Health & Medical Self-Improvement

Is Alcohol a Good Way to Deal With Stress?

Although movies and ads often portray the joy of grabbing a cold beer or a shimmering glass of wine at the end of a hard day's work, the actual facts about alcohol show us that it is a very poor remedy for stress.
Alcohol is a muscle relaxant, and moderate amounts can indeed help your body to unwind.
Because we have been conditioned by media and our culture to equate alcohol with fun and relaxation, we are predisposed to think that a drink will help us handle our stress but in fact it can cause more damage in the long run.
Putting aside the statistics about alcohol-related car accidents, there are other practical reasons to avoid the practice of using alcohol to cope with your stress.
When you reach for a drink, you may feel relief in the moment, but you have done nothing towards creatively solving the problems or situations that have you feeling stressed.
Therefore, those feelings will be back the next day, and if you continue to hide from the reality of your life by drinking alcohol, you risk becoming alcohol-dependent which can lead to a pattern of substance abuse known as alcoholism.
By relying on alcohol to help you feel better, you invite a bad habit to take up residence in your mind, where you thoughtlessly pursue physical pleasures and do nothing about your emotional and spiritual growth.
This is why many people with a drinking problem come across as immature.
If they started drinking as teenagers, they never really grew up and learned to cope with adult problems in a mature way, but rather learned to simply hide from unpleasant realities by drinking and partying.
The habit of drinking can quickly take over and seem like a normal part of your life, and yet it can create new problems for you not only with your health but with work, family and love relationships.
The empty calories of alcoholic drinks can put on pounds and fat quickly, and rob your body of necessary nutrients.
Go in a bar some time and look at the faces of heavy drinkers.
They will appear much older than their biological ages because of the toll alcohol has taken on their bodies.
In relationships, alcohol use can contribute to arguments, resentments and additional stress due to lack of performance in the bedroom.
Instead of relieving stress, a reliance on alcohol will rapidly increase your stress level because the people in your life who care about you will be upset and dismayed by the change in your personality.
Job performance suffers as well from alcohol consumption, even if the person is vigilant about not drinking on the job, because of the bodily and mental changes that alcohol induces.
The over-drinker who started off wanting to decrease their stress by having a few drinks will soon have a mountain of new problems at work from not fulfilling obligations, from missing deadlines, and from overlooking important tasks, all due to a hangover from drinking too much the night before.
A far better solution to excess stress or chronic stress than drinking alcohol is to learn healthy ways to solve your problems, to relax with exercise and meditation, and to reach out for help from a trusted friend or qualified professional.

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