Beating anxiety with sleep (part 3) alcohol
There are so many reasons why we drink. To celebrate birthdays, weddings, bucks/hens parties, welcome back, your’e leaving, something with dinner, out in town, and it’s a day ending with ‘y’. Over time though we drink more for the last reason, life becomes routine and we associate the good feelings from those parties and social interactions with alcohol, we forget that the experience itself is what was exciting.
What happens when we drink? We get a sudden burst of serotonin release which makes us feel good but after a few drinks the serotonin burst is gone and the levels drop lower than what they were in the first place. Alcohol, nicotine and caffeine can all cause serotonin deficiency (2010 Wasserman, R ) which can lead to:
- Panic Attacks
- Irritable bowel
- PMS/ Hormone dysfunction
- Eating disorders
- Obsessions and Compulsions
- Muscle pain
- Chronic Pain
- Alcohol abuse
- Migraine Headaches
Alcohol consumption can be tied in with lifestyle so in order to make changes you first need to look at your life. What are you doing that you need/want to change? Having a reason to change is important such as your doctor telling you you will die at age 40 or getting arrested for driving under the influence. Perhaps people have told you you have a problem or you have a focus on meeting new people or a new type of people. Generally people don’t change because they want to, more that they have to so the reasons are usually the driving force.
For me I wanted to reduce anxiety and to do that I needed better sleep which is difficult to obtain when you have more than one standard drink in a day and compounded when you drink excessive amounts of coffee and don’t do any exercise. So as I mentioned in the previous posts there needs to be changes in all parts of your life to ensure the best chances of success. Scheduling activities into your evenings which are fun and don’t involve alcohol is key. Things like Yoga straight after work or your favourite sport. Making this a new routine is important as well so you need to be persistent and set yourself up for success not failure. Make sure the variables don’t change such as playing two person sports and your sports partner is unavailable or the sport you play is outside and there is a chance of rain.