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Does Alcohol Reduce Stress?

Does Alcohol Reduce Stress? by Jane Thurnell-Read

Many people find a stiff drink (or even several) can help them feel better. Many people turn to alcohol to reduce stress? But does alcohol really reduce stress?

Alcohol definitely makes most people feel better temporarily. It does this by affecting the part of the brain that controls judgement and depresses our self-control. It makes us feel wittier, cleverer, more popular, but it doesn’t mean we are these things. It just changes our perception. So what does alcohol do to our mind and body?

Alcohol is a Central Nervous System depressant

It affects neurotransmitters, messenger chemicals in the brain, and the long term effect is depressing not uplifting.

Alcohol hinders B vitamin and zinc absorption

It is ironic that the nutrients that are affected by alcohol consumption are the very ones that help keep us calm and in control- the B complex and the mineral zinc. By drinking too much alcohol you stop your body absorbing these feel good vitamins and minerals from your

food or from supplements.

Alcohol affects blood sugar levels

Alcohol gives a rapid rise in blood sugar – great if you are about to fight or be chased by a tiger – but not great for the modern environment. No wonder alcohol makes some people more aggressive. And the problem is that the high is followed by a low of lethargy. The ‘good sleep’ you may get after a few drinks is often because your blood sugar has dropped inappropriately low.

Alcohol kills

Up to 22,000 premature deaths per year are associated in some way with drinking too much alcohol. (www.nhs.uk) This figure suggests alcohol is a way of reducing stress, through death, but is that how you want to reduce the stress in your life?

Alcohol creates dependence

  6% of men and 2% of women in the UK are alcohol dependent. (www.nhs.uk) It’s a slippery slope; you start feeling in control, feeling sure you can stop whenever you want. Being dependent on alcohol creates more stress in your life not less.

How much is too much alcohol?

14 units per week is the medically recommended alcohol level for women and 21 units of alcohol per week for men.
I unit equals half a pint of beer, a small glass of sherry or a glass of wine or a single measure of spirit.

Keep an alcohol diary and check out safe consumption at www.drinkaware.co.uk - this site has an online diary where you can keep track of what and how much you have consumed, and will give a running total of how many units and calories you are consuming.

If you’re dependent on alcohol to feel good about yourself and your life, seek help.

Copyright Jane Thurnell-Read online natural health store | Stress Help

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