Many people believe alcohol is a stimulant and is a 'social lubricant'. A good way of relaxing and freeing yourself from shyness and being more able to socially communicate and interact with new potential friends or romantic partners.
However, as we have already seen, alcohol is both a poison and a drug. In this section we will learn how alcohol affects you emotionally and socially, causing you to become dependent and reliant on its effects.
Unless you deal with the underlying causes of your emotional and social impairment e.g. low self-esteem, a stressful job, feeling of social awkwardness, and anxiety in social situations, you will have an additional problem to deal with, i.e. the serious effects of alcohol rather than just the issue at hand. And it can also exacerbate these negative emotional feelings and magnify them.
So, if you are in a good emotional state and then drink you are more likely to be able to moderate your drinking. If you are using alcohol to change your emotional state then excess is a likely possibility as well as frequently drinking in order to get back to the change in emotional state.
Emotional Effects: The most recognised form of emotional effect of drinking alcohol is the reduction of inhibitions you feel upon drinking. This is because of its role as a depressant. This means that alcohol starts to change how you act and speak, and it is these behaviours that cause problems for you emotionally and socially.
Drunken people can put both themselves and others in danger through aggressive or inappropriate behaviour. The lack of awareness can put drunken people in danger of physical and sexual violence. In the US, UK and Canada, researchers found that most domestic violence incidents (spouse and child abuse) occur when the perpetrator has been drinking excessively.
Excessive drinking also affects chemical balances within the brain. Such as the production of serotonin, which regulates moods. So depressive feelings, insomnia, and a loss of concentration can be the results.
Heavy drinking interferes with the balance of chemicals in the brain. It lowers the production of serotonin, which regulates to mood - this leads to mild symptoms of depression, including insomnia, sluggishness, anxiety and loss of concentration.
Magnifying your existing Emotions: Alcohol is like a magnifier. If you are depressed, it will make you more depressed. The same goes for angry people who can become angrier and more violent.
Psychological Impacts of Drinking: There are also other likely problems that result from excessive drinking:
- Cravings can develop as you rely on alcohol for mood change and also to divert attention away from life problems
- Psychiatric issues e.g. clinical depression, dementia, and/or anxiety and impulse control disorders negative thoughts and patterns can be developed and exacerbated by reliance on alcohol
- Distorted sense of judgement
- Anti-social behaviour and negative social relationships can be the consequence of excessive drinking
In order to start making changes with your relationship with alcohol please visit the Alcohol Free Social Life website where you will learn specific techniques and examples of how to make changes now, click here.