Alcohol and its impact mental health

This topic this Eatwell Wednesday is alcohol and its impact mental health

Ah November, the month of the moustache according to the Movember Campaign – which supports men’s health. It also happens this week to be Alcohol Awareness Week. I know! All at the same time?! But the two topics definitely overlap. We don’t know whether alcohol increases risk of prostate or testicular cancer but there are definite links between alcohol consumption and risk of mental health issues.

Alcohol misuse is a known factor for increased risk of suicide. 75% of people who commit suicide in the UK are men. Alcohol itself is a depressant so a singular drinking session may lead to feelings of anger and aggression, anxiety or depression. But in the long-term it is also more likely heavy drinkers will experience anxiety or depression.

Here are some ideas to help you keep within safer limits of alcohol intake:

  • Track what you’re drinking and get support from apps like One You Drink Free Days and Drink Aware
  • Use other ways to relax instead of reaching for that glass of vino or bottle of beer. Take the dog for a walk, that hobby project you’ve been meaning to finish, computer games, a crossword, a mindfulness app, a game of footy with friends.
  • Reduce availability – you can’t drink what you don’t have!
  • Gradually reduce down what you drink to help make the changes stick (particularly if current levels are very high – in this instance seek medical support)

If you are a social drinker:

  • Invite friends out to an activity that isn’t likely to involve drinking (some ideas include exercise, watching a movie, shopping, and escape rooms – they’re great fun!)
  • Use non-alcoholic chasers between alcohol beverages to reduce amount you drink on one occasion
  • Ask your friends and family for support. It might be they want to cut back too. It’s always nice to have a little help from our friends.

For more information on alcohol and its impact on mental health take a look at:

There is also a handy self-assessment tool to work out whether you are staying within safer limits with how much you normally drink.

Posted in Diabetes, Eat Well Wednesday.

Last updated: January 17, 2019