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The Dangers of Turning to Alcohol During Stressful Times

It’d be an understatement to say that we, as a nation, are undergoing one of the most stressful times in our lives.

The current global pandemic we are facing isn’t exactly anyone’s fault. It’s a circumstance that’s beyond our control, and that leads to a lot of stress. Plus, the side effects of it all are tough. We might lose our jobs, our homes, and even a loved one due to the virus.

Stress isn’t new, but in situations like these, our limits are tested. We don’t know what new challenges tomorrow will bring, even more so than normal. As a result, we seek comfort in things we probably shouldn’t, such as drinking more alcohol.

Considering alcohol is still pretty easy to get for anyone 21 and over during this pandemic, it may seem like a natural thing to want to drink more as a way to calm yourself. However, relying on alcohol as a crutch during stressful times will only lead to more problems and should be avoided.

Take a look at some of these reasons why you shouldn’t turn to alcohol during stressful times.

Your judgment becomes clouded

When you drink alcohol, your brain activity slows, potentially leading you to make bad decisions. In turn, this can lead you to get into potentially dangerous situations that may put you or someone else in harm’s way.

Considering many places in the United States are under stay-at-home orders, this can lead you to be outside more than is necessary, potentially exposing you even more to virus or potentially infecting others.

You’ll need more alcohol

In moderation and in short periods of time, a few drinks aren’t all too bad for your body. As long as you’re within your own limits, you shouldn’t have too much trouble recovering the next day.

However, the more frequently you drink, the more your body will build a tolerance for alcohol, and while one or two drinks may have been enough to relax you, soon you’ll start to need twice that amount. In turn, this can lead to heavy drinking and long-term alcohol abuse.

The more you drink, the more damage you can do to your body. Some of the long-term effects of alcohol abuse include high blood pressure, stroke, heart attack, liver disease, and even permanent brain damage.

You can feel even more stress

The irony of this one is drinking can actually lead to more stress. In the short term, after a certain period of time, you’ll body will eventually need to remove the access alcohol. When alcohol leaves the body, blood sugar levels fall, and in response, can trigger or aggravate feelings of anxiety. The more anxiety you have, the more stressed out you’ll feel.

When you are stressed, your body produces cortisol, which is beneficial in small amounts. However, the more you drink, the more cortisol you produce. When you have high amounts of cortisol, your cognitive abilities decline, and if you become a heavy drinker, you could suffer damage to your central nervous system as well as your organs.

Your problems won’t go away

This might be the most obvious reason, but even if drinking relaxes you for a bit, it doesn’t solve the issues your facing. Instead, you might end up going further away from a practical solution with the amount of time you spend drinking.

How to approach stress

In this chaotic situation, it’s important to recognize some of these problems are beyond your control. Sometimes the best you can do is adhere to the best practices your federal or local government is suggesting. It also helps to recognize there are plenty of others in similar situations and they might be able to offer insight into how to face these new challenges.

It’s easy to find security and some form of safety in alcohol, but it’s not good for your long-term well-being. Instead, you must seek healthier activities to cope with stress, such as light or moderate exercise.

If you do feel the need to drink, considering giving tea a try. Drinking peppermint or chamomile tea has been said to put some people at ease and reduce their anxiety and irritability.

Stress will always be present in daily life, it’s just unfortunate it’s omnipresent right now, but you must realize this situation is temporary. It’ll take some time, but things can and will return to a state of normalcy.

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