Alcohol addiction is by far the most prevalent type of substance use disorder. An estimated 16 million adults in the United States are diagnosed with alcoholism each year. As with many other diseases, alcohol addiction can negatively impact every aspect of a person’s life. This includes an individual’s emotional health.
Alcohol abuse is defined as the excessive consumption of alcohol without dependence on the drug. When someone is addicted to alcohol, he or she is physically and/or mentally dependent on alcohol and cannot control his or her drinking. Both alcohol abuse and alcohol addiction can have negative psychological effects.
The ways in which alcohol abuse can affect a person’s mental health vary. The more a person abuses alcohol, the worse emotional effects he or she will experience.
Common Mental Effects Of Alcohol Abuse
The mental effects of alcohol abuse will vary from person to person. How much a person drinks, how long they have abused alcohol, and the frequency in which they drink will all impact the side effects experienced.
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The longer a person abuses alcohol, the more likely he or she is to experience emotional consequences.
The most common emotional effects of alcohol abuse include:
- Depression — Alcohol is a depressant, meaning that it lowers activity in the central nervous system (CNS). Alcohol abuse can cause or worsen feelings of depression. A person who has severe depression and abuses alcohol is also at an increased risk of suicide.
- Irritability — Abusing alcohol can increase feelings of irritability. This is especially true if a person is unable to obtain alcohol or cannot drink as much as he or she wants.
- Anxiety — Alcohol abuse can cause anxiety or worsen an existing anxiety disorder. This is especially true in older adults.
- Social Withdrawal — Someone who abuses alcohol may begin to drink in isolation or avoid situations where he or she cannot drink excessively. This can lead to feelings of loneliness and loss of interest in activities.
People with existing mental health conditions are at an increased risk of experiencing the negative emotional effects of alcohol abuse. Abusing alcohol can also worsen mental disorders such as depression and bipolar disorder.
How Alcohol Abuse Impacts Other Peoples’ Emotions
Alcohol abuse doesn’t only impact the person abusing the drug. People who are regularly around the person abusing alcohol can also be significantly impacted by his or her behaviors and alcohol consumption.
Close friends and family are often the most affected by a loved one’s alcohol abuse. Addiction can negatively impact a person’s relationships as well as the emotions of his or her loved ones.
When someone is intoxicated, his or her behavior is often irrational and unreliable. This can cause the person’s loved ones to avoid him or her and to live in a constant state of fear and instability. Continued alcohol abuse can worsen the emotional impact the individual has on his or her loved ones.
People who live with someone who abuses or is addicted to alcohol are much more likely to experience severe emotional pain. Stress, anxiety, and depression are just a few of the many potential emotional effects of living with a person who abuses alcohol.
Getting Help For Alcohol Abuse And Addiction
The emotional effects of alcohol abuse are just a few of the many ways in which addiction can wreak havoc on a person’s life. If you or a loved one is struggling with alcohol abuse or addiction, seeking treatment is the best way to overcome emotional problems and reclaim life in sobriety.
Many people who are addicted to alcohol will need to participate in a formal treatment program. This may include a stay at an inpatient treatment facility. Inpatient programs offer long-term and comprehensive plans of recovery and are often seen as the most successful form of treatment.
To learn more about the emotional effects of alcohol abuse, contact a treatment specialist today.