Food and Behaviour Research

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Alcohol, mental health and wellbeing

Drinking alcohol is linked to both anxiety and depression.  A recent British survey found that people suffering from anxiety or depression were twice as likely to be heavy or problem drinkers.  Alcohol has also been linked to self-harm, suicide and psychosis.

Apart from having a negative effect on your mental health, consuming alcohol also affects your memory and brain function.  Brain processes slow down soon after drinking alcohol.  For example, the effect on men's driving skills is measureable after consuming three to four units.  At this level of consumption, alcohol is in the bloodstream at around 50mg per 100ml.  Women can reach this same concentration by drinking just two or three units.

After a session of heavy drinking, people often feel 'hungover', and experience impaired memory and thinking.  Some people, even when they no longer have alcohol in the bloodstream are probably slightly 'slowed' mentally the next day.

The Drink Aware Trust at is an up-to-date, excellent resource where you can find out more about how alcohol affects your short and long-term health, your work and study, social life, relationships and family life.

You can also find out how, as either a professional or a parent, to start a dialogue with the under 18s about alcohol consumption and the consequences of drinking heavily at a young age. Teachers can register for free lesson plans for primary and secondary pupils.

The Trust have produced an excellent set of FREE downloadable factsheets including:

  • Alcohol, Mental Health and Wellbeing
  • Alcohol and Accidents
  • Alcohol and Cancer
  • Alcohol and Diabetes
  • Alcohol and Dependence
  • Alcohol and Heart Disease
  • Alcohol and Men
  • Alcohol and Women
  • Alcohol and Pancreatitis
  • Alcohol and Pregnancy
  • Alcohol and Reproduction
  • Alcohol and Risk-taking
  • Alcohol and Unprotected Sex
  • Alcohol and Young People
  • Alcohol and Your Emotions
  • Alcohol and Your Health
  • Alcohol and Your Liver
  • Alcohol Through The Body
  • Acute Alcohol Poisoning