Overcoming the need for alcohol to cope with anxiety
People with anxiety have used alcohol to lessen that anxiety. Having an alcoholic drink has been a great way to loose a few inhibitions, feel more sociable and just have more fun.
Alcohol effects brain chemicals like dopamine and serotonin in the brain, which lessen the effect of anxiety. But dealing with anxiety that way means that our brain expects the alcohol and the feel-good effect it brings and so dependency is then the issue
Dopamine and serotonin work in the part of our brain where neurotransmitters control feelings of pleasure and gratification by mimicing those neurotransmitters. The more that part of the brain is stimulated with, in this case alcohol, the more the brain craves it. It can then end up producing the anxiety that we might have been using alcohol to reduce in the first place.
If we and our brains become dependant on the alcohol, the serotonin or dopamine production decreases, then if the alcohol is not supplied regularly, the craving begins and one of the symptoms is anxiety.
So, a drink or two can be a good thing to reduce anxiety sometimes but not so great in the long-term. That kind of addiction to alcohol can develop in young people who find it helpful in coping with anxiety and nervousness.
Researchers at Australia’s National Drug and Alcohol Research Centre have released a therapeutic tool to help young people overcome that need for alcohol. called Inroads, it is a free internet-based program specifically for people between 17 and 24 which works via computer, phone or tablet device. You can find out more about the Inroads programme here.
Anxiety problems can be a major cause alcohol dependence so someone with anxiety can run the risk of developing an addiction over time. So seeking treatment to break that cycle of of dependance is important. At Retreat South, we can help you find a path away from that cycle. Call us today to talk about how you can create your own path. A path to recovery.