'Driven to drink' is a phrase that is still used by people. What it actually shows though is a lack of responsibility. Instead of dealing with the problem causing the stress, you are essentially ignoring it, glossing over the issue with something that can bring its own set of problems and stress.
Thatís not to say that drinking moderately is frowned upon. A small amount of alcohol, when stressed, can help to improve problem solving performance, as it helps you to relax enough to view a problem objectively. However, a large intake of alcohol will impair your problem solving abilities, and is also harmful to your health, especially over long periods of time.
When alcohol is consumed in large amounts, the hypothalamus, adrenal and pituitary glands are stimulated, resulting in increased cortical and adrenaline production. By themselves, these things donít necessarily cause stress, but when combined with other stressful factors, they play a large part in amplifying stress.
Concentration is one of the functions that is affected by extreme stress. High alcohol consumption also has this affect, so somebody suffering from stress with a double dose of loss of concentration. Thinking that alcohol is going to help clear your head is a bad bet, and likely to work against you.
Itís also not unusual for heavy drinkers to exhibit ADHD (Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder) symptoms. Research also indicates that children of heavy drinkers also have a high incidence of ADHD.
A good method to help relieve stress is exercise. However, heavy drinkers are prone to low levels of exercise. It is unlikely that after a bout of heavy drinking, someone will decide to run a couple of miles on a treadmill, or lift some weights.
Another side affect of alcohol consumption is the suppression of appetite. Therefore, the only calories they are consuming are those from the alcohol. Unfortunately, alcohol does not provide the vitamins and minerals needed to maintain a healthy body, or a clear mind.
Money is often a big factor behind stress, and is often the reason many people drink to escape. However, the stress is further increased by alcohol consumption, as thinking clearly about money matters becomes far more difficult when under the influence of alcohol. Consumption of alcohol also impairs your ability to focus on and implement long term strategies that could help to banish money problems, as your cognitive functions are affected by alcohol.
Once you begin drinking to deal with stress, a vicious cycle is created. The initial problem that caused the stress causes you to want to drink. Drinking in turn, makes it difficult to deal with the problem that caused the stress in the first place. Admittedly, people are affected by alcohol differently, but the fact remains that once you begin drinking alcohol in large quantities (more than a drink or two per day), then your reasoning skills become impaired, resulting in an inability to deal with the initial problem with objectivity and clarity.
To ensure that stress doesnít rule your life, the best thing to do is not to turn to drinking in the first place. A solution to problems can normally be found, but only if you can look at the situation clearly. Being realistic about the challenges life throws at you, and dealing with things the moment they arise goes a long way towards removing any stress from your life.