We’ve all endured a long day of work while juggling personal responsibilities and random life stressors. At the end of the day, you might kick back on the couch and pour yourself a drink as a means of celebrating your accomplishments or surviving what the day threw at you.
While this action is not the sole indicator of problematic behavior, habitually turning to alcohol as a primary method of reward in life can lead to a number of physically harmful scenarios. From excessive emotionality to serious physical ailments to habitual social discord, implementing alcohol as a primary coping mechanism has been linked to multiple negative consequences.
Because alcohol is a chemical depressant that affects the central nervous system, it can have a destructive impact on an individual’s well-being. It can also be the cause of serious behavioral instability and mood fluctuation.
Learn why turning to alcohol as a primary reward or coping mechanism is a poor personal choice, and discover alternative ways you can relieve stress and anxiety.
Alcohol Effects on the Body
Alcohol has been shown to have serious addictive qualities and damaging effects on multiple areas of the body. Excessive and even moderate use has been linked to heart damage, liver damage, various cancers and birth defects.
From an increased risk of stroke and heart attack to painful ulcers and increased susceptibility to lung infections, the list of physical ailments tied to excessive alcohol consumption seems endless.
Alcohol provides short-term relief and the long-term physical problems it creates can be incredibly damaging.
Alternative Methods of Reward for the Body
When you implement a healthy and consistent nutritional plan into your daily life, you can positively affect your gut. Not the gut some individuals get from drinking too much alcohol, but the gut microbiome that aids in proper digestion and an overall physical homeostasis.
Working to achieve a consistent diet of lean proteins, healthy greens, fruits and probiotics (think Greek yogurt and dark chocolate) can not only improve your physical health, but also aid in increased natural dopamine levels and a positive mental health state.
Effects of Alcohol Abuse on the Mind
Just as the destructive effects of alcohol on the body have been shown through countless studies, alcohol’s negative impact on the mind has been highlighted, as well.
Excessive alcohol use significantly decreases serotonin levels in the brain, which impacts its ability to regulate depressive feelings. Because of this, consistent alcohol consumption has been directly linked to increased rates of depression, emotional instability and drastic mood fluctuation.
While some drink to alleviate depression, drinking consistently creates a negative, cyclical pattern of decreased serotonin. This leads to increased feelings of depression and no proper means of dealing with either issue.
Alternative Methods of Reward for the Mind
When you realize that rewarding yourself with alcohol is counterproductive, you are taking the most important step toward adjusting your behavioral patterns.
While the immediate feelings associated with drinking appear to improve your mood, you are actually eroding your brain’s natural ability to regulate itself. You’re also setting yourself up for prolonged emotional instability.
Instead, focus on natural methods of mood enhancements that properly address issues of stress and reestablish the mind’s homeostasis. Techniques such as yoga and mindfulness training have been shown to:
- Increase positive brain chemicals
- Promote effective breathing
- Teach decompression techniques during moments of personal stress
Additionally, homeopathic methods of self-improvement rewire the brain to better process feelings of depression and anxiety. This ensures that those implementing these techniques will be able to handle life’s instabilities with a clean and sober mind.
Alcohol’s Effect on Your Social Life
By focusing on the negative impact alcohol has on the mind and body, a person is able to better
understand the maladaptive effects this substance has on them as an individual.
However, the negative ways in which excessive alcohol use can influence social interactions and personal responsibilities are just as real. Those turning to alcohol as a primary reward method may find
themselves failing to achieve all of their social obligations such as work duties or family responsibilities.
Alcohol can create scenarios in which family and friends notice consistent substance use and worry for their loved one’s health and safety. Alcohol can push individuals into unhealthy social relationships and maladaptive social environments where their negative alcohol consumption is encouraged.
Alternative Methods of Maintaining a Positive Social Environment
Establishing and maintaining healthy relationships takes genuine effort. By addressing the
personal issues associated with excessive alcohol consumption, you can focus on the
innerworkings of addiction before turning your attention to your social support network.
This allows you to properly maintain work obligations and familial responsibilities, while also
distancing yourself from negative influences that encourage consumption. From there, the next step is to evaluate social relationships still present in your life and begin to remove every bad influence.
Transformative Alcohol Treatment at Covenant Hills
If you or a loved one has developed alcoholism, your addiction can come to a definitive end at Covenant Hills. Much more than traditional addiction rehab, addiction recovery at Covenant Hills focuses on your whole person – giving your mind, body and spirit the attention and nurturing it deserves to fully heal.
Through our faith-based, individualized addiction treatment, your psychological, emotional, physical, nutritional, fitness and spiritual needs will be addressed and supported throughout the entire healing process.