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Alcohol May Increase Risk of Developing Anxiety Disorder
“Alcohol and Anxiety: How Drinking Alcohol Causes Anxiety”: Reflections
For some, use of alcohol may be linked to efforts to manage or cope with distress, including experiences of anxiety. However, while alcohol may provide temporary relief from specific symptoms, persistent use of alcohol may impact the body in ways that increase the risk of developing an anxiety disorder. A sports talk radio station in Atlanta, “Xtra 106.3FM” recently covered a story on the impacts of alcohol on anxiety.
They sourced their story from an article, “Alcohol and Anxiety: How Drinking Alcohol Causes Anxiety,” written by the Indiana Center for Recovery. It mentions Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) as an important component of their recovery program. They also highlight the importance of psychoeducation and prevention programs to decrease the prevalence of alcohol use problems.
As the authors describe, anxiety may stem from genetic or environmental factors and is characterized by symptoms including (but not limited to) restlessness, irritability, somatic symptoms including shakiness or sweating, and elevated fear or worry that may lead to panic. While alcohol is sometimes used in effort to help manage experiences of distress including anxiety, it may lead to adverse consequences to overall physical and emotional well-being.
The authors highlight that alcohol use can have strong impacts on mental health. For example, it has been demonstrated that alcohol use may lead to increases in hormones such as cortisol and adrenaline and decreases in neurotransmitters like gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA), all of which may lead to reduced ability to regulate one’s anxiety and stress levels.
It may be challenging to reduce or stop using alcohol. It can also be dangerous to do so without medical guidance and therapeutic support. It is important that people seek out the proper care, and it is great to see Cognitive Behavioral Therapy being promoted and discussed by the media in this way. For local addiction specialists you can use our “Get Help” feature to find providers with experience in this area.
Article written by Dominique Legros, MA
Edited by Nicholas Crimarco, PhD