Alcohol is often used as a relaxant to help cope with problems and a hectic lifestyle. Alcohol use and mental health issues are linked which creates a complex web of cause and effect.
People who experience mental health issues tend to experience drug and alcohol issues at higher rates than people without mental health issues.
What is known?
- People who live with a mental health condition are more likely to use alcohol than those who don’t. It’s common for people who experience mental health problems to want to relax and feel better; however it’s not uncommon for alcohol to further exacerbate their symptoms.
- Drinking alcohol can trigger the development of mental health conditions in at-risk people. Because alcohol is a depressant it’s common to experience depression and anxiety as a result of drinking.
- The interaction of mental health problems and alcohol can exacerbate each other, affecting work, behaviour, relationships and general health.
I have a mental health problem, how much can I safely drink?The amounts you can safely drink, or whether you can safely drink at all, will be dependent upon your diagnosis as well as the medications you have been prescribed by your doctor. Speak with your healthcare professional and familiarise yourself with the Australian Guidelines to reduce health risks from drinking alcohol. If in doubt, the safest option for people with a history of mental health problems is to avoid alcohol completely.
Did you know that approximately 20% of Australians experience mental health issues each year, with approximately 50% of these people having drug and alcohol problems.
How can I get help?There are numerous services throughout Queensland that can help if you’re experiencing mental health problems and alcohol misuse. Your doctor or healthcare professional can help you find local services. Lives Lived Well offers a range of services for all age groups, including: treatment centres and counselling specifically for alcohol use and mental health problems.
Information in this section has been drawn from the following sources:
- National Health and Medical Research Council, 2009, Australian Guidelines to Reduce Health Risks from Drinking Alcohol. NHMRC, Canberra. Available from: http://www.nhmrc.gov.au/_files_nhmrc/publications/attachments/ds10-alcohol.pdf
- Gordon, A 2009, Comorbidity of mental disorders and substance use: A brief guide for the primary care clinician, Australian Government, Department of Health and Aging, Drug and Alcohol Services South Australia, Act. Available from http://www.nationaldrugstrategy.gov.au/internet/drugstrategy/publishing.nsf/Content/mono71-toc