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Drinking Alcohol to Relieve Stress May Actually Make you Feel Worse

Posted in Alcohol Abuse

Many people falsely believe that having a drink will help them relax but researchers claim it doesn’t always work that way and that the relationship between alcohol and stress can work both ways. A recent article in U.S. News states that although alcohol may change the way your body handles stress; your stress level may reduce the alcohol’s effects. People who turn to alcohol in hopes to relieve stress or anxiety levels may actually feel worse than they did before and it may further increase their stress.

Emma Childs, a research assistant at the University in Chicago, says that people have emotional and physiological reactions that are separate and occur at different points in time following the stressful situation. Therefore, with the release of the stress hormone, Cortisol, and the elevated feelings of anxiety and bad mood, combined with higher heart rate, each climax and then disperse at different times. Childs says drinking more alcoholic beverages may have dissimilar effects that depend on how long a person drinks after the stressful event occurred.

During the study, researchers polled 25 healthy males and asked them to complete a task that involved public speaking and was known to be stressful and then compared it with one task that was "non-stressful". After the two tasks were completed the men were then given fluid with near equal amounts of alcohol as equivalent to two drinks. Childs concluded that alcohol can alter the way the human body copes with stress and that it can lower cortisol, a hormone that is released in response to stress.

Childs added that stress can also change the way we feel when we drink alcohol and affect you in such a way that it increases your chances of consuming even more alcohol. Our responses to stress can be beneficial because they help us cope with adverse events, says Childs.