Alcohol Use Disorder and Mental Health – What’s the Connection?

Alcohol Use Disorder and Mental Health – What’s the Connection?

Every era has its own diseases and specific health conditions. For the 21st century and the modern-day times, mental health challenges are more common. The number of cases of depression and anxiety only keep going up and up!

Why is this so? Though the new age comes with many technological advancements and facilities, it has its own set of challenges. Juggling between work, social life, fitness is much more difficult in comparison with previous generations.

Do you constantly feel anxious? You are not alone. From children to older adults, anxiety is prevalent. But what if you are shy? That makes everything even worse. Not only are you going to find the simplest of tasks to be very hard but you may even develop communications issues.

In addition, a new study gives some bad news to people with severe anxiety – it can increase your chance of alcohol use disorder. If you are very shy and feel anxious especially during a hangover, you may want to know all about this new research.

Alcohol use disorder is the inability of a person to stop alcohol intake. You may keep consuming alcoholic drinks or even develop a dependency even if it harms your job, relationships, and health.

Around 15 million adults in the United States alone suffer from alcohol use disorder. In addition, over 620,000 teens and underage people between the ages of 12-17 are also diagnosed with AUD.

What Does the New Research Show?

Typically, there are a number of factors that increase the risk of developing alcohol use disorder. For example, social or peer pressure, lifestyle, stress, and family history of AUD.

The findings of the study focus on anxiety experienced during a hangover. Conclusively, it says that a person’s anxiety levels during the hangover period may help in indicating whether he/she will develop AUD in the future.

The study is led by Beth Marsh — currently a research assistant in the Department of Clinical, Educational, and Health Psychology at University College London in the United Kingdom. The findings of the study were published in the journal Personality and Individual Differences.

Read the full study here. 

How Was the Study Conducted?

In the study, Marsh and the team questioned 97 different participants. Half of them were asked to continue drinking while the other half sober. The alcohol levels in the participants were later tested by the researchers.

In addition, other factors that were taken into account are levels of social phobia, shyness, and potential signs of alcohol use disorder.

The anxiety levels of the participants were too noted firstly at the starting, after drinking/staying sober, and lastly the next morning. It was found that people who were shy felt had a higher level of anxiety the following day.

There was also a big connection between the signs of AUD and higher anxiety levels. This means anxiety during a hangover is a symptom of an increased risk of developing AUD.

What Is the Solution?

Celia Morgan, a professor of psychopharmacology at the University of Exeter in the U.K – the co-author of this study – says:

“We know that many people drink to ease anxiety felt in social situations, but this research suggests that this might have rebound consequences the next day, with more shy individuals more likely to experience this, sometimes debilitating, aspect of a hangover.”

For now, Prof  Morgan says the best solution is to accept your shyness and introverted personality. Shy says it is a positive trait and may stop an individual from turning to alcohol for help.

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