Many people believe that alcohol is something that will make them feel better. And perhaps it does at times, but the truth is that alcohol is considered a depressant and actually dampens your mood. During the first few drinks, we often experience stimulating and euphoric effects due to the dopamine that has been released. As we continue to drink, however, the depressive effects kick in. During this time, our brain experiences an increase in the effects of the inhibitory transmitter known as gamma-aminobutyric acid, which dampens our responses.
Continued drinking also leads to a reduction in the effect of the neurotransmitter glutamate on our brain. Glutamate is responsible for alertness, reactions, and memory-making. After consuming enough alcohol, the parts of our brain associated with judgment, planning, and pleasure-seeking are inhibited as well. Not only that, but dehydration and low blood sugar are often the results of drinking due to a vitamin B12 deficiency and acetaldehyde toxins left from the constant work of metabolizing the alcohol that was consumed..
An average drinker might be able to get away with these adverse effects because they will not have to deal with them very often, but for an alcoholic, these effects are an almost daily concern. You can see then how drinking alcohol can have a negative effect on our mental health. The continuous adverse biological and chemical effects, as well as the guilt and shame that are often accompanied by drinking due to inhibition and poor decisions, are enough to decrease anyone’s mood. Today you can begin to experience an increase in your mental health by remaining sober!