Excessive Drinking Impacts on Muscle Loss – Hypnotherapy in Ely and Newmarket
Alcohol can easily creep into your life and become an ever increasing habit. Rather than just enjoying the occasional drink with a nice meal or when socialising, you may have found that your alcohol consumption has just crept up and up. Many people reported that during lockdown their excessive drinking increased, and many have found it difficult to bring that drinking level back down again.
You might find that you look forward to that first glass of wine or beer at the end of the day. It becomes the way of switching off from the busyness of the day and relaxing into the evening. Yet soon that glass or two, or a couple of beers, doesn’t seem quite enough and so you finish the bottle (and maybe even break into the second one) or you find that a couple of beers has turned into much more.
Excessive drinking and binge drinking alcohol have an impact on your mental health, as well as your physical health. You may find you feel more sluggish, can’t think quite so clearly, that you lack energy and that your mind races if you don’t quieten it with booze. You may have tried cutting back or stopping drinking for a while, only to slide back into the same sort of habits and loved ones may have started making the odd reference to how much you drink or that they are concerned (whether you get angry and irritable, or tired and uncommunicative). You get to sleep easily but wake not feeling totally rested. The weariness makes the day more of a struggle and the prospect of a drink to unwind proves an ever greater habitual urge.
For some drinkers, the guilt of hiding their drinking or secret drinking also adds to their stress and misery. You may have lost the joy in your life. And the drinking may also mean you aren’t as productive as you want to be and you don’t get the things done that you planned. And whether it’s the embarrassing situations, the ever growing sense of pointlessness or the worry about your health and well-being, there comes a time when you no longer want to be under the control of your excessive drinking habit.
Excessive Drinking, Binge Drinking and Alcohol Problems
Whilst binge drinking and an excessive drinking habit are things that I’ve helped people with for over a decade, research suggests that lockdown exacerbated alcohol issues for many people.
Research has examined if stress and anxiety were associated with changes in alcohol use during the Covid-19 pandemic (Avery et al, 2020) and found that many people reported an increase in alcohol use. There was an association between both stress and anxiety and increased alcohol use, where those with higher levels of stress and anxiety were more likely to report an increase in alcohol consumption.
Alcohol is often used as a coping strategy by people with anxiety and stress. Many people report how a drink helps to quieten their mind for a while, numb their feelings or help them sleep. Yet, of course, this short term coping mechanism can have longer term issues because persistent increased alcohol consumption may turn into problematic habitual behaviours, such as alcohol dependence and/or alcohol abuse. A few drinks may help with some stress and anxiety relief but it can turn into a more problematic habit or dependence that can cause many other issues in your life. Combined with that, relying on alcohol to try and mitigate how you feel denies you the opportunity to learn more constructive ways of dealing with challenges and how to manage your own thoughts and feelings.
There’s more on this here: Stress, Anxiety, Alcohol and Coronavirus
And whilst binge alcohol may seem to help you in the short term with feeling relaxed and calmer, there can then be a harsh next day impact from heavy drinking. Alcohol is a depressant and so can lead to you feeling low the next day, which could exacerbate the worries and other thoughts and feelings that you had been using alcohol to try and deal with. Many people report feeling more anxious the day after drinking which can increase any anxiety symptoms that you may be generally experiencing.
Research has evaluated the impact of a heavy binge drinking session on your thinking and performance the next day. They found that if you are hungover after heavy drinking, it impacts on your memory, your attention and your psycho-motor skills. Your cognitive functions may be impaired the next day, impacting on everyday tasks such as driving (Gunn et al, 2018).
There’s more on this here: Binge Drinking – the next day impact of heavy alcohol drinking
Heavy drinking in the evening can lead to you struggling the next day with poorer concentration and focus, decreased memory and reduced reaction times. It can impact on tasks such as driving and can have a detrimental impact on your workplace performance. As you’ll also know, excessive drinking also takes its toll on your physical health. This impact upon your attention, concentration and thinking may well form part of why your symptoms of depression, stress and anxiety feel worse the next day. With reduced mental and physical energy, and impairments to your cognitive functions, you may find it harder to handle, deal with and cope with negative overthinking and worrying.
