A Closer Look at alcohol use and mental health issues

Estimated read time 4 min read

In towns everywhere people get ready for the fun times coming with St. Patrick’s Day and Spring Break but there’s something not talked about much that needs attention. Drinking too much alcohol doesn’t just hurt your body it also affects how you feel and think. People know about the problems drinking can cause like hurting the liver or causing trouble during pregnancy, but they don’t see how it changes mental health which is just as important.


How drinking touches your mental state.

Jonathan Ponser works with therapy services at Memorial Behavioral Health. He talks about a part of drinking that many overlook “Alcohol actually slows down the brain and can make someone who is sad feel even worse,” he tells us. It’s strange because sometimes people drink to try to feel better if they’re stressed worried or sad but too much can make those feelings stronger instead of going away.


Drinking is defined by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). For men, it means having five or more drinks at once. For women, it’s four or more. When people drink like this often, they might get alcohol use disorder (AUD) which can show up with other mental health issues. This mix makes figuring out what’s wrong and how to fix it harder.


The Intersection of AUD and Mental Health Disorders

The tricky part of how AUD connects with mental health problems. Those with AUD commonly also have anxiety, depression, or disorders related to past trauma. Many things lead to this happening. Sometimes people who already feel bad in their heads will drink too much trying to make themselves feel better, but it doesn’t really help. Also starting to drink a lot when you’re young or doing it for many years might make someone more likely to have these mental health troubles along with drinking too much.

Alcohol Use Disorder, or AUD, and mental health problems are often related. They share similar causes like bad genes or tough lives, especially during someone’s childhood. These issues make it hard to figure out what’s wrong with a person and can make both AUD and mental health problems worse. People with AUD might not sleep well or feel constantly stressed and sad which can look like other mental illnesses.

Addressing Co-Occurring Disorders

Doctors who see patients first should use quick tests to check for AUD and spot any mental health troubles that show up together with it. After they know what the patient has, they decide if the situation is serious enough to send them off to experts.

Certain emotional conditions often happen alongside AUD. This is a list of various health troubles, depressive disorders, anxiety disorders, trauma and stress related disorders, substance abuse, and problems sleeping. Each issue has its own traits and needs different treatments. Take anxiety for example – there are three kinds that often come with alcohol use disorder (AUD), generalized anxiety disorder, social anxiety disorder, and panic disorder. They each have their own symptoms.

Plan to help folks with both AUD and mental health issues. To give good care for these twin troubles, doctors must work together and think about how serious the problems are. If someone’s AUD or mental problem is not too bad, the doctor will decide what to do based on what they know and are okay with handling. Putting treatments together for AUD and mental health helps patients get better by offering full support.


Note for Professionals

When alcohol use disorder (AUD) happens along with mental health problems it’s important that doctors and nurses really get it. They must spot the warning signs of both issues and use good checkups to catch them early. This way they can step in sooner and send the person to the right expert for help. If someone has PTSD and AUD making a record of when their symptoms show up can make it easier to figure out what’s going on if two conditions are mixed up.



Alcohol problems tangled up with mental health troubles are tough to deal with for everybody involved including those who are sick and the medics looking after them. Times like St. Patrick’s Day and Spring Break shine a light on how normal drinking seems, but we shouldn’t forget it can mess with our mental wellbeing too much booze is bad news! Getting smarter about how we see and treat AUD together with mental health issues will help us look after people better.

This is a mission to help people who need it. We want to make communities stronger and give everyone a chance for a better tomorrow.

Celina Brooks https://www.southcountymail.com

Celina Brooks from Mussoorie is a Writer & Researcher. She earned her Engineering degree in IT from Rutgers University. She is a technology enthusiast but loves writing and talking about local news as well. She is a jolly person with 2 children.

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