Alcohol & mental health

Mental health issues

For most people, drinking alcohol can make them feel more relaxed, but it will not have a negative effect on their overall mental health. For people with mental health issues however, the research shows that they are more likely to be heavy drinkers, which can make their health problems worse.

It is common for people with mental health issues to use alcohol and/or drugs to feel better, and to reduce the symptoms of their illness, like pain, depression, anxiety or anger. While a small amount of alcohol may lessen these feelings in the short-term, alcohol does not take away these problems. In fact, drinking alcohol is more likely to make these problems worse, and can increase their risk of suicide.

It is therefore important that people living with mental health issues be very careful if they choose to drink alcohol and limit how much they drink. They should be especially careful if they are taking medications, as alcohol can interfere with the medications and can have negative results. If taking medications, it’s important to carefully follow medication instructions. 

Research has also shown that drinking too much alcohol can lead to the development of mental health issues for people who have not had mental health problems in the past. 

Heavy drinkers who regularly experience the following symptoms may be at risk of developing a mental illness:

  • depression or anxiety
  • problems with sleeping
  • inability to think clearly, and
  • withdrawal from friends and family

These individuals may want to consider reducing or stopping alcohol use so they are better able to control these symptoms and avoid future mental health problems.

For more information on mental health issues click here.