It’s common for someone who has one behavioral health disorder to also be living with another. For instance, people will often experience both depression and anxiety at the same time, and the symptoms of these disorders can be difficult to manage together.
The same is true of alcohol use and other behavioral health disorders. An individual dependent on alcohol is up to six times more likely to develop a behavioral health issue such as depression or bipolar disorder.
The challenge of struggling with both alcohol use and other behavioral health disorders is that they feed into each other. People will often turn to alcohol as a coping method when they’re going through a rough patch due to another behavioral health disorder. But alcohol’s effects on the body, hormones, and behavior can worsen behavioral health symptoms.
If you’re worried that your drinking habits might be impacting your mood, try some of these tips to cut back or cut out alcohol.
To cut out alcohol:
- Find a different way to cope with stress. When you have a bad day or something stressful is weighing on you, try talking to a friend about it, exercising, or finding a creative outlet rather than reaching for a drink.
- Avoid situations that are triggers for you. If you have friends with whom you usually go to a bar, invite them out for coffee instead.
- Don’t keep alcohol in your house, even if you live with others who still drink. Ask them to support you in your mission to get healthier.
To cut back on drinking:
- Set a goal for yourself and record how many drinks you have each week. You can do this on your phone if you want to be more discreet about it.
- Space your drinks by having a non-alcoholic drink between alcoholic ones. This will keep you more hydrated and may help you feel less conspicuous around others who may be drinking more than you.
- Choose alcohol-free days, and stick to it. You can even pick a reward to look forward to after meeting your goal – just make sure the reward isn’t a drink!
If you can’t seem to cut back or cut out alcohol, it might be time to seek out professional help.
It’s key that someone who is struggling with multiple behavioral health disorders gets help for each simultaneously – or recovery will be much more challenging. If you think that you or a loved one might have a substance use or other behavioral health disorder, take a free online screening to get insight at HelpYourselfHelpOthers.org.
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