“Life is about balance”, this is most certainly a phrase everyone has come across and it is true for good reason. Moderation in anything that has the capacity to affect your Mental Health is perhaps a cure in the form of prevention. At the very top of the list of substances that can cause deficit to your well-being and the way in which we operate in work is alcohol. 
 
Here are 5 reasons why. 
 
Drinking alcohol can affect brain chemistry; because it decreases the level of serotonin, which works as a neurotransmitter to send messages that are responsible for a range of functions, including mood, sleep and memory. Low levels of serotonin causes us to sleep poorly, to feel irritable and if one is already struggling with anxiety, the effects of alcohol wearing off can amplify depressive and anxious sensations. 
1. Fight or Flight Response 
 
We often feel anxious after a few drinks the night before and this can lead to a pretty awful experience in work. Reports suggest that a hangover is more than a bad day at the office because along with all of the other symptoms it also triggers your fight or flight response, which is what we know as extreme anxiety. Although it should not be considered the same as that which is an anxiety disorder but none the less, if you are an individual that experiences extreme anxiety with a hangover then it is most certainly taste of what is actually stopping people from being able to show up to work altogether. 
 
2. Irritable and Emotional 
 
As alcohol affects our sleep, we can often wake up feeling incredibly irritable and are prone to lashing out or behaving irrationally. Serotonin is a feel-good brain chemical that when in short supply can cause feelings of anxiety and depression, this can make us feel impeccably apathetic when dealing with our working responsibilities and thus, we do not work as effectively. 
 
3. Dropping Blood Sugar 
 
When our blood sugar drops, it can cause dizziness, confusion, weakness, nervousness, shaking and numbness. These symptoms can most certainly trigger anxiety, which again, not only affects our well-being, it also affects our ability to operate at a high standard. 
 
4. Dehydration 
 
Dehydration can cause a number of unwanted symptoms such as dizziness, feelings of being weak and shaky; it can cause headaches and generally keeps us in a low mood. It is nearly impossible for someone to focus when dehydrated and working can become unbearable. 
 
5. A racing Heart 
 
This is related to all of the other symptoms and naturally, because of severe dehydration and as well as being extremely anxious, a common experience with this is a racing heart. Others may actually experience heart palpitations and although they are seen to be generally harmless, they can be deeply concerning for some people. Resulting in the inability to focus and perform work tasks. 
 
Most of us are very familiar with the sensation of the first drink, the mind starts to calm, the grip of tensions slowly loosens and suddenly, (for a lack of a better phrase) you just don’t care. Not caring is, of course, not stressing, which is why so many of us use alcohol for its immediate effect. However, similarly to needing alcohol to have fun, we may begin to adopt the method of having a few drinks to relieve stress rather than learning cognitive techniques. Again, this can result in habitual behaviours and for many of us, it can become the faculty of dependency. 
 
Within the working environment, we can adopt out of work activities amongst co-workers to establish alternative methods of stress relief and also to bring fulfilment into the day to day experiences. This can combat negative habitual behaviour by creating more positive outlets of enjoyment. For more information, head to our Health and Well-being course 
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