In addition to all of this, a pattern of binge drinking has been shown to predict a higher incidence of alcohol problems, even if your drinking is at a moderate average level of consumption (Holahan, Holahan, and Moos, 2022). Your average consumption of alcohol by itself does not sufficiently reflect your alcohol risk so that, even if you a moderate drinker, binge drinking significantly increases your risk of developing alcohol problems.
More on this here: Binge Drinking and Alcohol Problems – Hypnotherapy in Ely & Newmarket
Heavy Drinking and Muscle Loss
And as if all of this evidence wasn’t enough to make you take action about your alcohol consumption (and we haven’t even really mentioned the adverse health risks), some recent research has identified that people who drink excessive amounts of alcohol risk losing muscle mass in later life.
The research, using a sample of almost 200,000 people, suggests that higher levels of alcohol consumption could have detrimental effects on muscle mass in middle and older aged men and women (Skinner, Shepstone, Hickson, and Welch, 2023). And that could be pretty important if it makes you more frail and perhaps more likely to experience falls and injury.
“Our results suggest that alcohol may have detrimental effects on muscle mass at higher levels of consumption in middle and older-aged people. Further data are required to confirm these findings…Nevertheless, these data suggest another reason to avoid high habitual consumption of alcohol in middle and early older age.”
Drinking a bottle of wine a day or half a dozen beers can impact upon your muscle mass. As well as the impact on your liver, alcohol can contribute to frailty and so increase your health risks in a variety of ways.
The growing body of evidence demonstrates that, as well as the potential harmful impacts upon your physical health, excessive drinking can also have other adverse consequences. It can exacerbate feelings of lowness and anxiety, cause issues in work and relationships, affect the quality of your sleep and impact upon your next day cognitive functioning and performance. Your alcohol habit can steal your sense of inner peace and deprive you of experiencing more happiness and joy in your life.
Many people who I help tell me that they don’t really get much from their drinking anymore. At one time it may have been fun and enjoyable, been associated with good times or with feeling confident and nice and relaxed. Yet now it just steals their time and money, robs them of fulfilment and enjoyment and, despite perhaps seemingly being a faithful friend in times of need, is now leading to a risk of losing all the good things in your life. Now you just drink because it seems too hard not to give in to the usual habit.
If you want to take back control over your drinking, or end it completely, then the first step has to come from you. You have to weigh up what you are risking losing from drinking in the same old habitual way compared to what you will gain from being in control over alcohol. And once you decide that life will be better for you, and for those around you, without your current drinking, and once you decide that things just can’t go on the way they have been, then it is very possible to interrupt that pattern and develop the freedom to make changes that will cause you to live the life you truly want to live.
To your health and happiness,
Hypnotherapy in Ely & Newmarket
Do you need some help to start feeling better? Book your Complimentary Hypnotherapy Strategy Session with Dan now: Appointments
Find out what other people have said after their hypnotherapy sessions with Dan: Hypnotherapy Testimonials
And check out these awesome hypnosis downloads that can start helping you right away (and check out the reviews too): Hypnosis Downloads
Avery, A.R., Tsang, S., Seto, E.Y. and Duncan, G.E., 2020. Stress, anxiety and change in alcohol use during the COVID-19 pandemic: Findings among adult twin pairs. Frontiers in Psychiatry, 11, p.1030.
Gunn, C., Mackus, M., Griffin, C., Munafò, M. R., and Adams, S. (2018) A systematic review of the next‐day effects of heavy alcohol consumption on cognitive performance. Addiction, https://doi.org/10.1111/add.14404.
Holahan, C.J., Holahan, C.K. and Moos, R.H., 2022. Binge Drinking and Alcohol Problems Among Moderate Average-Level Drinkers. American Journal of Preventive Medicine.
Skinner, J., Shepstone, L., Hickson, M. and Welch, A.A., 2023. Alcohol consumption and measures of sarcopenic muscle risk: cross-sectional and prospective associations within the UK Biobank Study. Calcified Tissue International, pp.1-14.