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-How does alcohol affect the brain in terms of the way it elicits anxiety or depression?  What most people don’t realize is that alcohol is a drug.  It is in a category of drugs called “depressants”.  What this does to someone who is already predisposed to depression is going to make them feel worse.  While many use alcohol as a way to escape, it is really just a one way ticket to bringing on a whole other range of problems, including psychological ones. 

Alcohol can even affect heart rate, and can create the possibility of causing heart disease and other problems with our internal organs. Chronic alcohol abuse can lead to pancreatic cancer, liver disease and eventually death.  This is mostly due to the strain and stress it puts on our internal organs to function normally.

The response to stress is different in each individual. Some people cope with stress better than others.  People with poor coping skills tend to use drugs and alcohol as a way to escape or retreat from their problems without having to actually deal with them head on.  Rather than processing an issue and taking personal responsibility, alcohol or drugs can temporarily “stuff” or mask problems, which gives the user the illusion that everything is fine.  The reality is, everything is not fine.  Until one faces their internal demons, problems don’t go away on their own.

Alcohol and drug users can benefit greatly by learning more effective stress management techniques.  These skills might include relaxation exercises or learning to get proper exercise.  Other stress management skills could include improving ones diet, getting more rest, taking daily breaks, or learning some simple meditation techniques. 

Other skills that help improve stress are skills in communication and listening as well as empathy.  Most alcohol and drug users will say they have a hard time letting other people know how they are feeling and what is wrong.  Gaining skills in speaking more effectively can be a huge step. 

Many of these skills can be gained in an Online Drug Class or Alcohol Awareness Class
For those under 21 considering Minor in Possession Classes might be the wise choice.  These programs are educational in nature and can help the participant really understand the effect of alcohol and drugs and teach some useful strategies for dealing with them better.