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Part 1: The Link Between Stress and Alcoholism

A businessman stresses out about his job.
People turn to alcohol to feel good, but the opposite often ends up happening.

Reading Time: 3 minutes
 
“I’ll have a drink to take the edge off.”

You hear people say that all the time, because it’s true, right? With that first sip of beer or wine or spirits, you can almost hear your brain breathe a sigh of relief. The wheels slow down. You relax.

So it’s tempting to think that, as long as you can control your drinking, it’s an effective way of relieving anxiety and stress.

But the reality is, in the long run, alcohol can make anxiety worse.

Alcohol and Stress

Alcohol can cause stress and anxiety in your life in two different ways.

First of all, many people feel guilty or worried after a night of heavy drinking, maybe even wondering what they may have said or done.

Secondly, it’s a simple fact that, over time, alcohol abuse changes the way the brain works. That’s why alcoholics need to drink more to feel the same effect. And it’s also why alcoholics who have given up alcohol can feel blue, unmotivated and anxious in the first few weeks of rehab.

And you don’t have to be an alcoholic for alcohol to affect your brain negatively. Daily, heavy drinking can also affect the way the brain functions. Because your body is being flooded with alcohol on a regular basis, it begins to cut back on its own production of natural feel-good chemicals.

The result? You start to need alcohol to feel relaxed and good.

Does Alcohol Relieve Stress and Anxiety?

In the long term, the answer is a resounding no. Most of us have too many examples of people we know whose lives have been destroyed by addiction, but even the wealthy and famous are vulnerable to the power of alcohol to cause far more bad feelings than good.

There’s the sad story of Tim Bergling, the DJ known as Avici. He struggled with alcohol openly for years, before passing away last month. His family released a statement saying that he “could not go on any longer” and “wanted to find peace.”

Then there’s Verne Troyer, who was best known for playing Mini-Me in the “Austin Powers” comedies. Troyer, who was born with the genetic disorder known as achondroplasia dwarfism, had openly battled alcohol as well before passing away last month. His death notice read that, “Depression and suicide are very serious issues. You never know what kind of battle someone is going through inside.”

We can’t know, of course, exactly what those men went through, but what we do know is that alcohol abuse doesn’t solve problems. And that it can, tragically, make things much, much worse.

Alcohol Addiction Treatment in Denver

At The Raleigh House, we take a whole-person approach to recovery. That means we don’t just get the alcohol out of your system. We work with you to help you recover psychologically, mentally, spiritually and socially, as well. Rehab isn’t just about giving something up; it’s about getting your life back. Fill out our form or contact us today to learn more about the alcohol addiction treatment program at The Raleigh House.

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Part 2: Dealing with Stress—Why Some People Handle it Better than Others

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