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.
You'll feel the benefits of taking a break or cutting back on drinking.
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.
Stay on track
Prepare for times when it will be hard to stay on track and prepare for peer-pressure.
If you or someone you care about has a problem with alcohol there is help available.
If you are not sure what help you need call the HSE Alcohol Helpline on 1800 459 459.
If you need urgent help talk to your GP or go to your nearest emergency department.