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Alcohol and Stress

Alcohol and Stress

Stress is a common feature of today's busy lifestyle. The root cause of stress isn't always the obvious factors, such as work load or personal commitments. Sometimes it may be caused by a lack of control, loss of self-confidence or inability to say 'No'. .

At times pressures can become overwhelming and it can be tempting to turn to alcohol to relieve stress. It is a common belief that drinking alcohol can 'calm the nerves', and it is true that it can temporarily make us feel more relaxed.  However, drinking excessive levels can induce rather than reduce stress responses - the activity of drinking alcohol can actually produce the effects similar to those they are trying to relieve.

There are some indicators to highlight whether drinking is becoming a problem such as, drinking alone, feeling irritable if you can't have a drink or maybe hiding your drinking from friends and family.

Drinking alcohol is often used in place of more effective stress management such as talking through problems with colleagues, friends of family and learning to express feelings rather than bottling them up. Identifying the cause of the stress is the starting point for making positive changes.

People sometimes have negative beliefs about their ability to cope based on past experiences. Talking to a qualified therapist can help to indentify areas of difficulty, challenge unhelpful beliefs, and highlight new ways of thinking about problems. A therapist can also support you towards a healthier relationship with alcohol, while enabling you to develop more productive ways of coping with stress.

Go to the alcohol problems page for answers to common questions about alcohol use. Our stress resources page provides more information about dealing with stress.

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