Alcohol consumption has formed an integral part of our culture and social settings since
centuries. From rulers, courtesans, and kings consuming it for their pleasure to villains in movies
drinking as celebratory gestures, usually because of a shady deal or victory. The tone accorded to
alcohol consumption has kept on shifting and evolving as we progressed. Even though alcohol
still gets associated with negative tags, the general perception around its consumption has
changed. Light drinking is even encouraged in social situations like office parties, weddings, or
just a social-gathering.
Like the relationship of alcohol and its societal perception keeps undergoing changes, so does the
link with an individual’s overall well-being. The relationship between alcohol use, mental health
problems and mental well-being is a very complex one and presents a lack of understanding
through systematic research. This is because medical professionals like clinicians working with
alcohol–abusing or alcohol–dependent patients have difficulty in assessing their patient’s
psychiatric complaints; as heavy drinking associated with alcoholism can coexist with, contribute
to, or result from several different psychiatric syndromes.
While some people may drink alcohol to relax or help cope with daily stresses; however, alcohol
as a depressant drug has been found to cause anxiety and increase stress. Moreover, it negatively
affects thoughts, feelings and actions, by impacting the central nervous system, and hence,
contribute to the development of, or worsen, existing mental health issues over time.
Therefore, alcohol use can significantly influence the development and progression of mental
health conditions. This is especially true in case of people with, or who are at-risk of, a mental
health condition, are more likely to use alcohol, and may have worse symptoms after drinking.
Moreover, alcohol, even when consumed at low levels (one or two drinks a day), can have
negative implications with most of the common medications commonly prescribed for mental
health conditions, including antidepressants.
Hence, there is a need to intensify efforts to further curtail the extent of alcohol consumption and
increase awareness of the negative effects of alcohol use on human health.
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