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Co-occurring Alcohol Use Disorder And Mental Health

Co-occurring alcohol use disorder and mental health

It’s not uncommon for someone who has one mental health disorder to also be living with another. For example, 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 disorder and other mental health disorders, like depression or bipolar disorder. Someone who is dependent on alcohol is up to six times more likely to develop a mental health disorder such as depression or bipolar disorder.

The challenge of having both alcohol and other mental health disorders is that they feed into each other. Often people will turn to alcohol as a coping method when they’re going through a rough patch due to another mental health disorder, but alcohol’s effect on someone’s body, hormones, and behavior can worsen their mental health symptoms.

If you’re worried about how 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 who you usually go to a bar with, try to invite them out for coffee on the weekend 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 mentally 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 – but just make sure the reward isn’t a drink!

If you can’t seem to cut back or cut our alcohol, it might be time to seek out professional help.

It’s really key that someone who has a co-occurrence of these disorders get help for both simultaneously, or recovery will be much more challenging. If you think you or a loved one might have a substance use disorder or a mental health disorder, take a mental health screening to get insight:

Get a checkup, from your neck up.
https://aspenstrong.org/screenings

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