July is here again! That means cooler weather, shorter days, and the end of the financial year. But for a select group of Australians, it’s also the time of year when they stop drinking alcohol.
Why? Dry July.
If you’ve never heard of Dry July before, it’s a great cause. Participants quit drinking alcohol for a month to raise money for people who have been diagnosed with cancer.
But Dry July can also be a timely reminder to the rest of us about of adverse effects of alcohol on our mental health.
Australia’s binge drinking culture
Unfortunately, Australia has become infamous for its binge-drinking culture. Alcohol is such a fixture in our society, especially among young people, that many find Dry July a genuine challenge.
The high level of alcohol abuse in Australia points to deeper issues festering under the surface of many people’s lives.
Alcohol is a depressant
You’ve probably heard that alcohol is classed as a depressant, but what does this mean?
Here’s the deal:
The short-term effects of alcohol say that you can feel better for a little while, but over the medium and long term, heavy drinking interferes with the natural functioning of your brain. This can cause an increase in anxiety and depression, as well as a decline in your general mental health.
In other words, alcohol only ends up making you feel worse, not better.
Alternatives to alcohol
If you find that you turn to alcohol to numb the pain when things get tough in your life, it’s likely that you have an unhealthy relationship with alcohol, and it might be time to take a closer look at your mental health.
Many people use alcohol as a coping mechanism, but there are far better strategies for improving your mood, for example:
- mindfulness and breathing exercises
- counselling or therapy.
How counselling can help with alcohol abuse
The attraction of alcohol is that it allows you to deal with difficulties in your life by temporarily pushing them aside and pretending that they don’t exist. Unfortunately, though, when you wake up in the morning, there they are again, even more, glaring and painful than before.
And unless you address the underlying issues directly, they will keep coming back.
Counselling and therapy provide a long-term solution to mental health problems by allowing you to talk about your life in a safe environment and discover the causes of your drinking.
Counselling and therapy enable you to work on yourself and reach a point where you no longer need alcohol. You may still want to have a drink now and then, but you won’t rely on it for self-medication or escapism.
Contact Diane at Pearl Counselling
If you would like to talk to Diane about her counselling services or book an appointment, contact her today at Pearl Counselling.