Alcohol is a depressant, which means that it slows down the brain. Many people drink alcohol to have fun, but it's easy for it to get out of hand. Sometimes there's pressure from friends or family to drink, but the option to drink alcohol should always be up to you as there's no "safe way" to use alcohol.

If your drinking is starting to affect things that matter to you it can be a good idea to talk to someone about your options.


What does it do?

Alcohol affects your body in many ways, some effects which are immediate and others accumulate over time. Generally speaking, alcohol can make you feel more confident and relaxed, slow down your reflexes, and affect your balance and coordination.

Drinking too much can cause headaches, dizziness, nausea and vomiting. In extreme cases, people can even pass out and may not remember what happened. They may do risky things that they wouldn’t do while sober.

The effect of alcohol on an individual depends on lots of things such as;

  • How much you weigh

  • How healthy you are

  • How regularly you drink

  • What kind of mood you’re in when you drink

  • Who you’re drinking with.

Your inhibitions and decision-making skills are also affected by alcohol and you may make decisions while drinking that you wouldn't normally make. These can be negative or positive, and is also linked with:

  • Increased risky behaviour

  • Increased aggression

  • Negative thoughts related to self-harm and suicide for people who may already be struggling.

Frequent or heavy alcohol use can increase these effects, especially the impact on mood, and the ability to cope with tough times.

Short term effects

Alcohol can impact your physical health in a number of ways. Short-term effects include:

  • Difficulty sleeping

  • Lower immunity

  • Trouble concentrating

  • Difficulty getting motivated.

Long term effects

  • High blood pressure

  • Heart disease

  • Brain damage

  • Liver disease as well as different kinds of cancers.

If you’re pregnant, drinking alcohol can lead to serious health problems for both you and the baby.

Hangovers

While the experience of a hangover is never pleasant, a hangover can affect a person's body in multiple ways. While everyone's bodies are different and may react to a hangover in varying ways, some of the common symptoms include:

  • Dehydration

  • Nausea

  • Headaches

  • Muscle ache

  • Fatigue

  • Diarrhoea

  • Dry mouth and eyes

  • Increased sensitivity to light and sound

  • Dizziness

  • Restlessness

What is the impact alcohol has on mental health?

Since alcohol is a depressant, it slows your body down and changes the chemical makeup in your brain. This can lead to major impacts on mental health and has many effects, such as altering your:

  • Mood

  • Energy levels

  • Sleeping patterns

  • Concentration

  • Memory and many other things.

People who are experiencing a mental health difficulty may use alcohol to try and manage hard times or lift their mood. This can be helpful in the short term but may make things much harder to handle in the long run.

If you're struggling with alcohol consumption, it's important to visit your GP or chat with a Sonder team member who can help provide support.

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If you have any questions or need extra support, we're here to help you anytime in any language. Simply start a chat with us via the home screen of the Sonder app to connect to our team of qualified, caring health professionals.

Information sourced from: Australian Department of Health, Better Health Channel and Headspace.

Image credit: Focus

All content is created and published for informational purposes only. It is not intended to be a substitute for professional advice. Always seek the guidance of a qualified health professional.

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