Each year, 1 in every 4 people, here in the UK experience symptoms of mental health conditions. From depression to anxiety and panic disorders, a quarter of the population, to some degree, struggle with balancing, digesting, and managing their emotions and outlooks. One reason for this is heavy alcohol consumption.

While alcohol may be seen as a reliever of mental health struggles, there is in fact a grave link between the consumption of alcohol and psychological vulnerabilities. Due to the nature of alcohol as a depressant, it impacts the central nervous system, creating a dysfunctional imbalance of chemicals and responses.

It’s understandable that throughout mental health struggles, such imbalance will be overlooked or disbelieved, as alcohol can induce many short-term supportive feelings. However, enabling this coping strategy on a consistent basis will showcase the toxic link between alcohol and mental health.

Alcohol is an aggravator of mental health conditions. Also recognised as a dual diagnosis, mental health conditions can also influence heavy alcohol abuse, increasing the risks of addiction. Due to the difficulties and complexity of dual diagnosis, understanding this link is very important.

See how to deter the link between alcohol and mental health with treatment and support here at Ocean Recovery.


Does alcohol affect Mental Health?

In short, yes, alcohol does affect mental health, down to its makeup. While alcohol is legal to purchase and consume, if misused, it can be an aggravator of many issues. To define misuse, such consumption bypasses the recommendations of the Chief Medical Officer, meaning that alcohol exposure is ultimately consistent and strong.

Consistent and strong consumption of alcohol can be dangerous, down to how it suppresses the central nervous system. While temporary positive feelings can be felt through alcohol exposure, the permanent long-term effects can be chronic

Addiction is a result of consistent alcohol exposure, as is poor physical health and many tangible consequences. Yet those which are intangible are just as dangerous, standing as mental health effects.

As the central nervous system is affected by alcohol, normal chemicals become unstable, processes become complex and the ability to understand, digest and move on from negativity and challenges feelings become difficult. Here’s where the link between alcohol and mental health truly showcases itself, as it’s in fact strong causation of mental health conditions.


There is a significant link between alcohol and mental health conditions, in fact, recognised medically as a dual diagnosis. Here’s where both alcohol and mental health vulnerabilities are found to aggravate and fuel one another, turning an independent disorder into a dual cycle.

In this instance, there’s a strong chance that symptoms of alcoholism have also increased the risk of mental health issues, down to how such traces have adapted the body and brain. However, at the other end of the scale lies how impactful pre-existing mental health conditions are on alcohol consumption as a reliever. Many people use alcohol to cope with poor mental health, and is one of the 4 ways people drink.

Alcoholism is uncontrollable. Mental health issues are also uncontrollable. Combined together, their link can be extremely difficult to deal with, developing into many further physical and psychological issues.

The link between alcohol and mental health issues is significant, present through conditions such as depression and anxiety. Alcohol is used as a coping strategy through both conditions, down to the positive reinforcements that it offers. However, those reinforcers provide a false sense of security, unknowingly fuelling the rebound effect.

Alcohol abuse is also known to result in symptoms of depression, paranoia, compulsion, and anxiety down to the rollercoaster effect that it causes. Users note how damaging alcohol in fact is to their emotional responses, yet at the moment, of course, cannot be recognised.


Difficulties of Dual Diagnosis

The dual diagnosis and link between alcohol and mental health conditions can be very difficult to live with, as a cycle will materialise. Once that connection is made, each will impact one another and can also lead to other issues such as homelessness.

For example, symptoms of depression may amount, where alcohol will be seen as a productive coping strategy. However, through alcohol abuse, those depressive feelings come back even stronger, requiring heightened exposure to alcohol.

As they are found to fuel one another, it’s therefore very difficult to break the cycle and make changes, without partaking in dual diagnosis treatment. Withdrawing from alcohol, alone, can result in aggravated mental health issues. Looking for a different coping strategy through mental health symptoms may alleviate short-term feelings, yet the cravings and negatives linked to alcohol exposure will resurface.

It’s extremely complicated and testing on health, wellbeing, and life itself, to live with any form of dual diagnosis. Ultimately, an already vulnerable central nervous system, down to alcohol, will become even more confused and dysfunctional through mental health weaknesses, showcasing its 360 effects.

Deterring the link between alcohol and mental health issues is possible through early intervention. Yet if you’ve delayed such acceptance, considering dual diagnosis treatment will now be necessary.


Working through Alcohol and Mental Health Treatment

As dual efforts are required to work through alcohol and mental health problems, professional support will be more than necessary. At Ocean Recovery, we can help you access such support, in the form of dual diagnosis treatment.

Treatment will need to focus on both conditions separately, to ensure that causations, triggers, emotional responses, and side effects can be worked through. However, efforts will combine to benefit both conditions, as one, to increase long-term recovery rates.

Treating alcohol problems will focus on detoxification, followed by a range of talking therapies. Mental health issues will also require the use of talking therapies, along with a focus on forming healthy coping strategies. Education, understanding and self-development will be found throughout the treatment of both, to reduce relapse risks, and help to improve all-around wellbeing.

The link between alcohol and mental health issues can be chronic, especially through the likes of depression and anxiety. While in the moment, such coping strategies may feel beneficial, they will not benefit you for the long term.

Sourcing support, before a severe link develops will be recommended, reduce the need for dual diagnosis treatment. Yet if you’re already encountering the cycle, suitable treatment can still be encountered.

Alcohol abuse, alone, is very tough. Mental health issues, alone, are engulfing. The link between them is life-limiting. Live your life by reaching out to commit to life-changing experiences through addiction and mental health rehab.




John Gillen - Author - Last updated: February 9, 2024

John is one UK’s leading professionals in the addiction recovery industry. Pioneering new treatment techniques such as NAD+ and ongoing research into new therapy techniques such as systematic laser therapy, John is committed to providing the very best treatment for people throughout the UK and Europe. During his extremely busy schedule, John likes to regularly update our blog section with the latest news and trends in the industry to keep visitors to our site as well informed as possible on everything related to addiction treatment.