Cheers?: understanding the relationship between alcohol and mental health

Mental Health Foundation
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While much debate has taken place recently about alcohol, researchers have failed to draw out the reasons why so many people have troubled relationships with it. The reasons we drink and the consequences of excessive drinking are intimately linked with our mental health, and this holds the key to dealing with growing worries about alcohol misuse. Evidence outlined in this report shows that: there are significant connections between reported alcohol use and depressive symptoms; people report using alcohol to help them sleep people drink more when experiencing moderate to high levels of shyness or fear; anxious people use drinking ‘to cope’ and are more likely to avoid social situations where alcohol is not available; as many as 65% of suicides have been linked to excessive drinking 70% of men who kill themselves have drunk alcohol before doing so almost a third of suicides amongst young people are committed while the person is intoxicated; anxiety and depressive symptoms are more common in heavy drinkers; heavy drinking is more common in those with anxiety and depression; there is a significant relationship between job stress and alcohol consumption. Many GPs believe that alcohol is a cause of mental health problems.

Subject terms:
mental health problems, suicide, alcohol misuse, anxiety, depression, dual diagnosis;
Content type:
United Kingdom
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