Alcohol and mental wellbeing: An evidence summary
Apr 30, 2021
The paper explores the relationship between alcohol and mental distress, looking at which comes first - does heavy drinking lead to mental distress or to people who are distressed turn to alcohol? The paper gives a great overview of the range of approaches to understanding the intersection between alcohol use and mental distress including things like: genetics, history of trauma, stress, brain functioning, physical health, coping abilities and exposure to both though family or those closest to the person. The paper also looks at the mental health impacts of even low levels of alcohol consumption. The paper then looks at common protective factors to both increased wellbeing and reduced alcohol consumption which includes: having positive family support, quality social relationships, a sense of belonging and positive staff /student relationships in educational settings, strong connection to culture, religious involvement or a high sense of spirituality.
Whilst this paper is based on the New Zealand population, we still thought it worth sharing given that there are many similarities between our two countries.