There are many misconceptions about drinking alcohol with many people here in Syracuse believing myths that a few drinks can help relieve stress. Such misinformation about drinking alcohol has lead to such serious problems with alcohol abuse in Syracuse that many addiction treatment centers exist here to help people with alcohol addiction.
A new study has effectively challenged the myth that alcohol helps with stress. Mary Elizabeth Dallas has reported for HealthDay News “Drinking Alcohol May Prolong, Not Relieve. Researchers say that the relationship between stress and alcohol is a two-way street. This study points out that drinking alcohol can alter the way the body manages stress. In the meantime stress itself can also lower the intoxicating effects of alcohol, which causes people to drink more to produce the same effect. This results in people feeling worse and prolonging their stress when they drink alcohol to relieve anxiety or tension.
Emma Childs, one of the researchers for this study, has explained that when confronted with stress a person
experiences separate physiological and emotional reactions that occur at different times in the aftermath of the stressful event. Childs has said “For example, the increase in heart rate and blood pressure, the release of cortisol (a stress hormone), and also the increased feelings of tension and negative mood each reach a climax and dissipate at a different rate. Therefore, drinking more alcohol might have different effects, depending on how long after the stress a person drinks.”
From this study Childs concluded that there are bi-directional relationships between alcohol and stress. She has said “The results demonstrated bi-directional relationships between alcohol and stress. Alcohol can change the way that the body deals with stress: it can decrease the hormone cortisol, which the body releases to respond to stress, and it can prolong the feelings of tension produced by the stress. Stress can also change how alcohol makes a person feel: it can reduce the pleasant effects of alcohol or increase craving for more alcohol.”
The researchers added that drinking alcohol to help manage stress might therefore actually make matters worse. Childs commented “Stress may also alter the way that alcohol makes us feel in a way that increases the likelihood of drinking more alcohol. Stress responses are beneficial in that they help us to react to adverse events. By altering the way that our bodies deal with stress, we may be increasing the risks of developing stress-related diseases, not the least of which is alcohol addiction.”
The bottom line is alcohol appears to be a lousey way to approach dealing with stress. Natural measures such as exercise, massage, fresh air, sunshine, good nutrition, ginseng, chamomile, and meditation appear to be far more preferable. It is also a good idea to avoid too much caffeine, sugar, salt and exposure to nicotine from smoking.
Photographer: Danilo Rizzuti
Mandel News Service