Does Alcohol Have the Potential to Worsen Anxiety?

The Effects of Alcohol Can Exacerbate Anxiety

Studies have shown that alcohol can amplify anxiety in those who struggle with this mental health condition. Those who struggle with anxiety are also more likely to resort to alcohol as a coping mechanism as it’s effects can ease anxiety at first. Unfortunately, alcohol is not a cure for anxiety and those who leverage its effects will only end up with increased anxiety levels. When anxiety becomes too intense and goes beyond a normal bout of anxiety, it becomes a mental health condition that needs professional attention. Through alcohol into the mix and it has the potential to be even worse.

So how does alcohol worsen anxiety? Alcohol effects anxiety because it works to alter the brain’s level of neurotransmitters which are responsible for regulating mood, feelings, thoughts, and actions. When an individual consumes alcohol, the neurotransmitter ‘GABA’ works to slow down the body’s movement and affects speech while other neurotransmitters in the brain work to speed things up such as feeling pleasure when consuming alcohol. 

Alcohol and Mental Health

Those who have an underlying mental health issue, whether it is depression, anxiety, or any other mental health problem are more susceptible to the negative effects of alcohol. These individuals should refrain from drinking alcohol altogether or should consume alcohol sparingly. Underlying mental health issues combined with alcohol use can make matters worse by increasing anxiety levels which can have a negative effect on the individual. 

It’s important that if you struggle with anxiety or any other form of mental health conditions are use alcohol as a coping mechanism that you re-evaluate whether or not you have a problem with alcohol. Alcohol is one of the leading causes of death in the U.S. as it is easily accessible to those of legal drinking age. Unfortunately, too many individuals leverage the calming effects of alcohol in order to ease the symptoms of their mental health condition.

Knowing if you have a problem with alcohol can help you determine the right treatment methods needed. If you go through alcohol withdrawal such as experiencing tremors the morning after a night of drinking, you may be struggling with alcohol abuse. Alcohol abuse can turn into alcohol addiction quickly which is why it is so important to seek help as soon as you realize that there is a problem.

Some characteristics of alcohol dependence and alcohol abuse are:

  • Drinking more than you anticipated
  • Wanting to stop drinking but unable to
  • Spending hours recovering from a night of drinking
  • Putting yourself in risky situations while under the influence of alcohol 
  • Craving alcohol and the lifestyle that comes with drinking
  • Requiring more alcohol in order to feel the effects

If you or someone you know is displaying any of these symptoms, there is a chance that they are on their way to a full-on addiction. Before this condition gets worse, the individual must seek immediate help as this disease if progressive in nature and will continue to worsen if it is not taken care of right away.


If you or a loved one needs help with abuse and/or treatment, please call the WhiteSands Treatment at (877) 855-3470. Our addiction specialists can assess your recovery needs and help you get the addiction treatment that provides the best chance for your long-term recovery.

About the Author

is a proud alumni member of WhiteSands Treatment. After living a life of chaos, destruction and constant let downs, Mark was able to make a complete turnaround that sparked a new way of life. He is serious about his recovery along with helping others. At WhiteSands Treatment, we offer support to you in your homes or when you are out living in your daily lives.