavily over a long period of time can develop an anxiety disorder.
Why Does Alcohol Make Your Anxiety Worse?
Drinking can give you a brief moment of relief for anxiety, but it’s not a permanent solution. Since it does make you feel better in the short-term, you may have a hard time believing that alcohol makes anxiety worse. But take a look at some of the top reasons why this is actually the case:
- Drinking alcohol affects your sleep: Alcohol abuse can significantly disrupt your sleep patterns. When you miss out on sleep, you’re at a higher risk for anxiety. Plus, being tired can put extra stress on you throughout the day, increasing your anxiety.
- Alcohol lowers your serotonin levels: Alcohol raises your serotonin at first, but drinking more and more over time lowers those neurotransmitter levels. Low serotonin levels put you at risk for depression, which can fuel your anxiety.
- Hangovers can cause panic attacks: When you’re hung over, your body goes through dehydration, nausea and rapid heartbeat. The combination of these symptoms can trigger panic attacks.
Alcohol Isn’t a Substitute for Treatment
Pouring yourself a drink after a long, stressful day isn’t the answer. If you’re struggling with an anxiety disorder, it’s important to remember that drinking isn’t treatment. Anxiety treatment that offers lasting results involves working with mental health experts to uncover the root cause of your feelings.
That’s why treatment centers like The Raleigh House offer dual diagnosis treatment. If you’re suffering from an alcohol addiction and an anxiety disorder, both can be treated at the same time by experts.
You Can Break Free from Anxiety and Alcohol Addiction
The Raleigh House is a premier addiction treatment center in Denver. We use an evidence-based approach and are known for our expertise in dual diagnosis treatment. For over 10 years, we’ve helped clients overcome their addiction and mental health disorders. We know how challenging it can be to struggle with an addiction and anxiety, but there’s still hope for a brighter future.
You have the power to make a positive change in your life. Contact our expert team today to learn more about how we can help you heal.