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Alcohol as a Coping Mechanism

While American culture celebrates drinking a beer or a glass of wine to unwind, drown sorrows, and as a social lubricant, using alcohol as a coping mechanism is dangerous.  The Center for Disease Control and Prevention assert that moderate levels of alcohol consumption is fewer than one drink a day for women and two for men.  Using drinking as a coping method, often influences many people to consume beyond these limits.


A coping mechanism is an action that helps a person deal with something difficult for them, but some coping mechanisms, such as drugs and alcohol, have negative health, relationship, decision-making, and behavioral consequences. Alcohol serves as a coping mechanism by slowing down the central nervous system, inducing feeling of relaxation, and reducing inhabitations, decision-making, judgement, and memory.   It is important to understand the factors that cause people to use the substance as a coping mechanism.  People primarily use alcohol to cope with:

    • Difficult emotions (depression)
    • Challenging life events (death, breakup, illness, etc.)
    • Stress (economic, family, job, marital, etc.)
    • Insomnia
    • Trauma
    • Social Anxiety

A survey from the Mental Health Foundation, found that these and other coping factors drive consumption.  The Foundation determined that lower inhibitions, happiness and relaxation were the three main reasons for consumption, but there was a broad spectrum of other reasons influencing why people drink.  These largely include social reasons and coping with mental health conditions and other problems.

Furthermore, the survey found that those who abuse alcohol often credit the substance with alleviating stress and anxiety.  The report asserts that 40% of respondents who drink 5-6 times a week are more likely to believe alcohol makes them less depressed than the 20% of respondents who only drink 1 time a week.  In addition, for those abusing alcohol to cope with anxiety, the report shows that 60% of respondents drink too much, while 40% drink the right amount.  These figures indicate that people who abuse alcohol are often prone to seeing it as a way of dealing with mental health conditions and other issues.


Using alcohol as a coping mechanism has potentially severe ramifications.  Due to the addictive nature of alcohol, prolonged usage to cope with problems, leads to greater tolerance, increased consumption, and even physical dependence.  In some severe cases, if left untreated, the withdrawal symptoms from physical dependence can be fatal.  In addition, abusing alcohol by using it as a coping mechanism can damage relationships, due to its addictive properties and the behavior it provokes.  By continuing to use alcohol in this manner, many people fail to develop alternative and more healthy coping skills.  Thus, alcohol serves as both a crutch and barrier to developing better ways of dealing with difficult feelings, conditions, and situations.


While therapy and counseling are essential to understanding and solving the emotional, mental, and behavioral problems that cause people to cope with alcohol, these factors should also be treated with proper medication.  Using only one means to treat the disorder is akin to treating depression with only counseling and no medication.  However, some medications can create challenges for people in recovery.  Many of these medications have addictive properties and are prone to abuse, which is a slippery slope for those recovering from alcohol abuse.   For example, abusing Xanax to treat anxiety or Zoloft to treat depression can have similar ramifications to alcohol abuse.


The challenges of appropriately medicating alcohol abuse disorder can be solved by providing NAD IV Therapy. Nicotinamide Adenine Dinucleotide (NAD) is a naturally occurring metabolic co-enzyme that helps structure and repair cells in the body.  By replenishing this enzyme through IV therapy, the brain can repair damage done by drug and alcohol abuse.  This reduces stress, anxiety, depression, and cravings, while improving recipients moods.  One patient at BrainSpark Health notes the benefit of using NAD over more traditional medications:

“The biggest improvement, though, is to my mood and energy. I never felt this good when I was on such high doses of antidepressants and other meds, which is in itself pretty shocking.”

When paired with psychological treatment, using NAD IV therapy can restore the brain allowing patients in recovery to solve their underlying issues they have been using alcohol treat.

To learn more about BrainSpark Health’s NAD IV therapy, call for a confidential inquiry today at 866-684-9915.