Stress and Alcohol 'Feed' off Each Other

Washington, Jul 17 (IANS): Acute stress seems to precipitate alcohol drinking, but the reasons why it does are still not clear.

"Anecdotal reports suggest that alcohol dampens the physiological or negative emotional effects of stress," said study author Emma Childs, research associate at The University of Chicago.

"Another way that stress could increase drinking is by altering alcohol's effects. For example, if stress reduces the intoxicating effects of alcohol, individuals may drink more alcohol to produce the same effect," added Childs.

Childs explained that the body's reaction to stress involves separate physiological and emotional consequences that occur at different times after the stress, journal Alcoholism: Clinical and Experimental Research reports.

"For example," she said, "the increase in heart rate and blood pressure, the release of cortisol, and also the increased feelings of tension and negative mood each reach a climax and dissipate at a different rate.

"Therefore, drinking more alcohol might have different effects, depending on how long after the stress a person drinks."


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