Affects of alcohol on body and mindEdit
A study constructed by the Mental Health Foundation concludes that:
- people who drink heavily are more likely to suffer from mental illness
- Alcohol can provoke both depression and intensify existing mental problems
- Poll of 1,000 people found that nearly 8 in 10 who drink says it makes them feel relaxed, while others said to feel ‘happy’, more confident, less anxious or less depressed.
Anxiety and depression
Although alcohol temporarily relieves negative thoughts and feelings and helps ‘cope’ with life and stress, heavy drinking can magnify problems and make life more different over the long term.
- People in distress that turn to alcohol become dependent & that worsen symptoms
- Increased alcohol use changes the phycology of the brain and reduces its ability to deal with anxiety naturally
- Need to drink more to regulate mood to feel less depressed and to deal with anxiety as brain now fails to do so
- Heavy drinking has also been linked to suicide.
Suicide, self-harm and psychosis
- Up to 2/3 of suicide in UK are linked to excessive drinking.
- 70% of successful male suicides are alcohol related, according to the M.H.F
- 62% male and 50% consumed alcohol immediately before or while self-harming.
Drinking alcohol reduces your inhibitions and increases your impulse, and can cause extreme behaviour, including self-harm and suicide. Drinking more than 30 units per day for several weeks can cause psychosis, a severe mental illness where hallucinations and delusions or persecutions develop. These alcohol withdrawal symptoms are very dangerous when left untreated, with 5% leading to mortality.
Memory and brain
Alcohol can damage your brain and memory functions. Memory can be impaired after only a few drinks and brain processes slow down
- Large quantities of alcohol leads to short term memory failure ‘blackouts’
- Drinking heavily over a long period of time can also have a long-term effect on memory
- Old memories become hard to recall.
Why the concern about young drinkers?
Because the brain is still developing until the age of 18 or 19. People who start drinking at the age of 12 or 15 are more at risk of mental impairment.
Advice on mental health
- Visit your GP
- Call the Drinkline: 0800 917 8282, free confidential helpline.
*IMPORTANT NOTE: Heavy drinkers might suffer alcohol withdrawal symptoms, you should NEVER stop drinking suddenly. Instead, cut down a little and get immediate medical advice.
What alcohol can do to you! Edit
Jim is 55 years old. He used to visit his local pub most days to meet up with his mates. He had two to three pints at lunch and a couple of drinks in the evening (roughly 60 units of alcohol a week). Recently, over the course of a few weeks he noticed his abdomen had become swollen and tight. After tests, it was discovered that this was due to the build up of fluid (ascites), caused by cirrhosis of the liver. Jim took his doctor’s advice and has stopped drinking completely. After six months the fluid has gone and he is now feeling well and fitter, even though his liver will never fully recover. If he had continued drinking even a small amount, things could have been worse. Half of people with ascites die within two years of diagnosis.
By Britishlivertrust.org.uk 'Henry’s story '
Henry is 35. He started drinking heavily with the Rugby Club at University and continued to see his friends at the pub where he drank up to five pints of strong lager three times a week (45 units of alcohol a week). Henry went on a ‘bender’ with friends abroad, drinking day and night for nearly a week. Afterwards he didn’t feel good and his friends noticed he looked a bit yellow. Henry’s doctor admitted him to hospital at once where he was treated for severe alcoholic hepatitis. Despite attempts to save him, Henry was among the one in 10 people who die despite treatment