Wednesday, 10 July 2013

Alcohol and Stress: a Lethal Combination?


Think again before having a drink to ease your stresses away.
Is a glass of wine or a pint of beer the best way to deal with stress?
Every evening across Britain, millions of couples will settle down on the sofa, after a hard day’s work, from either looking after children or tolerating their bosses, to enjoy a glass of wine or a pint of beer to while away the day’s stresses and strains.

But is it doing more harm than good?

While a glass of wine and a pint of beer may make you feel relaxed; too much, often leads to exacerbating the stress, which you hoped to ease in the first place. Have you noticed that nearly every argument you may have with your partner, originates after drinking a glass or three of alcohol?

Alcohol is classified as a depressant, which slows down the brain and the central nervous system’s processes. We feel the effects as being tipsy and merry, but nothing could be further from the truth.
Ask any nurse or policeman who’s worked a weekend shift. The majority of accident and emergency admissions are alcohol related and the same applies to crime and order. Alcohol plays a part in half of all reported murder, rapes and assaults.

The evidence is clear. Alcohol enhances your stress and often, with too much, pushes you over the edge.

The morning after.

Waking up with a thumping head-ache, while having to get the children to school and yourself at work, is an often over-looked consequence of drinking the night before.

The vicious circle starts all over again. Some settle for the ‘Hair of the Dog’, while others take refuge in bed, eating and generally laying on the sofa, to detoxify and regain the strength to tackle the day ahead.

Don’t avoid the issues.

Having a drink is basically an avoidance strategy. Its gives you the time and space to put aside the issues which are making you stressed in the first place. After all, isn’t it best to confront your boss about your working conditions, rather than take your frustrations out at home?

Isn’t it best to talk to someone about what’s worrying you, rather than bottling it up and inadvertently, by using alcohol, make you explode?

Only by sharing your problems can you come up with solutions. We’ve all heard of the aged old saying, ‘A problem shared is a problem halved’, its true, it helps.

Alcohol is not the answer.
As Mike Fisher from the British Association for Anger Management is fully aware, alcohol does more harm than good.

‘Manage your drinking habits responsibly,’ says Mike Fisher, ‘increased levels of drinking – wine or any other kind, is partly to blame for lower self-esteem and problems within relationships.’

‘Alcohol significantly impairs brain function; your thoughts and reactions become slower. People are more likely to misread social cues and have an inability to consider the consequences of actions that they may well regret when in a sober state of mind.’

Worried about someone you know or yourself?

Ask yourself two questions:

1.Do people tell you that you become aggressive when drunk? If more than three people tell you that, you need to take heed and do something about it.

2.Do you find yourself becoming aggressive or thinking negative thoughts when drunk? That’s an indication that there is suppressed anger there.

With drinking such an ingrained part of our culture, is there a solution?

‘Yes there is,’ answers Mike Fisher – ‘Responsible drinking.’

“I have clients who know that when they get drunk, they have problems with their anger. So, many have quit drinking to get their anger under control and feel all the better for it – on so many levels. It’s a huge concern but alcohol and anger can be a recipe for disaster so people should really watch their drinking.”

What to do?

Contact Mike Fisher from The British Association of Anger Management. He provides support programmes and training for interested individuals or groups. Check out such website as www.angermanage.co.uk, www.stressexperts.co.uk and www.beatinganger.com for more information.

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