It’s a common misconception that alcohol helps alleviate stress. In reality, consuming alcohol has a negative effect on your body’s ability to handle stress. You may feel that a few drinks helps relax you before a stressful situation, but you may not be aware that the effects of stress can actually limit the perceived good effects of the alcohol, making it less effective at helping you cope with your stress.
Many people fall into a dangerous cycle of drinking to deal with stress, finding that they need to drink larger amounts more often to get the same stress relief. Alcohol doesn’t prevent the body from experiencing the negative benefits of stress; it only defers them temporarily and causes them to impact the body for longer periods of time.
Drinking alcohol also puts the body under new types of stress, forcing the body to process and try to eliminate the alcohol while also coping with the physical effects of stress, such as quickened heart-rate and muscle tension. The brain must process these while impaired by alcohol, resulting in damage to the body after a prolonged period of time.
Prolonged stress damages the body and leads to many health problems. Prolonged abuse of alcohol makes this damage worse. While the occasional glass of wine or beer before a stressful even may seem like a good idea, the effects of drinking every time you face stress is unhealthy and impractical. Over time, your body will require larger quantities of alcohol to counter the effects of stress, which only reappear once the alcohol is out of your system. This cycle ultimately destroys your mental and physical health.
Finding healthy alternatives to dealing with stress is crucial. Don’t rely on alcohol to beat your stress, or you could wind up in a much worse situation.