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Ways to cut down drinking to improve your mental health

A lot of people find their mood improves when they cut down or stop drinking. This may come as a surprise, as it's common to feel that alcohol gives you a boost or relief.

Drinking, hangovers and poor sleep can reduce your energy and productivity. A break from alcohol can get you motivated to get things done.

The effects of alcohol

Alcohol can numb difficult feelings or make us forget problems for a while. But it is a depressant drug. You might be aware of this in the 'low' that can happen the day after drinking.

Alcohol can have a negative effect on our mental health in the longer term too. It causes problems like depression and anxiety and makes existing problems worse.

Finding new ways to cope

Take a break from relying on alcohol. You may need to find different ways to try to cope with negative feelings. This can be good for your mental health.

Negative feelings, such as having a day when everything goes wrong, are normal. Without alcohol in the way, you're more likely to find real solutions and build up your coping skills.

Find out if alcohol is affecting you

Use this self-assessment tool to find out if alcohol is affecting your mental health. You can find out if your relationship with alcohol is about right, or whether you need to take action.

Alcohol and depression

Get motivated

You'll feel the benefits of taking a break or cutting back on drinking.

Read about how to get motivated

Set your goal

You may want a healthier lifestyle or a personal challenge. Think about what you want to get from cutting down or taking a break. Take some time to rethink your drinking.

Rethinking your drinking

Stay on track

Prepare for times when it will be hard to stay on track and prepare for peer-pressure.

Tips to stay on track

If you or someone you care about has a problem with alcohol there is help available.

Non-urgent advice: Get help with problem alcohol use

Freephone 1800 459 459 for confidential advice

Emergency action required: Talk to your GP or go to your nearest emergency department if:

  • you need urgent help