People drink alcohol for myriad reasons: to socialize, celebrate, commiserate, or numb uncomfortable emotions. We might drink to feel confident, relaxed, or at peace. As the buzz wears off, we might be left feeling shame, guilt, or physically depleted after excessive alcohol consumption. Whatever the reason, the positive effects of alcohol are temporary and the negative effects can really linger.
While many people consume alcohol to relax, relieve anxiety, or manage depression, using alcohol to mitigate mental health issues can be problematic and dangerous.
Alcohol is a depressant. It disrupts the equilibrium of your brain’s neurotransmitters, impacting your thoughts, feelings, and behavior. After a few drinks, you may feel happier and more confident, but these effects are never permanent. The changes in your brain chemistry can quickly shift from elation to depression, anger, aggression, or anxiety.
In the short term, alcohol dependency can cause sleep disturbances, migraines, bloating, and stomach problems. Long-term alcohol abuse reduces the number of neurotransmitters in the brain and increases the risk of severe health problems, including high blood pressure, heart disease, cancer, and liver disease.
Perhaps you have heard how alcohol destroys relationships. Alcohol abuse may cause you to behave aggressively or recklessly, have an accident, or fall victim to a violent act. Frequent alcohol consumption to manage anxiety or depression can lead to alcohol-induced mental disorders.
The mental and emotional effects of alcohol augment over time. The latest research indicates that people who consume alcohol in excess are prone to developing mental health issues. Conversely, people with mental health issues are more likely to “self-medicate” with alcohol to cope with uncomfortable emotions or impulses.
The dual diagnosis of alcohol abuse and mental health conditions is called comorbidity. While a patient may receive a diagnosis for a psychiatric disorder and addiction, they seldom receive specialized treatment for substance abuse.
If you believe you have a problem with alcohol, you are not alone. Social support from like-minded people provides a sense of comfort and community in a non-judgmental setting. Other benefits include:
Being a part of a community helps people feel less alone
Provides encouragement and inspiration through the sharing of success stories
Helps mitigate depression and anxiety
People helping people offers a sense of purpose and satisfaction
KDM Counseling Group founded C3 so that our clients could be a part of a community that provides support, encouragement, and educational resources for coping with mental health and substance abuse. C3 is a non-judgmental community of diverse individuals who support, challenge, and inspire one another to question their relationship with alcohol by providing practical help, resources, encouragement, and empathy. We believe there’s nothing more unstoppable than when people come together with a common goal, open heart, and supportive understanding.
We provide a private Facebook group designed for people who want to cut down on their drinking, stop for a while, or quit altogether. We host a monthly “C3 Connect” meeting at The Gracen Building to create conversations and connections for achieving a fabulous life – sans booze. Asides from connection, the meetings offer psychoeducation on substance abuse, practical help, resources, encouragement, and empathy from people with shared experiences. And mocktails!
KDM Counseling Group provides a safe, compassionate and therapeutic environment for individuals and couples to work on issues and set goals in St. Petersburg, Florida.
“Deep human connection is the purpose and the result of a meaningful life – and it will inspire the most amazing acts of love, generosity, and humanity.” -Melinda Gates