Jesse Viner

Whether it’s a few cocktails with colleagues, a weekend beer fest bonanza, or nightly bottle of wine with dinner, drinking alcohol changes the way we handle ourselves, emotionally and socially. Once alcohol enters the body and flows through the bloodstream, it has the power to slow down internal structures, like the central nervous system and the brain, which are both major contributors in the grand scheme of mental health. Drinking alcohol has negative effects on mental health.

There are plenty of stigmas when it comes to discussing mental health. Mental health certainly covers clinical, diagnosable concerns, yet also encompasses people who do not have a diagnosis. Mental wellbeing is a state of reaching emotional and social balance. Break past the barriers and think of mental health in terms of the way you feel about yourself, your emotions, and your relationships with others. To name a few examples, mental health includes, yet is not limited to, how we carry ourselves throughout the course of a day, how we react to social situations, how we manage change and stress, and how we make sense of our innermost fears and feelings.

Alcohol consumption negatively affects mental wellbeing. Drinking influences how we handle stressors that may come up unexpectedly, how we process situations and emotions, and how we make decisions. Drinking can affect who we are to ourselves and who we are to others. Alcohol can impinge on the innermost feelings we hold deep within ourselves. It can hurt our sense of self-esteem and our ability to self-regulate.

Taking proactive steps toward a positive mental wellbeing starts with self reflection. Reflect on habits that may be brining you down. Habits like drinking excessively. Jesse Viner, MD, Founder and Executive Medical Director of Yellowbrick, understands the negative role that alcohol plays on mental health and recommends avoiding alcohol completely. Dr. Viner is a recognized expert in the field of mental health, with over thirty years of clinical experience treating emerging adults in areas of substance abuse and mental health concerns like depression and anxiety. Throughout his career, Dr. Viner has researched the effects of drinking on mental health and has put together a simple guide, Ten Good Mental Health Reasons Not to Drink. Dr. Viner’s resource is a must read for anyone on a path toward reaching a heightened state of mental wellbeing.

Consuming alcohol directly impacts our mental wellbeing. Ten Good Mental Health Reasons Not to Drink provides an understandable explanation of how alcohol imparts negative effects on mental health. The points made in tie in how alcohol slows down normal processes within the brain and central nervous system. The resource explains how alcohol plays a role in the formations of memory, in learning new information, and in developing healthy sleep patterns. The guide goes on to warn against the dangers of drinking when it comes to making impulsive or uninhibited decisions.

For people currently participating in mental health treatment, like those engaging in counseling or adhering to a prescription drug treatment for conditions like anxiety, depression, or bipolar disorder, consuming alcohol may endanger clinical progress. Ten Good Mental Health Reasons briefly explains the complications that alcohol can bring about for people seeking therapeutic advancement. One night of drinking can undo the gains from countless counseling sessions by triggering hurtful or traumatic memories. A great deal of repressed pain has the potential to surface while consuming alcohol. Being under the influence is not a safe and secure environment to process such dark emotions, and people may feel more depressed, ashamed, angry, scared, or worried than while they are sober. Alcohol should not be mixed with prescription drug use, as it can be dangerous and even deadly.

  1. Alcohol interferes with the processes of memory and with new learning.

  2. Alcohol interferes with normal sleep, which in turn affects energy, mood and anxiety level.

  3. Alcohol is a direct, central nervous system depressant that interferes with mood stability and promotes depression.

  4. While alcohol may provide short-term relief when you are anxious, drinking leads to rebound anxiety, which makes matters worse.

  5. Drinking tends to make us more impulsive.

  6. The choices we make when we are disinhibited by alcohol are often regrettable, which leads to shame and increases anxiety and depression.

  7. Alcohol tends to decrease our inhibitions about using other substances.

  8. Alcohol interferes with the therapeutic effects of prescribed medications, including medications you might be taking for anxiety and depression.

  9. In addition, alcohol may be dangerous in combination with other medication.

  10. Alcohol may be triggering of past traumatic experiences that involved alcohol, leading to greater distress, increased shame, depression and anxiety or worse.

If you or someone you know has a drinking problem or mental health concerns, please seek professional help immediately. Take steps toward mental wellness by avoiding alcohol.

About the Author

Jesse Viner, MD, Executive Medical Director of Yellowbrick, is a recognized expert in the treatment of eating disorders, difficulties resulting from trauma and abuse, and bipolar disorder, Dr. Viner has three decades of experience applying the knowledge of psychiatry and psychoanalysis to the challenge of creating meaningful and pragmatically effective treatment programs. Dr. Viner has served as Director of Adult Psychiatry Inpatient Services for Northwestern University Medical School; Medical Director of Four Winds Chicago and Director of University Behavioral Health. He is on the faculty of the Chicago Institute for Psychoanalysis and The Family Institute at Northwestern University. Dr. Viner is a Distinguished Fellow of the American Psychiatric Association.


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Last Updated ( Friday, 02 May 2014 10:51 )