Many people turn to alcohol when stressed, when in fact alcohol itself can induce more stress.
Some studies have reported that acute exposure to low doses of alcohol may reduce the response to a stressor in animals and humans. For example, low doses of alcohol reduced the stress response in rats subjected to strenuous activity in a running wheel. In humans, a low dose of alcohol improved performance of a complex mental problem-solving task under stressful condition. However , in some individuals, at certain doses, alcohol may induce rather than reduce the body's stress response.
Much research demonstrates that alcohol actually induces the stress response by stimulating hormone release by the hypothalamus, pituitary, and adrenal glands. This finding has been demonstrated in animal studies. In one study with rats, the administration of alcohol initiated the physiological stress response, measured by increased levels of corticosterone. In addition to stimulating the hormonal stress response, chronic exposure to alcohol also results in an increase in adrenaline.
Drinking alcohol produces physiological stress, that is, some of the body's responses to alcohol are similar to its responses to other stressors. Yet, individuals also drink to relieve stress. Why people should engage in an activity that produces effects similar to those they are trying to relieve is a paradox that we do not yet understand.
Consuming alcohol to calm nerves or relieve troubles on a regular basis is unhealthy and can develop into a problem. According to statistics from Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD).
Drinking to alleviate problems or to celebrate the end of stressful situation can do more harm than good. According to statistics from the Addiction Technology Transfer Center at the University of Missouri at Kansas City.
If you are using alcohol to alleviate symptoms of stress, try some healthier alternatives to help manage troubles and reduce its symptoms. Exercise, improved nutrition, relaxation, and meditation techniques have all been proven effective in stress control.