It is known that sometimes we all enjoy a glass of wine or two to wind down when we're feeling stressed or anxious. It seems as if it helps us in the short-term. There have been many studies proving that alcohol actually does the opposite of calming us down and it can actually increase anxiety.
Alcohol is a depressant.
Alcohol lowers your levels of serotonin, which is our hormone that makes us feel happiness. Serotonin also calms us so low levels of it are associated with increased anxiety.
Once you start drinking it will be hard to stop.
Over time, having one drink won't be enough to calm your anxiety. You'll find yourself having to drink more and more to lose social anxiety. Your body will build up a tolerance to alcohol and it will become less effective in making you feel at ease. Also, the more often you drink, the faster this tolerance will build.
It can worsen your memory.
We have all woken up from a night of drinking and not remembered what happened the night before. If you're already an anxious person, this will do nothing but make you even more anxious. The thought of not knowing what you did, or if you should be embarrassed can cause a lot of anxiety.
It affects your sleep.
Alcohol also disrupts your sleep pattern, which can affect your mood as well as your energy levels, as a result, you’re more susceptible to anxious feelings and can’t cope with day-to-day life as easily.
A study also found that using alcohol to help you sleep is incredibly harmful to your sleep cycle.
When we're experiencing symptoms such as a dizziness, shaking or sweating during a hangover, it can trigger anxiety because these symptoms feel very similar to anxiety itself. Dehydration will also add to that sense of feeling unwell.
You're at greater risk of developing an alcohol dependency.
When you drink to feel better, it can easily spiral into a constant cycle of when you get a hangover, you drink more to feel and so on.
You might feel as if you can't relax and unwind after work without half a bottle of wine, or that you can't face a work party without several drinks to calm your nerves. As your tolerance increases and you find yourself needing to drink more for the same effect, you could be doing your body more harm.
There is nothing wrong with enjoying alcohol from time to time, but alcohol should never be used for self-medicating. Next time when you think to reach for the wine bottle when you need to calm down, remember it will only make things worse in the long-run and try something new.