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How Alcohol Impacts Mental Health

alcohol and mental health

A report in 2019 found that Colorado ranks as one of the highest states for alcohol-related deaths and has a high suicide rate. As more people try to self-medicate with drugs or alcohol, these rates can continue to climb until the negative association between alcohol and mental health is more well known. Alcohol is a depressant, despite the pleasurable feeling it can produce, and can severely impact your mental health. An alcohol rehab center can help patients whose alcohol addiction negatively impacts their lives.

At Northpoint Colorado, we help men and women struggling with mental health illnesses that are fueling their addiction. We use medication-assisted treatment and behavioral therapy to give patients the help they need to lead happy, sober, and productive lives. To learn more about the impact of alcohol and mental health, call 888.231.1281 today and speak with our knowledgeable staff about the long-term effects of alcohol abuse.

How Alcohol Changes You

Alcohol has been a part of our society since before modern society existed. Chemical analysis has found evidence of fermented beverages dating back as far as 7000 B.C., and multiple reports state that alcohol was mainly used for medicinal purposes. Today, alcohol addiction affects nearly 20 million U.S. adults, and reports show children as young as 11 are trying alcohol for the first time. 

Alcohol can have a severe negative impact on your body and mental health. When you drink, you flood your body with chemicals that signal neurotransmitters to release dopamine, giving you the euphoric effect that makes alcohol so popular. Dopamine is responsible for much more than making you feel happy. It affects your mood, motor control, happiness, and motivation.

Alcohol can also produce physical changes in your brain. Research shows that the long-term effects of alcohol abuse can cause brain shrinkage. It can also affect new cell development, making them less effective in sending messages throughout the body. Other behavioral effects of alcohol use disorder include:

  • Increase in stress and anxiety
  • Depression
  • Changes in mood and personality
  • Hallucinations
  • Psychosis

The Negative Effects of Alcohol on Mental Health

Men and women who drink occasionally and do not have any underlying mental health issues will not form an addiction or alcohol use disorder. Patients who suffer from depression, stress, anxiety, or other mental health illnesses are more likely to drink more to relieve their symptoms.

Your brain can form a strong dependence on a substance or action that causes feelings they have never experienced before, like intense happiness, well-being, and pleasure. Since your body cannot produce the same effects naturally, it begins forming physical and mental cravings. Over time and with continued abuse, these cravings can consume a person’s life to where all they can think about is drinking more, even to the detriment of their own health.

If you or a loved one is using alcohol to treat their mental health issues, look for these signs:

  • Strong cravings for alcohol can begin after a few hours from your last drink
  • Frequently drinks until they blackout
  • They cannot stop drinking, even if they want to stop
  • Lack of concentration and focus
  • Increased risk of dementia
  • Pulling away from friends and family
  • Suicidal thoughts

Alcohol use disorder can seriously affect your physical health with increased risk of heart disease, liver and kidney failure, and cardiovascular disease. 

Begin Alcohol Addiction Treatment at Northpoint Colorado

At Northpoint Colorado, we help men and women who are struggling with co-occurring mental health illnesses of addiction and other mental health disorders. Our treatment programs can help you, no matter how severe your addiction symptoms are. We offer:

  • Alcohol and drug detox program
  • Residential treatment program
  • Partial hospitalization program 
  • Intensive outpatient program

We help patients to form healthy coping skills to help with their mental health disorders and begin leading sober and productive lives. To learn more about the harmful effects of alcohol and mental health, call 888.231.1281 today.