The Impact of Alcohol Consumption on Anxiety in College Students

Nov 18, 2023

Alcohol is no stranger to college campuses. Many students turn to alcohol as a means of socialization and relaxation. Unfortunately, alcohol can have a significant impact on anxiety, which is a common mental health concern in this demographic.

College can be stressful. We know this. Academic pressures, social expectations, financial pressures, and personal identity development are all common sources of stress. And these stressors lead some students to use alcohol as a coping mechanism. Due to its initial euphoria and relation effect, alcohol may provide temporary relief from stress and anxiety, but this relief comes at a high cost.

Here are a few ways in which alcohol can negatively impact anxiety in college students:

Increased Anxiety
Although alcohol may provide temporary relief, it can lead to “rebound” anxiety as the effects wear off. This rebound effect often results in intensified feelings of anxiety, potentially exacerbating any underlying mental health issues.

Impaired Decision-Making
Excessive alcohol consumption impairs judgment and decision-making. This can lead to risky behaviors that will only further exacerbate anxiety. These behaviors include engaging in unsafe sex, driving under the influence, or getting into both verbal and physical conflicts.

Physical Health Consequences
Alcohol abuse can lead to physical health problems, such as liver damage, obesity, inflammation, and weakened immune function. These health issues will only serve to magnify feelings of anxiety and distress.

Social Consequences
Alcohol abuse can strain relationships, damage reputations, and isolate individuals from crucial social support systems.

Academic Impact
Excessive drinking can result in reduced academic performance. This, in turn, creates or intensifies anxiety related to grades and future life plans.

Evolve Counseling Services is Fort Collins’s most trusted therapy practice when it comes to helping college students deal with depression and anxiety. Give us a call to begin a discussion on how we can help bring out the best in you. Serving students (and adults!) in Fort Collins, Colorado State University, and across Colorado via online therapy sessions.