Does Drinking and Smoking Helps Anxiety?
How does drinking alcohol and smoking affect people with Anxiety? Does it help or make it worse?
Well, we all know the answer is NO! Before answering that let's understand anxiety first.
What is Anxiety?
If we go by the books anxiety is “a feeling of worry, nervousness, or unease about something with an uncertain outcome”. It is common and normal for us to feel anxious about certain things in life, like starting a new job, giving a speech or presentation. It is actually a natural way of the body to respond to such a situation and mostly it’s temporary.
But when this anxiety starts to interfere with your day to day functioning in life it becomes a disorder, anxiety-related disorder. The difference between normal anxiety and problematic anxiety is the source and intensity of it. People suffering from it feel a great degree of fear, nervousness even after the stress has subsided; they feel unsafe and start exaggerating unrealistic thoughts.
And does Smoking and Drinking Alcohol helps in such situation?
Well, most might say Yes! Because alcohol eases our nerves, reduce fear. It is a sedative and acts much like an antidepressant but it affects the central nervous system. A temporary feel-good experience and sense of relaxation are contributed by BAC (Blood Alcohol Content), when its level rises you feel good and when the level drops the feeling of depression occurs. So you see the ease of nerve is temporary and it might even leave you more anxious. Because of the short term feel-good experience, you get after drinking you will feel the need of drinking more and more which will develop into alcohol dependency.
Alcohol disturbs the level of serotonin- our happiness hormone and other neurotransmitter causing to worsen mental state and low levels of these hormones and neurotransmitter is associated with anxiety issues. Alcohol consumption will eventually lead to short-term memory loss. it not only doesn’t help in anxiety, but it might also actually worsen it and along with its cause other health issues adding more stress.
Much like alcohol, smoking cigarettes also causes a state of relief. Tobacco contains nicotine which creates a calming sensation and it is very much temporary. In fact, it’s not the cigarettes, it’s the nicotine that gives you relief, but you are feeling good because you are just satisfying the cravings of nicotine but really it has nothing to do with anxiety.
To make it worse, the tobacco companies add chemicals to make cigarettes more addictive and nicotine more effective as a mind-altering substance. On addition to that smoking constricts and reduces blood flow and blood circulation, increases heart rate, and causes other health issues.
However Alcohol and Smoking might not be the direct reason to cause anxiety but it sure does contribute to it and surely does not help with it either.