Alcohol and Stress: What’s the Connection?

alcohol and stress

There are many reasons why people drink, but for some it could be stress. This guide examines the connection between alcohol and stress.

Almost 6% of American adults are believed to be alcoholics. To put this in perspective, if you know 20 people, statistically one of them will be an alcoholic.

For those with alcohol use disorder, it’s important to understand their reasons for drinking. When you’re an alcoholic, drinking becomes its own reason, but where did that start?

Alcohol and stress can be a powerful combination. Many people start drinking as a way to deal with stress. They may even have a stress or anxiety disorder. 

The relationship between alcoholism and stress is a fascinating one, and we’ll talk more about it in this article.

1. Initial Effects

You’ve probably heard of people drinking to cope with stress, and there can be some truth to that, but it’s a slippery slope. At first, alcohol can help reduce stress, but it’s a slippery slope.

Alcohol is a depressant, meaning that it slows our bodies down and helps us feel more relaxed. However, intoxication isn’t permanent. The average man can process alcohol at a rate of about 1 drink per hour, and the rate is slightly lower for women.

This means that two drinks in one hour will take two hours to get out of your system. 3 drinks in one hour will take three hours to process, and so on. 

The bad news is that after a night of drinking, a person will crash. Once all the alcohol has been processed its effects go away, too. At the end of it all, you’re left feeling the same way you were when you started drinking or even worse.

2. Increasing Anxiety

The problem with using alcohol to treat anxiety is that it can become routine. You drink to confront your fears, and the more you face your fears, the more you drink.

It’s a recipe for dependence, and many people don’t realize it until they can’t stop drinking. By then, the alcohol has likely caused even more stress, which may have led to more drinking.

3. Dealing With Stress

The biggest problem with alcohol and stress is that stress and anxiety never go away. Once you get your alcohol issues under control, you’ll need to find a way to deal with stress. Otherwise, you may end up relapsing because you have no other way of dealing with stress.

Someone who finds themselves frequently stressed out may be suffering from an anxiety disorder. There are a few different types of anxiety disorders, but together they affect nearly one out of every five Americans.

Addiction and other mental health disorders co-occur so much that many rehab facilities have therapists on therapists and psychiatrists on staff. 

Alcohol and Stress

The relationship between alcohol and stress is an interesting one. It’s a slippery slope that leads to increased drinking and addiction.

We’ve discussed the relationship in this article, but there’s a lot more to be said. It may be best to do more research on your own. There’s only so much detail you can go into in one article.

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