Drinking To Cope With a Broken Heart

Does Drinking Alcohol Actually Help You Beat Your Breakup?

A breakup is a very stressful event. For some, it is even grief inducing. Depending on the relationship, with a breakup sometimes, plans, hopes and dreams disappear. Sometimes people may go through the stages of grief to mourn the loss of a relationship. There are many ways people manage the grief of a lost relationship. Some practices can be helpful while others detrimental. Drinking is one of the more common ways to handle a breakup. Why do people drink to cope though?

Drinking Brings Temporary Euphoria

After a break up people just want something that is able to make them feel good again. With all of the promises that alcohol offers, it is no wonder that many turn to drinking after a break up. Alcohol does deliver a very temporary euphoria. However, it is not long before the drinker has to drink more to maintain the euphoric feeling or to get it back. This can result in drinking to excess, getting drunk, or even alcohol poisoning if the person goes overboard.

Drinking To Help Go To Sleep

Breaking up can cause the mind to race with thoughts. Why did we break up? How did I not notice this? Will I ever be okay? These questions and so many more race through the brain of a newly single person. The thinking and reliving the scenario and relationship can be so intense that it may be hard to sleep. Many people turn to drinking because they want to relax and rest. As a system depressant, alcohol does slow down nervous system functioning and induce drowsiness at a point. Unfortunately, this comes with a long list of nasty side effects. There are better alternatives to help an ailing heart find relief.

Drinking To Get Back Out There

After a bit of wallowing, sometimes there is a desire to get back out there and be social. While your head may want this, you heart my not agree. Drinking lowers inhibition, affects thought patterns,  and affects decision making. This might make for a good time and for socializing because there is less time to think about what you’re saying and who you’re saying it to. There is less time to consider the consequences of your actions if you choose to engage in the rebound hook up as well.  However, decisions that are made when drunk can lead to regret and anger therefore compounding the negative feelings of the breakup.

Drinking To Gain Confidence

This is similar to helping someone get back out there. Alcohol inspires false confidence when it reduces inhibition. People think they are able to do more than they can and take more risks than they should. This confidence is an illusion of course.

Drinking To Manage Negative Feelings & Anxiety

There is a common thought that alcohol can help manage negative feelings such as anxiety and stress. In reality it’s the exact opposite. The fact that alcohol gives a bit of euphoric feeling and helps with inhibitions tricks users into thinking that their sadness and anxiety are being managed. However, once this sensation wears off, and especially after drinking, both sadness and anxiety can feel more intense. Alcohol affects dopamine, and its levels, as well as brain chemistry, can result in more intense or a release of negative feelings.  Alcohol can also cause anxiety in some individuals and therefore is one of the least effective measures of truly reducing anxiety. In addition, if an individual drinks heavily they run the risk of developing depression. A site run by the HSE in Ireland mentions that if someone is depressed, it’s more likely they’ll become dependent on alcohol at a rate of about 3 times faster than someone unaffected with depression.

In reality alcohol is not a good solution to help manage emotions. There are many side effects that are quite unpleasant when one drinks. Additionally, alcohol can contribute to making decisions that can add to sadness, stress, and other negative emotions. Alcohol does not allow an individual to properly work through their emotions, gain understanding, and process feelings. For each way that alcohol is propped to help, there is a more constructive and beneficial alternative. Different foods, comedy shows, praise and worship (if you are faith-based), a massage, or completing a goal can bring euphoric feelings to someone. Sleep issues can be helped by natural hormones such as melatonin, drinking certain teas, or practicing sleep exercises. Being social and feeling confident may take time, but it’s important to remember that is part of the healing process and there is no need to rush it. However making a list of great qualities, achievement, or goals can be a way of boosting confidence and looking at the friendships that you do have can boost social ability. Alcohol is not the only way to cope through a break up. Find support and try other alternatives to emerge as a stronger individual.