Stress and Alcohol – Top Tips

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The research by the Mental Health Foundation found that almost half of the adults polled revealed they feel stressed every day, with nearly a quarter saying every few days.

A total of 59% of respondents said their life was generally more stressful than it was five years ago.

Money (26%) and work-related issues (28%) were cited as the main causes of stress and anxiety for more than half of those who said they felt stressed.

When asked for their top three ways to deal with their stress, 41% of respondents said they spent time alone, closely followed by talking to partners, family and friends about it and spending time on hobbies. But 18% found that drinking alcohol cut stress levels, and 10% found smoking helpful, against just 6% who said they would consider visiting a GP or medical professional for their stress-related issues.

Almost half of respondents said they found it more difficult to sleep as a result of their stress, while feeling short tempered and irritable was also common, as well as “feeling tired all the time” and “finding it hard to switch off”.

Mental Health Foundation chief executive Andrew McCulloch said more non-hospital-based solutions were one answer, and this included workplace-based solutions.

“We must invest in less costly, more effective early intervention services for people experiencing this type of stress instead of waiting for people’;s distress and symptoms to require a hospital admission,” he added.

This highlights  current culture of turning to alcohol when we are stressed and unhappy, but also when we are happy like on special occasions. This is often done because people are not aware of other healthier alternatives.  Also because the media and other social patterns give us the message that alcohol is the norm in these situations. Think of the times in a TV programme when someone is stressed and the reaction of “I need a stiff drink” or “let’s go for a drink  and drown my sorrows”. At happy occasions it is accepted when people take alcohol in excess and behave badly.  One thing that I cannot get my head around is when someone is drunk, cannot remember the whole event, is sick, wakes up with a splitting headache and hangover that takes another whole day to clear and says that they had a brilliant time!

So what are the alternatives and non hospital based solutions as has been recommended in this report.

Counselling and CBT (Cognitive Behaviour Therapy) – before reaching out for the bottle, find a trusted person to speak to in confidence.  This is different to talking to people you know as talking to a neutral person does not raise the issues of confidentiality, repercussions and being judged.

Stress relief Course

There are so many natural techniques that will defuse the stress and also deal with it from source which a bottle of wine will never do. Techniques like relaxation practice and meditation have been proven with countless research that they not only reduce stress but also enhance overall health.

Lifestyle changes

Going out for a run or walk will again alleviate the stress and enhance fitness at the same time. In contrast, multiple units of alcohol will give you a hangover and damage your liver and the stress issue will still be there after all that.

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