Why Alcohol Can Make You Feel More Depressed and Anxious

Have you ever noticed when you have had one too many drinks the night before and you wake up with that horrible feeling of anxiety that washes over you?  There is actually a name for this – “Hangxiety” !!!!!

I have never been a big drinker myself and also being half Vietnamese, I fell into the bracket of people that experience Asian flush.  This is a condition where you develop flushes or blotches on your face and neck.  It is due to a deficiency of a liver enzyme called ALDH2.

Having experienced “hangxiety” on a few occasions, lead me to make the decision to pretty much give up alcohol.   I may have the odd glass on special occasions but those days of going out with friends when I was younger and drinking one too many are now a distant memory!  I figured, it just wasn’t worth that anxious feeling the next morning or the blotchy face for that matter!!!!  This was just a personal decision for me, and I am not suggesting others give up alcohol.  However, it is helpful to understand what happens in our brain when we drink. People that are already prone to suffering with anxiety and depression, are more likely to suffer the negative effects of alcohol.

When we drink alcohol the brain’s reward system is flooded with dopamine.  While it may initially provide a temporary sense of relaxation or euphoria, alcohol can ultimately exacerbate feelings of sadness, anxiety, or depression. When alcohol is consumed in large amounts over extended periods of time, dopamine levels start to plummet.   Your brain will be looking to regain that buzz and will overcompensate by encouraging you to drink more to feel better. While drinking alcohol initially boosts dopamine levels, the brain adapts to the dopamine overload, so with continued use, your brain will start to produce less dopamine.

It takes up to 72 hours for alcohol to leave your body and in that time you may experience low mood and anxiety as your brain and body are trying to get back into balance. Therefore, alcohol addiction can create a complex imbalance of dopamine in the brain.

Alcohol can also disrupt normal sleep patterns, which can have a significant impact on mental health. Poor sleep can lead to irritability, anxiety, and depression, as well as fatigue and lack of concentration.

As mentioned earlier, individuals who already struggle with depression or anxiety may be more vulnerable to the negative effects of alcohol on mood and mental health. If you’re struggling with anxiety or depression, it’s important to seek help from a mental health professional and to avoid using alcohol as a way to cope with negative emotions.

Please contact me to find out more how hypnotherapy can help you overcome these issues.