It seems paradoxical. Most people drink to relax. But chronic drinking increases levels of cortisol, the stress hormone, in your bloodstream.

Over time, increased levels of cortisol can damage your brain cells. According to researchers, this can put you at risk of losing memory functions. The authors of the study which was published in the journal Alcoholism: Clinical & Experimental

Research believe that this finding may shed light on drinking behaviours, the effects of alcohol on cognition and memory and the likelihood of relapse for recovering alcoholics.

Unfortunately, once a chronic drinker stops drinking it takes time for cortisol levels in the brain to decrease. However, the presence of cortisol in the blood is decreased after quitting.

Speak to your doctor to see if you need to cut down on your drinking.

Here are some tips that may help you cut down:

• Keep a small amount or no alcohol at home. This will help you to avoid temptation.

• Drink slowly. When you drink, sip your drink slowly. Take a break of 1 hour between drinks. Drink soda, water or juice after a drink with alcohol.

• Do not drink on an empty stomach. Eat food when you are drinking.

• Take a break from alcohol. Pick a day or two each week when you will not drink at all. Think about how you feel physically and emotionally on these days. When you succeed and feel better, you may find it easier to cut down for good.

• Learn to say NO. You do not have to drink when other people drink. You do not have to take a drink that is given to you. Practice ways to say no politely. For example, you can tell people you feel better when you drink less.

• Stay active. What would you like to do instead of drinking? Use the time and money spent on drinking to do something fun with your family or friends. Go out to eat, see a movie, or play sports or a game.

• Get support. Cutting down on your drinking may be difficult at times. For example ask your family and friends for support to help you reach your goal. Talk to your doctor if you are having trouble cutting down. Get the help you need to reach your goal.

Most importantly – avoid temptation

Watch out for temptation. Watch out for people, places, or times that make you drink, even if you do not want to. Stay away from people who drink a lot or bars where you used to go. Plan ahead of time what you will do to avoid drinking when you are tempted. Don’t drink when you are angry or upset or have a bad day. These are habits you need to break if you want to drink less.


If you do not reach your goal the first time, try again. Remember to get professional support if you feel you need it.

In conclusion if you suffer from chronic drinking or increased stress, see your doctor. It can be a dangerous condition.

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